062914_questions_answered_roland_odanielI’ve heard from several nurses and others who are curious about freelance writing as a career. I appreciate their reaching out to me and allowing me to answer their questions on the blog. I hope you find this Q&A useful, too. And don’t hesitate to post more questions in the comments section!

Q: Do you really make money as a writer?

YES. The “starving artist” fable resonates so strongly in the American consciousness that it’s hard for people to believe anyone can make a real living as a freelance writer. That’s good news for those of us who do write for a living. The mentality that “no one can make it as a working writer” means less competition.

But I’m here to tell you not to be among those people who believe making money from writing is a fantasy. It’s not. You may not make money pursuing creative writing (novels, short stories, poetry, and so on), but you can make a very good living as a writer. Nurses, in particular, have an advantage because of the spike in demand for medical writing. Few people find themselves as ideally positioned to write medical content than nurses.

Not only can you replace your nurse income as a writer, but you can make more money than you ever imagined. I hit six figures in 2012. No lie.

Q: Is this a get-rich-quick scheme?

Fair question.

No, it’s not. In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, you must put forth a LOT of effort to make money as a freelance writer. You have to view yourself as a small businessperson — because you are. You have to invest hours and hours at the keyboard — and not only doing the “fun stuff” of writing. You will invest more time in marketing activities than you may ever invest in actual writing production. If you’re not willing to put in the effort, then you won’t make much money. You will be a hobbyist writer, as opposed to a professional.

And no matter how much effort you put in, your financial success will not come overnight. I think there’s something to be said for Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule.” You didn’t become an uber-nurse overnight, did you? You won’t become a successful writer immediately, either.

Q: I’m very interested in becoming a writer, but I have no idea where to start.

First of all, subscribe to my newsletter. It contains a monthly action plan plus must best freelancing tips and tricks.

Second, start reading. You don’t need to look for information specific to medical, health or nurse writing. Subscribe to general freelance writing newsletters, join a couple of organizations and lurk on their discussion boards. Soak up the knowledge.

Don’t overlook the many, many great books on how to become a freelance writer. You need a theoretical foundation, if you will, in general freelancing before you delve into the specific niche of being a nurse writer.

Q: Where can I buy your book?

Thank you for asking, but I don’t have a book yet! All of the information I’m sharing here is free, and there’s nothing to buy. There will be a book in the future, along with webinars and personalized coaching.

I’ll look forward to fielding all your other questions in a future post. Please be sure to post them in the comments section or drop me an email.

Wishing you well!

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Image via Roland O’Daniel