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Best Side Hustles For Writers Looking to Make Extra Money Quickly

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

Do you like to write or tell stories and want to find a side hustle for writers?

Have you been looking for a fun way to make some extra money?

Are you looking for a way to replace your current income with something flexible that you can do from home?

Working at home as a writer is both lucrative and freeing.

You can earn money as an online writer or content creator in several ways.

Some pay better than others, and some pay faster and more frequently than others.

There are opportunities for fiction, personal memoir, and website content.

You can search for jobs that pay for your time or look for things that have the potential for residual income.

These options are some of the best side hustles for writers who want to make extra money.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” Stephen King

Write on Medium, Vocal, and NewsBreak

About six months before I started writing again, I had come across an article about acedia.

That article prompted me to start a journey of walking around the lake near my house every day, regardless of what else happened that day.

My plan was to do this for a year (I almost made it). However, it only took about one month to know I was dissatisfied with my current career choices.

I would not become the person I had always hoped to be by continuing down that path, and a quick Google search led me to Medium.

I started writing on there at the end of September 2019 and earned $9 for the last few days of that month.

That moment brought me to tears because I had earned money for my writing. I had given up on that dream about 20 years prior.

Interestingly, the article that had popped up on my Facebook feed about acedia was published on Medium. I thought it was rather a kismet when I stumbled across it a few months later.

I soon branched out writing on Vocal and NewsBreak, too!

Here are a few pros and cons for each:

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Medium

Pros:

  • It is easy to write there. Just make an account and start publishing any type of content you choose.
  • No technical skills are required.
  • You can get a lot of exposure from publishing in publications with larger followings.
  • It can help you build an online presence and portfolio pieces for getting other work
  • You can earn residual income (most times in tiny amounts) on older articles that people read

Cons:

  • Medium pays once a month, and only a small percentage of writers make over $100 a month (my highest month was around $350).
  • It can take a while to build up a substantial base of readers, and the pay is performance-based

Vocal

Pros:

  • Vocal has the same benefits as Medium with ease of publishing, exposure, and portfolio building.
  • People can also leave you tips on Vocal; a feature Medium does not offer.
  • Vocal offers contests with large prizes.

Cons:

  • The interface is not as friendly for the reader.
  • It was harder to build a following or audience here.

NewsBreak

Pros:

  • You can control the content you write, like with Medium and Vocal. However, it seems like local news coverage or newsworthy stories work best.
  • Generous pay structure with frequent promos for new writers (I made $1000 in my first month)
  • Referral bonuses for bringing in readers and new writers.

Cons:

  • The readers are not niche readers and often only find value in more salacious news-like stories.
  • You need to have some previously published work, or they will not accept you as a writer. So if you are just getting started, Medium or Vocal will work better.

Overall, these platforms are good side hustles for writers

The biggest downfalls involve the variability of how much money you can actually make per month versus the effort required to promote, build a following, and create content.

Each platform also only pays once per month. So, if you need money immediately, these might not be your best option unless you are just starting.

“You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, ‘This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can—buy me or not—but this is who I am as a writer.” – David Morrell

Start searching freelance writing sites

If you are looking to make money quickly and already have a portfolio with a few published works, a freelance site will probably be the most profitable in the quickest time frame.

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I read about Upwork from a Medium article when I was first starting.

The site is well run, they use escrow accounts and contracts to protect pay, and there are tons of writing jobs.

I have done everything from writing a virtual mystery escape room story to beta reading.

I also have had several long-term clients and have earned a full-time income.

The biggest con with using Upwork is that it can take a minute to get that first client without past clients or a large portfolio.

You will probably have to apply for some less glamorous gigs that don’t pay as much.

The best advice I can give you is to take those in the beginning and get a few five-star reviews. Then the clients will come to you!

Now you can take jobs that interest you and pay what you are worth!

Other websites like Writers Work or Reedsy offer jobs for new and experienced writers, editors, and proofreaders.

I haven’t used those to look for freelance work because I stay busy on Upwork, but I use Reedsy for my creative writing.

“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.” – Paula Danziger

Enter free contests on Reedsy and GoodNovel

For a while, I took part in contests through NYC Midnight to fulfill my desire for creative writing.

These are a lot of fun, with great feedback and bigger prizes.

However, if you want to make money fast, they aren’t the best choice because it can take months to get through all the rounds and declare a winner.

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Reedsy, however, offers weekly free contests.

The prize is smaller ($50), but the stories are short, and it is fun to interact with the other contestants!

If you want to try writing a full novel, or maybe you have one ready to go, check out GoodNovel.

GoodNovel will pay you to write your story once you get to 15 thousand words and sign a contract.

The pay byword is low, but you can enter your novel into the various contests they offer, and those prizes are large!

It is good practice, and the readers don’t hesitate to give feedback.

If contests aren’t your thing, there are magazines, sites, and publications open to paid submissions.

Facebook does a superb job filling my feed with ads from publications.

Books like Chicken Soup for the Soul have a call for submissions year-round.

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham

You will find the side hustle for writers that is right for you

Trying to figure out how to turn your passion for words into something that can help you pay the bills can be daunting, but these are all great options to help you get started.

When I left my management job to pursue a career in writing, I had people look at me like I had lost my mind.

One of my supervisors even said, “Danielle, writing? Writing?”

Don’t be surprised if you get that response from a few people.

If writing is something you have always wanted to do, just know it is within your reach.

Sites like Reedsy and Writers Work also offer many options for building your skills.

There are a ton of groups, newsletters, and online courses you can take, too! They will help you hone your skills and become more in demand.

Share any other sites that have paid you for writing in the comment section below.

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

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