Oftentimes writers get into the business because they want to do one thing: they want to be journalists, they want to be authors, they want to be novelists, or they want to be poets. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, if you want to make a living as a writer—if you want to make a life-long, viable-in-any-economy kind of living—then you will need to diversify. Write fiction. Write nonfiction. Explore a variety of topics that interest you. Provide services to independent clients. Use your research skills or your copyediting skills or your photography skills or any other skill you can think of to widen your net.
Don’t stop there. Say you want to write nonfiction books on a particular topic. Don’t just write books. Write articles. Write Op Ed pieces. Write essays. Make speeches or seminars. Not only will you build your platform, which helps with selling your book to readers and publishers, but you’ll be diversifying your income. Maybe you want to write novels instead. Don’t just write novels. Write short stories. Create anthologies. Write poetry for publications in your genre. Create a chapbook, turn it into an e-book, and sell it direct to your fans. Create webisodes. Write screenplays. Write teleplays. Make a video game. Turn your characters or settings into an app. Again, not only will you be building your platform, but you’ll be diversifying your income.
When you’re just starting out, you need to use whatever strengths you have to build your career. For some of us, that requires generating revenue as well as building a platform. For others, all that matters is building that platform. Either way, you need to diversify, reach out, make connections, build relationships—and fuel your career as it grows.
So take a moment to consider how you can diversify to develop your skills, build your platform, and diversify your income. Next week we’ll discuss using long-term goals to set short-term goals.