A lot of writers are teachers.
Either they’re still in the classroom, or they’ve left full-time teaching behind to create their new writing life.
I don’t have any hardcore stats, but I feel comfortable estimating that roughly 75% of the writers I’ve met online are, in some way, connected to education.
It seems that those who love words also feel drawn to teach.
The Hard Reality of Earning a Living with Writing
It really is hard, isn’t it?
I mean, when all of the inspirational words are said and done, the early years of a writing life can get sparse. I have yet to read a writer’s story in which there wasn’t some form of poverty and/or self-sacrifice hanging like a dark shadow over meager beginnings.
It’s all so dramatic … and can be a little scary.
I’ve talked with a few of my writer friends who are trying to make a go of it and there’s a general consensus: it’s challenging to earn enough money just to pay the bills and eat. It’s no surprise that the most common advice from established writers to newbie writers is this: don’t quit your day job.
But, I have to say this and I’m not going to feel any shame about it: when I was a full-time teacher, I had zero creative energy left for writing. Before that, I could’ve said the same thing about working in the IT business. Surviving a 60-hour work week is no way to build a writing life.
I’m not a super woman, and I have no desire to be one. The rest of life … with children and partners and friends and family … is too important, and it was tough enough managing all of that after the 60 hours. So I repeat: I’m not ashamed to say that there wasn’t any room to pen my epic novel.
For those of us who are not super women or men, what are our options? We could wait for another decade or two while we continue to work in a job that pays the bills (but leaves little room for our writing life) and eagerly anticipate “retirement”, or we can find a way to earn a living in a way that makes room for that epic to emerge.
How About Writing for E-Learning?
The topic of earning a living with writing is a big one. When I wrote a post listing ways to do it, it was a huge hit and I still see a lot of interest in that post almost a year later.
But, I had never thought of freelance writing for the e-learning market.
I’m jumping into this one because it appeals to me as a writer AND a teacher.
Maybe you’ve struggled with the notion of freelance writing like I have. I’m not a trained journalist and I have no idea how to find clients. The thing is, I’m not even sure I’d want to write white papers, case studies, or any kind of sales copy. Personal essays, fiction, memoir, ebooks … that’s the stuff!
Until now. Enter e-learning.
As a teacher, it’s a potential fit … and maybe it could be for you as well. I can write scripts and scenarios, storyboards and quizzes, lesson plans and course objectives. Mapping and creating stories that guide students in and around their lessons is fun. I’ve done it for the classroom, and it was my favorite part. (Marking essays? Not so much!)
And to say the business is booming would be a massive understatement. Anyone who spends any time online knows how big the market is in e-learning. Online courses of all shapes and sizes are popping up everywhere, and that’s the market we see.
There’s also the privately developed courses in the corporate/nonprofit/academic sectors. When I was in IT, I worked for a short time in that field as well; it’s a metaphorical iceberg out there, with so much more going on below the surface of public access.
This could be a good fit for writers who are also teachers at heart … or by profession.
Even better? This might be the kind of work that will allow for enough room for epic writing!
I’ll keep you updated on how it goes and, in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you found work that helps you make enough room for your epic writing?