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.

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