"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Look at Great Companion Careers For Transitioning Writers

A few months ago, during my typical blog hopping, I happened upon an interesting post. The blogger announced to her readers that she had decided to quit her 9 to 5 gig, to make writing her full-time career instead.

Gutsy move.
But, I wouldn't advise it.
Truth be told, writing is glamorized more than the fashion industry!
The "unenlightened" think that with a few creative ideas, proficiency at stringing words together, and a portable laptop, the sky's the limit.
Many envision a life of leisure and lucrative book deals.

Don't believe the hype!
Far be it from me to be a "dream killer," but today's writer must be a "realist" if he wishes to reach his optimal potential and be profitable.

Contrary to popular opinion, "good" sustainable writing is hard. Really.
Writers must wear a multitude of hats---from accountant, to researcher, to marketer, to consultant, to strategist. It ain't always pretty, folks.

Not to mention, this way of life requires a lot of discipline, sacrifice and perserverance. "Many are called, but few are chosen."

Which is why it behooves the average writer seeking to survive after leaving the rat race, to have a companion gig to earn more cheese. :-)

Transitioning to "full-time" status is a goal for just about every writer I know.
But trust...it's a process. And you need a game plan and a Plan B til you arrive. Word up!


1. Even with regular writing assignments, this industry can be unpredictable.
Your favorite editor changes publications. Print publications opt to go online. Contracts sometimes are not honored.
And even when you're able to sell your articles, many times you won't get paid until after publication. Which can vary from a few months to even a year later.

2. It's really hard to be creative when your stomach grumblings are louder than the creative voices in your head.

3. If other family members depend on your income as well, you'll need an additional source of revenue to tide you over until your writing business prospers.

With this in mind, here are a few part-time gigs (you might consider)
to supplement your writing income...

Okay, while I admit that this line of work 'ain't for everybody, hear me out.
Substitute Teachers, (as the name implies), fill in for regular teachers, providing coverage for everything from vacations, to family medical leaves, to personal days.
Depending on your region and district, "Subs" earn anywhere from about $80.00 a day to $200.00 a day for approximately 6 hours of work.
You can work whenever and however you'd like.
Working with kids today, can be an interesting experience that allows you to make a difference. For more info, contact the National Substitute Teachers Alliance.

Considering that a lot of us are avid readers anyway, how cool would it be to hang out here and get paid? Often employees get discounts on merchandise, and the opportunity to connect with customers can provide fodder for future articles, book reviews and blog posts.

Consulting is big business. Whether your expertise exists in real estate, time management, organizing, or beauty products, there is money to be made.
Additionally, it offers great flexibility and good pay. Put your years of corporate experience to good use.

Virtual assistants provide support in an array of industries--through administrative tasks, like data entry, medical coding, and even editing. With the Internet, many businesses are hiring individuals to work remotely for convenience and cost savings.
Interested? Check out Virtualvocations.com for more details.

Thoughts? Any of you try any of these careers while writing? Any other recommendations? Do tell.

Image: SPFF


  1. Thanks for this article. I have long wondered what jobs would lend themselves as transition into writing-for-steady-pay jobs. I've never considered substitute teaching - used to think I'd have to teach as a full career only. Temporary teaching stints - by day and in various locations - might be viable for me.

    Virtual assistant work though would be my preference: I love helping with administrative tasks and computer work. I have done over 10 years administrative assistant, coordinator, Gal Friday type jobs and often on a temporary basis so why not take the next step.

    Hey, you've even given me an idea of how I can differentiate myself for a writing-themed blog. Discuss becoming a virtual assistant and see how I can work writing into that position.

    I'll send a link after I set it up. Need to do some more thinking, of course. Wonder if I should stay with Blogger where I have a brand identity as a hobby writer or switch to WordPress to take advantage of their mini apps and to distinguish my business writing persona from my personal/hobby writing?

    Thanks, Jennifer.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 7, 2012 at 7:25 PM


    Always glad to help. Always glad to hear from you.
    In many areas sub teaching only requires that you teach once every 90 days to keep your certification. So keep that in mind. :-)

    Do send me the link for the set-up if you act on the blog idea.

    Just checked out your site; it looks very nice. I love the different color dolls.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it, girl. :-) Thanks for weighing in.

