Other Jobs Writers Take

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Just a few of my furry clients.

Recently a friend interviewed me for a video he was putting together for college grads hoping to start a career in the writing and publishing industry. Because I mostly freelance (occasionally I’ll take a contract job where I go on site somewhere for a few months) he was curious about the different ways I bring home a paycheck. I think he was surprised to find that a lot of what I do falls more under the editing and proofreading umbrella, because it’s a great way to earn supplemental income.

One of my main contract jobs is the calendar editor for a local magazine, which requires a lot of compiling data, entering it into our system, and then turning that content into places the readers go for things to do during the week, weekend. Other times I turn copy points from advertisers into sponsored content. Or I proofread and fact check directories on the website for extra cash.

I know a lot of writers who don’t just write as a way to bring in the income. Some teach classes (in person and online here for WOW!), some do manuscript editing or editing for websites and magazines, some work in bookstores, etc. But me, I took on a job not too long ago that has nothing to do with writing but brings me tremendous joy each day.

I became a dog walker.

Many of you already know I love dogs. If you follow me on social media I gush over my two constantly—their funny little personalities keep me entertained through the day as I’m working from home and get lonely sometimes. Last fall I got an assignment for a regional magazine to interview a pet sitter who offered wedding day services for pet owners. I loved the idea for her business so much, and was so impressed with her credentials, that I hired the company a few months later to watch my own dogs when I went on vacation. While scrolling on Facebook not long ago (because that’s what we writers love to do during periods of procrastination!) I noticed the company was looking for mid-day dog walkers in my area.

“Hmm,” I thought to myself. “I’m usually around mid-day and that could be a good way to pick up a little extra cash each month.” I mulled it over for a few days and finally sent the owner and e-mail. She got back to me immediately for a meeting, as she was about to have a baby and trying to get her team together.

So. For the past month, I have become a full-fledged dog walker and pet sitter. Business is booming, and with my regular writing clients and growing list of pups who need mid-day walks while their owners are at work or on vacation, I’m keeping busy. And keeping fit. When you do two to three dog walks a day several times a week you’re going to lose some weight. So there’s that. While we’re out walking I get to marvel in the beautiful weather we’ve been having, enjoy the happiness of the dogs (and sometimes cats!) as I walk through the door to see them, and have lots of extra time to think about storylines I’m working on while spending time with a whole host of energetic and unique animals. It’s been an uplifting experience.

As a writer, how do you make extra money? I’d love to hear about your own endeavors, because as we all know, strictly writing doesn’t always pay the bills!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who is always looking for extra ways to make money to support her household of budding musicians and their various instruments and music lessons. Find her online at FinishedPages.com.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--You walk Aussies? Wow, you are soon going to be skeletal if you keep that up, since they are such high-energy dogs.

I make "extra" money by teaching. It helps support me, since I make almost nothing (and I mean that literally) from writing.

Amber Polo said...

I freelance for a dog magazine. And deliver the magazine in my area. And sell ads.

Margo Dill said...

I have been a stringer/columnist for a paper, a nanny, a substitute teacher, an editor, a content writer, a writing teacher, and now, of course, I have a full-time job as an editorial assistant. I think we do what we have to do to do what we love!

Mary Horner said...

I get a lot of ideas while walking my own dog, and my daughter has been a dog sitter several times and finds it rewarding!

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