How I make a good living as a writer

It all began innocently enough, when I got excited by the potential of selling e-books to supplement my massage therapy income, and I started moonlighting and pulling 12-hour days. That’s when the money started to flow. And the trouble.

Today, things are good: I make good money online as a writer and publisher, with my website PainScience.com. My articles and books attract well over a hundred thousand readers every week. I achieved it in about five to ten years of extreme workaholism. In January of 2010, at the age of 38, I quit my day job as a Registered Massage Therapist. Now, just barely middle aged, I no longer actually have to work much. (But I do anyway.) I am not “rich” by a long shot, but some might see it that way: my income is high, reliable, and the money keeps on flowing even when I take a week off.

This is my success story. I’ll be sharing it in a blog-to-book format right here, over the next year or so, mixed in with the all the other stuff I post about.

Financial freedom — it only took about 25,000 hours of this.

The quest to find the holy grail of passive income was brutal. My success story includes an extraordinary series of unfortunate events, densely packed into five nail-biting years:

And even the death of a beloved cat — hardly an unusual misfortune, but it sure felt like one tragedy too many at the time, piled on near the end. Anyone who has loved a great animal will understand that her loss hit me as hard as anything else.

Those grim events built way too much character, by which I mean that it probably gave me post-traumatic stress disorder — basket case! burnout! not kidding! But on the bright side there’s a book in it. The story of my career probably would have been worth sharing without all the drama, but it’s better this way.

This is not an autobiography — it’s just a the story of about five painfully interesting years of (finally) figuring out how to make a living as a writer. I hope it’s fun and helpful for:

  1. aspiring writers
  2. internet entrepreneurs
  3. plus a third audience not at all like the others: rational practitioners of alternative medicine frustrated with the rampant pseudoscience and self-serving nonsense that permeates that industry. (And, make no mistake, it is an industry just as much as “Big Pharma” is.)

For readers already familiar with my work — and I’m proud to say that there are really a lot of you these days — this writing will be the most most personal, candid, and militant thing you’ve ever seen from me.

Next: a writer’s dreams