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How do you become a fulltime writer?

How do you become a fulltime writer?Is it possible to go from being a fulltime employee to becoming a fulltime writer in just one year? Let’s find out in A Year of Writing, a podcast about writing, productivity, and marketing. My name is Natalie and I am your host.

This year, I’ve decided to go all in on my writing journey and see how far ahead I can get in my writing career. A little bit about me: I’m 34 years old and I live in Sweden, Stockholm. I work as a growth marketer. And for those of you who don’t know what a growth marketer does, it means that I work with data driven marketing and buy ads like paid social, Google Ads and I work a lot with SEO.

I heard a quote the other day that if you go all in, for a year, on any kind of hobby or something that interests you, you will get five years ahead in your career. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to go all in on my writing this year and see how far ahead I can get in my writing career.

Before becoming a growth marketer, I used to be a communication specialist. But I did realize that when I spent like 8 hours a day writing articles and stuff, it was really hard to come home and continue working writing novels. So that’s why I decided to switch and start working with marketing instead.

Writing has always been a passion and a creative outlet for me. I started writing… I don’t even remember how old I was when I started writing. I always knew I wanted to become a writer. And my real author journey began at university. I’m not sure, maybe it’s eight or ten years ago now, but I studied creative writing for three years and got a bachelor in linguistics.

I wrote the first draft of what would later become my debute novel, and I wrote a draft for another novel that I’m hoping will be my second one. We will see. After university, I started working as a communication specialist. But as I said earlier, I realized that it was really hard for me to write fiction after spending the day writing articles all day. So I knew I needed to make a change. If I wanted to write fiction, I would have to do something else by day. That’s why I decided to upskill into digital marketing.

In January 2021, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s a twelve week program where you find your way back to creativity. I really took the book to heart and only read one chapter a week, as you’re supposed to do, and tried to follow all the exercises and stuff. And what I did learn was that the morning pages made a huge difference. I also started to see things differently. Things started happening in my life. One of the things I realized that I should stop post random stuff on social media and I start building my writer brand. I already knew I wanted to write, so I wanted to surround myself with other writers and I started following other book accounts or writer accounts and they started following me too. We started cheering each other on. It was really great. I also found this Writer Café online and started going to Writer meetups every Wednesday. It was digital because it was during the pandemic. But yeah, that’s when I started to take my writing seriously again. I did one more edit of the book that would be my debute. It’s called “Flykten”, which I guess the English translation would be The Escape or maybe The Refuge. Anyways, it’s unfortunately not available in English yet. It it’s only available in Swedish.

Flykten is a story about a 14 year old boy who dreams about going to a real school and having a normal life where he does not need to fear the authorities. And when he gets fired from yet another job, he and his best friend decides to flee to Europe. The boys meet a smuggler in Tehran that help them get to Turkey, where their passports are supposed to be waiting. And they flee over the mountains and almost get caught in a police control. They have to spend days outside in the rain.When they finally get to Turkey, it turns out that the smuggler has tricked them. So the road to Europe turns out to be a lot harder than they anticipated. And yeah, the book, The Escape, is a thrilling story about two boys trying to find a better life. It’s a story about friendship, perseverance and courage based on the true story.

When I got the publishing deal for Flykten, it felt like a sign from the universe that I needed to take my writing more seriously. And it also made me realize that I was actually good enough to be published. So obviously that’s awesome. I started to post more frequently and post more frequently about writing on my social medias. I started to update my blog again. I started to get to know more writers and learning from them and finding my way back to a writer routine. And right now it’s been a couple of years. As you can tell, it’s 2023 now, but as I’m recording this, I’ve sent yet another manuscript to a few publishers.

The publishing industry here in Sweden is a bit different from in the US and the UK, and probably from Australia as well. Here in Sweden, we don’t get an agent first. We publish our books first and then maybe later we can find an agent. So it’s a bit backwards compared to what you guys are used to. I probably won’t do an episode on this unless you’re really curious about it, let me know. Contact me on social media or e-mail me at

The story that I’ve sent to a few publishing houses is a fantasy series that I call The Forbidden Circle. It will hopefully be five books in the end. I’ve written the first two so far, but I chose to pause the third one until I know if it’s good enough. And also I’ve decided to do a bit of a different project this summer because there’s a big competition that I really want to participate in.

