Becoming a Professional Writer – The Odds Aren’t as Bad as You Think

A while back I tried to figure out what the chances of actually making it as a writer and turning it into a full time career was.

Back then, I did some calculations based on how much money you’d have to make to get by, the yearly library earnings of Danish authors, and the population numbers in Denmark and the US respectively. I calculated there should be at least 10.370 professional authors in the US.

It turns out that was a very, very conservative estimate.

According to the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s about 109.400 professional “writers and authors” in the US. Ten times as many as I calculated!

That number might include screen writers, non-fiction writers, and writers for PC games as well, but most authors I know wouldn’t mind doing that kind of writing as well.

I don’t know how you will react to that number, but for me, it’s a huge morale boost.

I’ve often been told that writing fiction isn’t a viable career path, that there’s only 200 professional writers in the US (which is obviously a lie), that the average writer makes less than 10.000 dollars a year (because those statistics includes everyone who’s ever published a book).

What this number tells me is that if I really work hard at it, I can achieve my goal and become a professional writer.

Now, I just have to remind myself that this isn’t an overnight thing, that I have to keep practicing before I rush out and self publish a novel that won’t be worth reading to anyone. But, man, am I excited about writing in a way I haven’t been for months. And I hope you are too, and that you believe in your chances of making it as well.



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