You may adore writing novels, but find it difficult to get paid to write them. The reality is, lengthy pieces take a lot more time and effort to write and to sell, and unless you're J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, you aren't going to make a mint doing so.
But don't - please don't - let that discourage you from writing novels! If it's your passion, do it anyway. You can make a living at it, if you work hard and write well.
if you need to pay bills in the meantime (while you wait to get paid
for your novels), here are some other venues you can explore.
One of the great things about writing novels is you practice the craft a lot. (At least if you write a little every day or so, you do.)
This makes it easier to write other things, because you're constantly practicing. Another plus: you can make non-fiction sound more interesting because you know how to write fiction.
So, if you want to get paid to write, and your novel's not done, consider non-fiction writing as a sideline. You can write articles for magazines and newspapers, speeches for speakers, or how-to guides for products or crafts.
Start by using something you already know. Are you an avid gardner? Write gardening articles. A hobby radio-control airplane nut? Appeal to the RC hobbyists out there with your knowledge. Write a book or article explaining where to buy supplies, how to build your own plane, or how to fly one.
If you write science fiction, maybe you can write some science, too. Whatever you know, others want to know (and need to have written).
If you prefer longer projects, give ghostwriting a try. While you won't usually gain credits for your work, you can make pretty good money writing memoirs for others, non-fiction for professionals who can't write or don't have time to write, or even novels for people who have ideas but not the skills to create novels from them.
You can also get paid to write for small businesses. Most businesses these days have a web site. And someone has to write those pages, that blog, those online articles and e-zines. Check places like iFreelance, or Elance for job postings, or even look on Craig's List. Better yet, network at local business association meetings and let people know you're for hire.
Like to write letters? Try writing
sales copy as a copywriter (one of the more lucrative ways to make money
writing). Projects can include everything from sales letters to
brochures, web pages and e-mails, so you can have as much variety as you
Do you love to read? Most novelists do. If that's the case, another option you can consider is writing book reviews. It takes a little time to find projects, but then you get to be paid for reading! Of course you're really going to get paid to write reviews, but the reading is a great benefit.
If you'd rather stick with fiction, try your hand at short stories, flash fiction, poetry or a shorter work for an anthology. Some magazines still publish short stories, and there are numerous online places that look for fiction. Just don't play on the "free" sites, unless you're doing it as a hobby. You won't get paid, and that negates the whole idea.
In short, if you need to finance your writing and your novel's not a best-seller, yet, you've got a lot of other methods you can try while you're working up to that #1 New York Times slot.
Go get paid!