I began writing online for a living in 2007. Since then, I've been asked this question many, many times. What is my answer? Well, to tell you the truth, I usually don't answer, because it usually comes out of the blue with no consideration of other factors. And there are far too many factors that determine the success of online writers. If I were to tell you that you will absolutely have monetary success as an online writer without knowing anything about you as a writer, I'd be lying.
So, my answer is often something like, “well, uh...” Then they cut me off by saying, “That's what I thought.” or something of that nature. That leads people to believe online writing is just another scam or hoax. It's not. Can you make a good income writing online? Well, that depends mostly on you.
Do you have a talent for writing?
Well, now, that should be the ultimate question, shouldn't it?
Do people enjoy reading what you've written?
How is your grammar and spelling?
Do you have a way with words?
Can you turn a phrase, make a point and be entertaining?
Do you have a genuine love of writing?
After all, you're going to be doing a lot of it.
Are you willing to work hard?
As with most jobs, writing success does not happen overnight.
You have to work very hard to succeed.
You have to learn what type of content sells.
You have to know how to get the search engines to love you, etc. etc.
You have to put in many long days and nights educating yourself.
That's a lot of “have to's.” Are you good at “have to's?”
What is the main reason I hesitate when asked about writing online?
Most people who don't do it, look at it as an easy buck. It's not. Writing is just like any other job. You get out of it what you put into it. I don't know what you plan to put into it or how talented you are at it. Therefore, I don't know how successful you will be at it.
Can you tow the line?
Surprise! Even if you'll be a freelance writer, there are still rules to follow. You may not like them. You may be dead set against some of them. However, if you want anyone to accept your content, you have to follow the rules set down by their website. Once again, it's just like any other job. Follow the rules or go play in another ballpark.
Website owners are constantly changing the rules.
To write for them, you have to bend with the winds of change. Why are they always changing? The people who run them are full of new ideas, just like you. You have to face facts. This is their website. They have a perfect right to run it any way they want. If you can't go with the flow, you will be left behind. Not only that, you have to follow the flow enthusiastically and without complaint.
How's your attitude?
Your writing reputation depends on it. You can't flit from one site to another, grimacing all the way. While it's true that you can write anywhere you desire, you may not be welcome if you have a bad attitude. Plus, there's a funny side fact about these websites. They often employ people who work part time at other sites. So, maybe, if you have a bad attitude, your reputation will get there ahead of your application.
Always leave on a good note.
You are writing online. That means that anything and everything you do online will be seen by your former and potential clients. News flash: They spend a lot of time online too, just as you do. It's their job. So, never, ever, ever bash a website you've worked for in a public forum. Better yet, be happy with your life so you won't be tempted to.
Do you work well independently?
Are you committed to doing a good job, whether anyone is watching or not? Can you sit in front of a computer screen, in your own home, on your own time and stay on task for as many hours a day as it takes to get the work done? You may not make any money writing at all if you don't have the discipline it takes to do so.
Other factors for making money with online writing:
It may take years to build up your income.
Do you have the patience and the financial capability to support yourself until that happens?
Note: This is the reason many writers keep their old jobs until the writing starts to pan out.
You may have to learn to write all over again.
Online writing is very different from print writing. You may have many old habits to break.
Note: You might be surprised at how hard this is. If you're stubborn and set in your ways, it can be quite daunting.
Is your family supportive?
If not, you will have to struggle with their negative thinking, lack of respect and comments like, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Do you have a thick skin?
The comments on your articles can be downright brutal, even on non-controversial subjects. Do you have the strength to ignore the naysayers and hold your head high?
On a lighter note:
If you love to write and you're not afraid to put in the work, writing can be a very satisfying and lucrative career.
So, am I saying you will make a good income writing online?
I'm afraid I can't answer that. I can only tell you that I do. Whether you do or not is completely up to you.