Posted on 08/12/2019 at 11:20 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

One wonderful theme we never grow tired of is that of the full-time writer who wants to help others achieve that goal, too.

Jason Brick is the latest example of this.

You may recognize him as a recent guest on Joanna Penn’s podcast, in which they discussed (among many other things) Brick’s multiple writing revenue streams.

In addition to publishing fiction and nonfiction of varying length, he’s ghostwritten over twenty books, has edited and crowdfunded a number of anthologies, and writes for role-playing games.

Having the talent to accomplish these feats doesn’t necessarily translate to making them into your full-time gig, however.

Here’s what Brick had to say about his strategy for realizing this dream, and if you enjoy his approach, check out his Iron Writer Challenge on Facebook for a little extra support.

SADYE: How did you figure out that writing for role-playing games was a good income opportunity, and how can other writers stumble upon similar gigs?

JASON: I've always known writing for RPGs was a gig where one could make a little bit of money.

Then I went to a couple conferences and found out the market was way larger than I had imagined.

Truth is, the scale of publication now is such that almost every hobby has a market where you can earn a fair amount of cash writing for it.

That leads to two pieces of advice:

1. Write what you know and love. The words come faster. You already know the industry. You'll love what you do.

2. Go to conferences other than writing conferences. They put you in a room with people who need writers — and you'll be one of the few writers in that particular room. 

SADYE: Do you foresee any change in the tendency to undervalue creative work?

JASON: It won't get better. In fact it's getting worse, with mills in India and the Philippines offering poor-quality copy for a fraction of a cent per word.

Sites like UpWork and Fiverr are a "race to the bottom" where creatives underbid one another, perpetuating the illusion that creative work is of low value.

Avoid those sites and that trend. Instead, foster personal relationships with clients who understand the value of your words, and will tell others about how much your words are worth.

While you're at it, submit to the "Big Kids" earlier than you're inclined to.

The editors at The New Yorker or TIME won't be mad at you for submitting before you're ready — and who knows? You're probably readier than you imagine.

SADYE: What’s the best writing advice you ever received or the thing you did that most improved your writing?

JASON: Submit before you're ready.

Submitting your work gives you amazing feedback opportunities and is maybe the one absolutely necessary step for success as a writer.

Robert B. Parker once said that if you're not submitting, you're not a writer. You're a typist.  

SADYE: What’s the best thing or things that an author can do in his/her personal life to benefit his/her career?

JASON: Stay interested. Have experiences. Go do things. Travel. Attend conferences. Read anything they don't physically force out of your hands. Take that class.

Having a broad array of experiences and interests means you can write more things, and put more things into your writing.

SADYE: On the flip side of that ... what is the biggest business-type mistake you see indie authors making?

JASON: Not getting systematic. Business run on their systems — bookkeeping, marketing, client tracking, contact management, setting goals and marking progress.

If you want to write professionally, you have to treat it like a business.  

SADYE: With hindsight 20/20, what decision in your writing career would you change?

JASON: I would have started a decade earlier.

I went full-time as a writer when I was thirty-seven. I wish I'd done it in my twenties.

SADYE: And finally, what do you wish advice-seekers would ask you, and what would you tell them?

JASON: That's funny! I ask a very similar question at the end of interviews I perform.

I really wish more would ask me how they could give me $100,000.

But seriously, folks, it's not a specific question but a kind of question.

So many people ask me about how to go professional in this field, but I can tell what they're really doing is shoring up their excuses for not getting started.

I wish more people came to me with questions that were part of a laser-focused, driven effort to go full-time as a writer as quickly as possible.

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If you have further questions for Jason Brick, you can drop him an email through his website, where you can also learn more about him and his work.

Categories: Author Interview

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