I think we can all agree that a life solely dedicated to your art is the dream we all wish to achieve. But can you support yourself as a poet? While many might find this hard to believe, there are actually quite a few ways to make money with your poetry. However, keep in mind that it is going to be hard work and it might take months or even years to achieve the financial status you are looking for to live comfortably.
The problem with making a living as a poet is that the market is flooded. There are millions of writers out there with the same dream who want to do the exact same thing. But this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing it anyway. If you are feeling the call to immerse yourself in your art and live a creative life, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Just remember to be patient with the market and yourself. Ready to get started? Here are some of the best routes you can take if you want to earn money using your poetry skills.
Build an audience on social media
I know you have heard this one before but let’s talk it out. While this might seem daunting, between fighting the algorithm and producing enough poetry to post every day, it’s a productive step to take towards your goals. Many writers who have gone on to be published have started on Instagram, Twitter or other social media platforms. You never know who is following you and reading your work. Treat your Instagram profile as a business. After all, it could be the thing that launches your writing career. Take it seriously. Pick a special theme, find your niche and be sure to keep your voice cohesive. Putting the time and effort into these platforms now could have a big pay off later.
Submit to Literary Magazines
Some literary magazines pay for your work. It’s also a great way to build up your portfolio which builds on your credibility. The more you are published the more likely reputable magazines and publications, who pay well, will showcase your poetry. Just like building an audience on social media, take baby steps. Start small and submit frequently.
Write for the greeting card companies
Every greeting card you read was written by a human. Some greeting card writers even become relatively well-known, having their bylines written in the cards they pen. You may not be able to make a living by writing greeting cards, but you can still make money and be writing at the same time. To get a foot in the door, approach a greeting card company like you would any creative writing publisher—with research and professionalism. Go to the store, jot down the names of greeting card companies, and look up their submission guidelines. Then follow those guidelines word-for-word. Poets are allowed to be creative in their writing, but in their submissions, professionalism is very important.
Sell lyrics to bands
Not all band members can write amazing songs every day. Like any company, they need to outsource. If you have a sense of rhythm and a love for music, you could make money writing lyrics. Becoming a professional lyricist has a lot to do with networking and having thick skin in a tough business. Check out this comprehensive guide, which covers education, skillset, personal lifestyle and more on how to break into the lyric writing business. There are also some websites that claim to sell lyrics to bands online. It’s definitely worth a shot. Should you get a solid reputation among bands, you may find yourself making a lot of money per project.
If you love language and literature, you just might find your calling in teaching. You can teach poetry at the high school or college level, or just for fun on your own. Although you might not be spending your days writing poetry, being a teacher allows you to be immersed in poetry as you foster the writing skills of your young poet students. Keep in mind that some positions will pay you to use your time to write because your publications make the particular school look good. Do your research and find the best gig that works for you.