The summer project that I’m writing as this episode will be published it’s actually a bit of an experiment, actually. I’m trying to write a book from idea to being able to send it in to publishers in less than four months. So I’m going to talk a lot more about this in the next episode that’s about writing and productivity, but basically I’m trying to see if I can get my myself super productive and finish a book in four months. We’ll see. We’ll see.

But right now, I’ve been rambling too much. So back to the theme of the episode. How do you become a full time author? For me, being a full time author means that I would be able to quit my day job and write the majority of the time. I’m not a stranger to creating an author entrepreneurial kind of business like Joanna Penn talks a lot about in her nonfiction books on writing. So for me, it would be absolutely fine to do, like, I don’t know, help other people with marketing and editing or ghost writing. Things that I’m really good at. But to be fair, if I only did freelancing, I would not consider that being a full time writer. I would say I would have if I was able to write 50% of the time, or maybe it would be full time to count? What do you think? Do you think, like, do you think 50% or the time is enough? Or would it have to be like, yeah, I have to live on my books to be a full time writer – because that might take a while.. There are a lot of books getting published each year.

Right now, I’m writing at least 1 hour a day, which basically adds up to almost 8 hours a week, which is great. It’s a lot of time writing, and it has increased my self confidence and my writing speed. It has changed way I think about both my manuscript and myself as a writer. The consistency makes me feel more like an author than I did before when I only wrote, sometimes during weekends or during vacation.

I did not used to be this disciplined, but since I’ve decided to go all in on writing, this is one of the key ways for me to actually take this dream seriously. But a question for you guys out there how would you define being a full time writer? Would you also do like, side gigs and freelancing? Or would you say that you would have to only write all the time? I have a few author friends that do read audiobooks as a side gig. If you’re good at reading stories out loud, that’s amazing. I’m not there yet. Maybe I will be one day though. So might do that. I think podcasting is a way for me to practice. I practice using my voice and practice getting comfortable speaking English, since it’s not my native tongue. But for me, I would say that marketing is probably one of the things… Marketing and helping other authors market themselves as authors and also marketing their books. That is something that I could help other people with since that’s my specialty.

In the book how to make a Living With Your Writing, Joanna Penn talks a lot about creating different income streams, and she says that you can do that by affiliate marketing, professional speaking, licensing your books to different markets or in different regions, freelancing teaching. And I think that’s a great idea, because if you have different income streams, then you’re not only dependent on one source of income.

I found a really interesting article in Writer’s Digest about becoming a full time writer. They talked about three mindset shifts that authors need to become a full time writer. The first one is to realize that overnight success is not a thing. First of all, it takes a lot of time. Writing, like writing and finishing a book, takes a lot of time. And after that, it might take time to find either an I agent or a publishing house. And once you’ve done that, it can take years until your book actually gets published. It did for me, it took more than a year. Usually you need to publish quite a few books before you can see any revenue at all from it. So don’t get sad if your first book is not a bestseller. Just keep going. Keep writing and keep show going up. Keep pursuing your dream. Because once you have a portfolio of works it’s actually more likely that someone will discover you. And if they like what you wrote, they may look at your other works and read that as well. So just keep going. Number two, it’s much easier to burn out than you think. If you’re like me, I work a full time job and I write every day outside of my job. And more than that, I market myself on different social medias and stuff to show up and for more people to find me in my book. And if you do that all of the time, that’s like having three full time jobs, which is exhausting. Make sure that you take care of yourself and that you have time to recover and relax and stuff like that. But also look at your daytime job. You may not be able to affect that so much, but you can affect how you create things outside of your daytime job. So, like having a writing schedule. I do that. I schedule writing slots. So I’m going to write between this and this time and for my social media and stuff like that, I mean I post every day, but I don’t create and post post every day. I schedule all posts for at least an entire week. The same with blog posts. I’ve written blog posts for months ahead and stuff like that. So if you treat it like a business, it’s a lot more manageable and you don’t have to stress about it every day. You know what? Listen to the next episode and we’ll talk a lot more about productivity. The third tip from the article was about deadlines and schedules and that they are your best friends. And this is exactly what we’ll be talking about in the next episode on productivity writing. So tune in for that one.

