I’m an unapologetic Christian, and I’m not ashamed to say that the most important decision that I have ever made was when I accepted Jesus Christ as my lord and savior…but there was another decision that completely changed my life. If following Jesus is at the top of my list, this choice comes in at a close second:
It was the moment that I quit my full-time job to become a freelance writer.
At the time, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make a living (or pay for ramen noodles) by pursuing the most undervalued profession in the United States. I saw how writers like Stephenie Meyer, Liz Gilbert, and Toni Morrison had become successful in their respective genres, and I hoped that a 25-year-old Christian writer could do the same thing in hers…but then I thought of Henry David Thoreau (who lived in a cabin in the woods), Frederick Douglass (who literally had to escape slavery to practice his craft), and my grandmother (who became a professor because her life as a freelance writer was filled with uncertainty), and I realized that this business was not as cut and dry as I wanted it to be. Some people were successful, and some people weren’t. If I wanted to be one of the successful ones, I needed to find a way to follow my dreams AND make real money as a freelance writer.
It’s been three years, and I have learned so much as an entrepreneur and a creative professional. But the biggest lesson, and the most important piece of advice that I could give to an aspiring writer, is to find a career path that will allow you to make a living. You don’t need to be a starving artist to do what you love, but you do need to be smart.
You have a bunch of marketable skills: your ability to communicate, your creativity, and your willingness to try new things. These are skills that employers need, and if you want to become a business owner, you will find a lot of clients that need your talent for their upcoming projects.
So What Career Path Should I Choose?
Honestly, your options are limitless…but if you are looking for some inspiration, you should take a look at these profitable careers for Christian writers:
Copywriting: Helping Christian Business Owners
A copywriter creates content that sells products, services, and brands to consumers. There are millions of businesses that need sales-oriented content, and there are thousands of copywriters that meet their needs in the United States. You could focus on a specific type of copywriting (such as website content, brochures, advertisements, blog posts, technical manuals, and press releases), or you could focus on a specific industry (such as Christian brands). You are uniquely qualified for this market: you understand the needs, interests, and desires that drive Christian consumers, and you can use your experience as a Christian writer to help companies, ministries, and churches promote their organizations.
Copywriting is an extremely profitable career: the average annual salary for a staff copywriter is $71,131 in the United States. Freelance copywriters typically start at a lower hourly rate, but over time (and with a great marketing strategy) they can earn as much as $150 per hour.
Blogging: Connecting With Christians Around The World
A blogger connects with readers on the internet, providing advice, encouragement, and inspiration to everyone that visits their website. Every blogger has a unique niche, whether they provide financial advice for married couples or fashion tips for millennials. As a Christian writer, you already have an amazing niche: your faith. There are Christian lifestyle bloggers, Christian wellness bloggers, Christian fitness bloggers, and Christian mommy bloggers…but they all focus on the connection between their beliefs and their daily lives.
On average, a staff blogger makes an annual salary of $30,000…but independent bloggers can make far more than that by monetizing their website. Affiliate advertisements, sponsored posts, physical products, e-books, and freelance services can turn a small blog into a business that yields thousands of dollars per month!
Grant Writing: Empowering Christian Ministries
Nonprofits rely on private grants and federal funds to serve their communities; if you become a grant writer, you will be responsible for the proposals that they use to secure funding. You could work with parachurch ministries, evangelists, and churches that are looking for a new source of funds.
The average annual salary for a staff grant writer is $49,500 in the United States, but a freelance grant writer can make as much as $86 per hour when they have built a successful business.
Editing: Transforming The Lives Of Christian Writers
An editor is responsible for the final draft of their client’s content, and they can work for newspapers, magazines, or publishing houses. You can find job opportunities at Christian publications and Christian publishing companies, but you’ll have to get in-house experience if you want to build a successful career as a freelance editor.
The average annual salary for a staff editor is $55,971 in the United States, but this figure is an aggregate from a wide range of industries; a freelance editor that works exclusively with authors can earn as much as $150 per hour.
These are only a few of the career opportunities that you can pursue as a Christian writer. What career paths are you interested in? Let me know in the comments below!