Writers and would-be writers are often interested in how much money they can make as a writer. The reality for most writers is “not enough.” Few writers can quit their day job and make enough writing to support themselves or their family. However, writing can provide an on-going supplement to the writer's regular income—depending on how much time they are willing or able to devote to writing. It is impossible to quote a reliable figure as there are so many variables involved.
Writing for periodicals can bring a regular paycheck, although some of those checks will be small. The advance and royalty checks from books will usually be more substantial, but they also come much further apart. You may get an advance when the book is accepted or published, but it can be another two years or more before you see any royalties. To have any hope of writing full-time, you must have ongoing sources of writing income, such as advances and royalties coming in on a regular basis, publications you get good-paying assignments for regularly, a regular column or more that bring in a monthly check, that sort of thing.
Before launching out to write full-time, create a realistic budget, and determine how many and what kinds of sales you need to make to meet that budget. Also it would be best to have 2 year's worth of income in the bank to cover the cash-flow slowdowns. The bottom line is that you must write for the love of it—not for the riches you might acquire. For a helpful blog that focuses on making money at your writing, go to: http://www.ravens-writing.blogspot.com. (Scroll down)
Excerpt from The Writing World Defined--A to Z (www.stuartmarket.com)