After I published my article about how I turned my writing side hustle into a career, I was overwhelmed with questions from people asking how to make a living writing.

There are many ways to earn a living as a writer. It's not always easy--and it takes time and skill to get there--but it's definitely possible. If you're looking to get paid to write, these strategies can help you break into the field and work your way up to higher paying opportunities.

Start a Blog

Before you can expect to get paid for your content, you need proof you can string sentences together in a coherent manner. Starting a blog may be the best way to do that.

And while there are some bloggers who earn a full-time income (some of them earn millions), that's not the norm. If your sole purpose in launching a blog is to get rich, I'd think twice about starting one.

Instead, use your blog to sharpen your writing skills. Then, when you apply for jobs, you'll have writing samples to submit with your application.

Search Job Boards

There are many job boards filled with writing opportunities. Problogger is one of my favorite job boards. Several of my earliest writing jobs came from opportunities I discovered on their job board.

But there are many other job boards out there. You might find some specific to your niche.

You can also use websites, like Indeed, to find freelance work. Put "freelance writer" in the search box and don't enter a zip code--you'll want to look for remote work available everywhere.

Apply for Freelance Gigs

Websites, like Upwork, allow you to search millions of writing opportunities. From writing item descriptions for a website to creating articles with specific SEO keywords, there are gigs for everyone.

The pay varies greatly, however. You can bid on some of the jobs. Simply enter how much you'd be willing to do the work for.

There can be steep competition for many of the jobs. So while it may be tempting to reduce your prices, doing so doesn't guarantee you'll get hired. And if you're not careful, you could easily spend the vast majority of your time applying for gigs, rather than earning money.

Obtain Regular Clients

Type "write for us" in your search engine and you'll find pages of websites who are looking for regular writers. Add your area of expertise, like tech, gardening, health, or parenting, to narrow down your options.

Some sites pay a flat fee, like $100 an article. Others pay by the page view or by the word.

Sites vary in terms of what they expect you to do as well. A client who asks you to email your article to an editor may not require too much of your time.

But a client who expects you to find a picture, upload your content to their site, add links, and fill in meta data, may require a lot more time. Those are things you need to take into consideration when setting your rate.

You might also search for the words "become a contributor." You may be able to obtain a regular column for a high-profile website.

Check out the "About us" section of your favorite websites as well. They may have information on how you can write for them.

Pitch Magazines

Writing for magazines can be lucrative--popular ones pay several thousand dollars per article. They have high expectations, however, so it can be tough to get a magazine writing gig.

If you're interested in breaking into the magazine world, purchase Writer's Market 2018, to learn which publications are accepting submissions and to find out how much they pay.

Trade magazines and local magazines pay a lot less--some of them offer free subscriptions in lieu of payment. But getting published in any print magazine is a good start.

Write Books

Books can be the most lucrative writing opportunity. If you want to traditionally publish a book (where you'll get paid an advance) get an agent. They earn 15 percent commission, but they're worth every penny.

If you're writing non-fiction, you'll sell a book proposal (so you don't need to write the whole book first). If you're looking to publish fiction, you'll need to write the book before you get a deal.

Of course, you can also self-publish your book. But keep in mind that there are millions of new books being written every year. And the average person only reads two books each year. So don't expect to earn millions of dollars on your self-published book if you don't have a platform.

Work Your Way Up

I receive a lot of emails from people who want to start writing for premium outlets. But they've never been published anywhere before.

To earn a living writing, you have to start somewhere. And that means starting on the low end of the pay scale. I wouldn't quit your day job to become a writer until you're earning a steady income.

The more you write--and the better the content you create--the more you'll be paid. With consistent effort and hard work, you can earn a living writing.

Published on: Nov 6, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.