Leveraging Literacy: advice to would-be commercial writers in the pastorate or some other job that needs economic augmentation

Thinking about my post on the problem of trying to make money writing articles and my follow up on how much to expect from how-to books, I want to say something more (or more specific) about why writing can pay and why a pastor needing side income might want to consider this line of work.

It is easy to think that writing should pay almost nothing. Look at blogs! Lots of people like to write. Why should you get paid to do it?

And that is why my instinct is to advise you to avoid articles. When you are competing in a field of writing where writers typically think it is desirable to write, then you will not get paid well. There are too many out there who think writing is fun. They bid down the price you can expect to get for your services.

But as soon as you offer to do writing that no one wants to do, you are in a completely different economy.

On the other hand, when you start writing for hire pieces that have no real attraction to “the artist,” you have a chance to make some real money. The basis for this is that there are people out there who need to produce writing, but whose time constraints make it hard for them to do so. Sure, they could, in theory, write a sales piece or construct direct marketing copy. But they have other things to do with their time.

And that’s where you can step in. Sure, in one sense, “anyone” could do it. But really, that is not true. It requires someone who you can trust to be literate and intelligent and educated. It simply won’t work as a low-paying wage job.

To put it another way, if you are saving a guy time who makes a high hourly rate, you can expect a high hourly rate yourself.

A final word: my biggest regret right now is that I did not try to do this as a side-business back in Oklahoma. Instead I waited until I was out of work and was forced to “hit the ground running.” Yet, while I have a long way to go, it has actually started to work for me. Still, I might be in a much better business position if I had begun earlier developing contacts for part-time work. Don’t make my mistake. Start now.

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