I read somewhere that you have to publish between four and ten books before you can start making enough money on your books to be able to make a decent living off writing. And if I remember correctly, the reason why you have to write that many books is because it usually takes a while until your book takes off and becomes a success. I’m not entirely sure if this is true, but I think there is a point to it. In Neil Gaiman’s master class, he talks a lot about the fact that you have to write to become a good writer. You have to continuously practice and show up and show up. And you know what? Your first book probably won’t be your best book, but keep writing. With every book you create, with every story you write, you will improve. So if you keep on improving, you keep on writing a little bit more exciting stories, one day you’ll be able to make money of it. And that’s amazing.

Another thing I’ve thought about when it comes to writing is that there are some genres that seem more economically profitable for publishers. At least here in Sweden, a lot of people talk about the fact that some publishers don’t want fantasy books. They would don’t want fantasy manuscripts because the audience reading fantasy in Sweden is too small. They’d rather have crime novels, romance or chick lit and stuff like that. I don’t know the statistics, but it might be true. But I know, some genras might be a lot more popular like abroad. I’ve heard authors say that they’re going to write in genres that are more profitable first and then write the story that they really want to write after that, when they have a good publishing deal. Maybe that’s the smart way to go, I don’t know?

I am currently writing feelgood manuscript which is a bit more commercial than my fantasy series. And we’ll see, maybe I’ll get a publishing deal on that one before getting publishing deal on my fantasy series. I don’t know.. Do you think it’s wrong to… I know this is an affected question, but should we as creators think about money or when we create like should we be strategic in choosing to write something that might be more profitable so that we can go back and write what we dream about writing? Or should we just be artists and write what we dream about writing and hope it will generate money? It’s a bit of a philosophical discussion, but I think it’s very interesting.

However, I do not encourage people to write something they don’t want to write. Absolutely not. Write within the genre that you love reading because that’s where you’ll shine. And to be honest, for me, I love reading. I love writing and I have ideas for multiple genres. I’ve already written book a novel based on a true story. I’m working on a fantasy series. I’ve started an urban dystopian series. I’m writing a feelgood romance novel. I have an idea for a nonfiction book and I would love to write like a thriller or something like that. One day, however my career turns out, I will probably try and write within a lot of different genres and then maybe I’ll end up writing only within one after that. But we’ll see.

To wrap it up, how do you become a full time writer? Becoming a creative entrepreneur might mean that you have to have multiple income streams. Some may be from your books, some may be from other things and that’s perfectly fine by me.

And one thing that I really loved, like at the beginning of this year, there was a trend on social media where a lot of creators and some authors showed their income streams from writing or creating on Instagram and TikTok. And it was quite eye opening because some months they made almost nothing, and somewhere like, they made a lot of money. But it also showed that some people that you look at and you’re like, wow, they’re living the dream life, probably making tons of money. Well, you know what? Maybe they’re not. They’re just living a life that they love, and it shows on camera. My point with this is to say that it’s good that we’re being more transparent about how much we make on our books. I mean, so far, I have no idea how much I made on my book because I won’t know until one year after it’s been published. I get to see the numbers. So who knows?

To wrap it up, how do you become a full time author? Becoming a creative entrepreneur might mean that you have to have multiple income streams, and that’s fine by me. I’m going to focus a lot on writing this year, but I’m also going to focus on building my author brand and try to see if I can create an entrepreneurship and get more followers on social media, get more people to visit my website, maybe sell some stuff online. I don’t know. You will have to follow me to find out, I guess. Do you think it’s possible to build multiple income streams in a year? And do you think it’s possible to make enough money to become a full time writer in a year? Let’s find out.

If you like this, please take a print screen of the podcast and tag me on Instagram at blackdirery se. And it really helps if you subscribe to the podcast. If you have any questions, contact me on social media or email me at My name is Natalie. Thank you for listening.

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