The world of being a reporter or columnist has changed dramatically from the olden days. Remember the times when newspaper writers, reporters, ad columnists will type away inside crowded newspaper buildings with all kinds of commotion going on around them? I sure do, partly because I used to work at newspapers and magazines, and other media companies.
Things are different now. A lot of writers have their laptops with them and are often without any sense of traditional work space. Some others use Twitter, Medium, or other online service to share their work. And some compose all of their written work solely on their phones.
Competition is now incredibly intense for the best editorial content. Think of a million writers, journalists, reports, and bloggers trying to get the attention of the reader. Yes, indeed, it is a challenging landscape in which to succeed.
How can you succeed as a writer these days? Well, if you are on your own without the support of a big subscriber base, you better have the following tools at a minimum:
- A passion for writing
- A competitive spirit
- A willingness to write at any time
- A reliable internet service
- A fan base, similar to a subscriber base
- A well-known platform
These are some of the basic things you need, in my opinion, to have chance at making decent side money as a writer. As for a full-time salary similar to a newspaper reporter, you are going to need all of that and a lot more.
I recall with fondness my younger days when I worked for newspapers. I had roles in different departments and I learned a lot about the life of reporters and the challenges of their careers.
I remember some basics that are needed for each news story:
- Good content, with quotes from sources
- Artwork or photos
- A catchy title
- Timeliness of the work
- Good length
- Meeting of deadlines
Now let’s say that you need to make good money to support yourself and your family. Can you do that from writing alone? My answer is probably not. These days you should probably view writing for money as a side endeavor that you can do when you’re able to find the time, like 3:30 in the morning which is the time as I type this sentence.
I advise that you supplement your income in other ways. Here are some suggestions:
- A position in a different field entirely
- Find work in some essential services like police or fire department
- Employment related to farming or food distribution
- Health care services
- Sales, if you are good at it
- Car hailing services
The list of alternative work could go on and on. The important thing to remember is not too put too much financial pressure on yourself as a writer, because you don’t want to lose your passion for the field of work that you love more than any other.
Keep writing and maintain both quality and quantity. Build up your network of writing friends who support each other. Write great articles or stories that are informative, insightful, helpful, or just fun to read. Be the writer you always imagined you could be.