Surprise! Writers Make a Living

In the last issue of my Authors Guild Bulletin, there was an interesting article I'd like to tell you about.

Writing for a Living

The opening of "Writing for a Living" had a great hook sentence. More women do it than men. After you finish chuckling, I'll tell you more. The article was based on statistics from Artists in the Workforce, a report released June of this year by the National Endowment for the Arts. The figures were based on the 2000 census as well as more recent economic data.


More women than men claim their primary job is artist of some sort.

More who claim this as their primary job live in the states of Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts.

More live in the cities of Boulder-Longmont, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and San Francisco, California.

185,000 writers in the U.S. claimed writing as their primary job.

Writers and authors ranked 3rd in the 11 art categories listed. First and second were architects and producers.

83% have bachelor's or postgrad degrees.

More than 50% do it full-time, earning a median income slightly over $50,000.00.

Takeaway Truth

Authors Guild Inc. is the oldest author-advocacy group in the U. S. If you qualify for membership, I highly recommend joining. Authors need powerful advocates in high places.


  1. I totally understand the title, "Surprise, Writers Make a Living!"

    I really don't know where to start, and most of my writing really has been in the form of business memo, evaluation or proposal writing.

    So creatively, I haven't ventured into writing as a paid profession.

    This is inspirational that so many writers can be paid. I know that becoming a best selling author is like getting to be a pro player in Major League Baseball. I'd like to get a crack writing at the semi-pro level, perhaps writing for obscure magazines and such.

    How did you stumble or blaze a trail into a paid writing profession?

  2. Hey, Ice! Wow, the answer to your question is too long to address here. My best advice? First, figure out exactly what kind of writing you want to do? Fiction or nonfiction? Short or long? Freelance in print or online?

    Too bad you're not in this area. I'm probably going to teach another class at one of the local colleges in the spring if I can get my schedule clear enough to do so. I've also thought about doing an online class, but, again, time is the issue.

    When you know what you want to write, email me at joan @ (put REAL LIVE PERSON in subject box), and I'll see if I can answer some questions for you or point you in the right direction.