How To Earn A Realistic Salary As A Writer With Jonathan Merritt

Last year, I produced over a million dollars with my writing. But not how you would think… For me, my writing is the heart of why people follow me. It’s the initial touchpoint that drives them to buy my products, pay for my consultation, and request me to speak. In other words, my writing is the front door to my brand and my business, and it should be the same for you.

Interestingly, I never thought I was going to be a writer. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy the act of writing. However, I love the result. The ability to transfer ideas, opinions, truth, and insight from my brain to others is likely the most fulfilling thing I do.

And today, I get to share how I got there.

In this episode, I have a special guest for you. Not only is he my personal writing coach and friend, but our conversation makes the hall of fame for this podcast. To catch the immense quantity of wisdom, lessons, and quotes you’ll want to listen to our conversation again and again.

Jonathan Merritt is a professional writer, he’s a columnist for the Atlantic, the author of many books, and a New York Times Bestselling ghost writer. Today, he is going to share his tricks and tips from his highly acclaimed writing program Write Brilliant in an effort to propel your writing to the next level.


Powerful Quotes From This Episode

  • “Great writers write from a place of confidence, not certainty.”
  • “Being a writer isn’t taught, it’s caught… like a disease you want to catch.”
  • “As you shape your writing, your writing is shaping you.”
  • “As a writer you’re either in the lighting business or the heating business.” (listen to hear the concept explained)
  • “70% of American’s say they have a book inside of them.”
  • “Sadly, most people go to the grave with the song still in them.”
  • “Writers will fail under the paralysis of perfectionism.”
  • “A good writer a reader of good books.”
  • “Writing can be an isolating act, but it’s best done in community.”
  • “Good writers write to their readers, not their critics.”
  • “Let’s not call it writer’s block, let’s call it ‘stuck.'”

After listening to our conversation, I would love to hear your feedback. What stood out to you? Were you motivated to take your writing more seriously? Were you encouraged to speak up in a world who needs your voice? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.

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  1. Angelica Anderson says:

    I have been wanting to write for such a long time now, and the hardest thing is being 21, and feeling like I don’t have much to write about because I am insecure about the validity of my words. I know I was created to do this, and I find myself feeling really inspired by the way you yourself are so confident in your convictions, ones that I happen to share, which have made me sort of a black sheep of my generation.
    I was reading Timothy Keller the other evening and he said “…The biblical authors’ teaching constantly challenged their own cultures’ beliefs- they were not simply a product of ancient mores and practices” This just stuck on my heart and I feel like that is what God is trying to do, to remind me that the church and being apart of it means that we are to separate ourselves from the ways of this world… including certain opinions.

    I really enjoyed this podcast, and I look forward to what other nuggets of wisdom you have.

    • So very true, Angelica. Thanks for sharing your heart here!

  2. Ron Lane says:

    I have published one book (Truths Blood) and the second is on the way. I mention that only to note that most (if not all) of your quotes above, are perfectly true. Folks, if you’ve got that book in you then write it. The thing you will find is that it takes a more commitment than you imagined. But that can be a good thing!

  3. Jodi says:

    Thank you so much for this podcast. I am a recently divorced mom of two and was concerned about my financial situation and in my desperation I cried out to God of my need to make more money but still be available to my children.I was awakened one morning at 4 am and the only word that I heard in my heart was BLOG. Can I tell you I had no idea really what that was or how my financial situation could be impacted. I am one of those people that have said I have a story to tell. My life experiences have taught me so much about myself and about others that people tell me I should write about it. I just didn’t know how to really start it all. This has helped me immensely on the writing aspect….now to figure out all the technical computer and internet lingo!!

    • You can do it, Jodi! The internet can be a major friend to you; maybe even consider finding a new-bloggers Facebook group to join for support!

  4. Patty says:

    First of all, let me say thank you for your words of inspiration daily. I look forward to seeing what you have to say each day.
    I really enjoyed and gained so much from this podcast. I will be listening to it several times. A few years ago I heard in my soul this: “develop the discipline of writing”. I have a deeper and more profound understanding to that after this podcast. Also, I have gotten away from that because of discouragement and your words of “only few things will go viral” helped me get past that discouragement.
    I feel I can get back on track with my calling after listening. Thanks again!!

    • I’m so thankful to hear that, Patty. Keep crushing, keep learning!

  5. Jill StClair says:

    Hi Dale,
    Love the podcast. Perhaps you could help…what is the title of the “emotion thesaurus”…(The Emotionant (spelling?), The Source???) I can’t seem to find it online. Thank you!

    • Hey, Jill! Glad you liked the podcast! You should be able to Google “The Emotion Thesaurus” and find the book on Amazon and other listed sellers. 🙂

  6. Elaine says:

    I loved this podcast. I come from an advertising background and while graphics was my specialty, I worked closely with great writers. This experience has given me much respect for the writing profession. Jonathan’s conversation was so authentic and full of new insight. I jotted down so many practical tools as I was listening. I’m currently searching for my own calling in the next phase of my life and writing seems to be shadowing along side every idea. This tells me to put more emphasis on it, knowing it’s a craft that holds much power. I’m sure I’ll be referring to the notes from this podcast often as I delve deeper into this new area of interest. And Dale, I’m half way through the book, Find Your Calling, written by you and your wife. Thank you for the many resources, including this podcast, that support my journey.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Elaine! Hearing that you’ve got some good take-aways from this is so good to hear. Glad you found my site and I hope you stick around!

  7. Josh wood says:

    Have listened to all your episodes so far and love them. Was just a little disappointed by this last episode as I thought the title was somewhat misleading. Definitely a lot of great content concerning writing, writing habits, and even professional development as writers but not really a podcast for learning how to earn a realistic salary as a writer.

    Still a huge fan.

    • That’s a great point, Josh. My thoughts were that if you could hear from someone who is working hard and earning a pretty incredible salary about how he organizes his brain, skills, and life, that it could help someone get out of the “I barely make a dime” pit and into more long-term sustainability with their writing. However, I’ll definitely consider a new title and see if something else comes up!

  8. This Podcast is fantasic and gives me some great tools moving forward with my own blog. I love the part about making time – I listened to the podcast while rocking my son as he slept and wake each morning before he does in order to write. It’s what you’ve got to do!

    Thank you for keeping my inspiration going!

    • Sarah, I love hearing that! Thank you! I’m honored to be a motivator and inspiration-sharer! Keep crushing.


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