  3. I had to laugh at #2 - it is the truth, that's for sure! Writing is a wonderful profession, but like other lines of work, it isn't all sunshine and roses. I wouldn't trade it though. Thanks for these great suggestions.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 8, 2012 at 6:25 AM


    ...Just keepin' it real. LOL
    You're right--I wouldn't trade it either.
    Thanks for being a blessing.

  5. Jen - Real indeed. I have two other jobs; childcare and office manager for our computer business. Keeps us in milk and bread! Love to be paid for writing, too. Great ideas!

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 8, 2012 at 8:26 AM


      Funny you should mention child care; I actually started to include that as a viable option for some. Another potential avenue is to use our creativity to sell our other "goods". Wendy A. sells beautiful soaps, for example, while I do gift baskets. Thanks so much for stopping by. Glad you're back on the "blog". :-)

  6. Great post Jennifer,

    I do believe that a blog can be a great - Platform - for creating all kinds of Income Streams, like for example with doing Affiliate Marketing (pre) selling other peoples Products and Services. It also can be a great place for (pre) selling possible own Products and Services. For example things like VA Services, Consulting, Coaching, Training, Work Shops...,

    Also - especially writers that have a published book - it usually can provide you with a certain amount of authority to Speak about the topic of such a book. While it usually isn't easy to fill a 'Conference Room' for your Speaking (even with a big advertising budget) when you create an (opt-in) email list with people that have a certain interest in certain topics, chances are that you can get an audience, that for example also would love to buy a signed copy from you book(s) etc. etc.

    Feel free to Check Out the - Upcomming Events Page -
    near the top of my Blog.

  7. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 8, 2012 at 8:38 AM


    You bring up some excellent points here.
    I'll check out your page shortly.

    I appreciate your feedback.

    1. Yes, I do believe that it's possible to create your own 'Delicious Cycles' with combining several activities that can amplify each other. Creating a supportive audience that likes what you do, and that can also help to inspire.

      Btw. - talking about helping to inspire - on that same page you can also find some interesting resources for people that want to find inspiration for becomming a Speaker.

  8. Jen, I am a librarian. Academic and public libraries sometimes have openings for shelvers or circulation assistants who mostly help shelve books or assist patrons with book returns and check-out. Libraries are quiet, reflective places and being surrounded by so many titles would be a great way for writers to generate ideas on new themes to pursue, book cover design, title choices, blurbs etc. Writers can check out local libraries to see if they are hiring.

  9. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 8, 2012 at 11:56 AM


    Interestingly enough...one of my dearest friends is a head librarian in one of the major branches in our city.

    But, with all the budgetary cuts, it's hard to find any type of job that has affiliation with the city or government in some places.

    I would love to work in a library, (as a p/t gig).
    I've always felt at home with books. :-)

    Thanks so much for adding to the mix here, Yasmin.

  10. Hi Jennifer

    I whole heartedly agree with you and everyone. Writing while so beautiful is hard to make a living. I am an Elementary teacher and I have self published several children books online.In order to support my writing I tutor and I also do network marketing online.

    In today's technological world there are many online low cost business that helps to supplement income. It just takes discipline and high speed internet.
    Tutoring can also be done online or in your home.You can even teach writing to both Elementary and High school students as students always need help in this area.This is also another way to get your name out there.


    1. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 10, 2012 at 3:29 AM

      Hi Charmaine,

      Lovely to hear from you. :-) You make some great points. And tutoring is indeed an excellent option.
      Thanks so much for sharing. I really admire that you've been so resourceful.

  11. Something totally different, something that - just as doing Affiliate Marketing - could be something that you could possibly develope into just an extra additional income stream..., How about becomming a Mystery Buyer reporting to companies how you experience your Shopping Experiences? an other totally different idea, I also read that when you sign up with a Location Agency - especially when you for example happen to live in a somewhat big castle like mansion or something special - you could rent out some of your space to film makers.

    Also I have seen that they ask for crew, extra's or screenwriter's etc. etc. on sites like for example www.starnow.com (you can also find it on my digitalcamera ideas blog on the photo competitions page.) I haven't really actively done 'Casting Calls' and things like that myself, I did however once was asked to play a (non-speaking) role in a 'Promo Film' Only I can't say that it made me a fortune, (besides 'impressive fame') I got a free softdrink :)

    However you never know if you run into interesting - Network Opportunities - that way, and it might be a direction of thinking that you might not know about or might have thought about?

  12. I love the way you give reasons for what you advocate in the post. "Companion Careers" is a hopeful term: you can pursue your writing career while working another job that brings home the bacon.