Side Gigs for Musicians: Become a Writer


Unless you’ve found wild success, it is likely you will need a side gig to supplement buying new gear, recording equipment, or even just to pay the bills. In my last post, I spoke about becoming a music teacher for your side gig, but not every musician is comfortable with what teaching private lessons in tutoring demands. Just as your music may be different from others, so is your personality and way of life. In many cases, you’ll have to find a side gig that fits your lifestyle to be successful.

There are numerous side gigs suited for every type of person. Many people need additional income, and side hustles are easy to balance with school, work, or additional hobbies. Since some musicians may not like making lesson plans, scheduling appointments, or even meeting people face-to-face, something like becoming a writer may be a better fit. However, it does come with its own set of responsibilities.

Being a writer offers the freedom to work from home, in your pajamas, and have flexible hours. If you’ve got the time management skills, strong writing capabilities, and the discipline to sit down and write, you might think about becoming a writer to make additional income. That said, getting your foot in the door as a writer can be tricky, and you may not even know where to start — but, you might also find that your knowledge as a musician and love of music can actually be an advantage when becoming a writer.

Check Your Local Newspaper and Magazines

Many writers get their start taking a job at the local newspaper or writing for a local magazine. If you’ve got the journalistic abilities — or better yet — previously participated in your high school or college newspaper, consider applying to write stories on the local events and happenings around town. Writing for a local magazine may be easier, but it likely won’t be that much money right out of the gate. Either way, it will give you the chance to build up a portfolio and gain valuable experience in furthering your writing career and making more money.

A musician can bring a unique spin to media, and you may find that you will get special consideration when applying to these jobs. Offer to write on special events, concerts, new venues, or even local musicians making a splash around town. Your knowledge of music can prove to be valuable in providing a more credible perspective on the local music scene of your city or town.

Try Your Hand at Blogging

There are no prerequisites to becoming a blogger. However, to make money, you’ll need to have great writing skills, build an audience, and come up with interesting topics for that audience. It also helps to have a bit of social media experience to market your blog and expand your audience base. If you’ve got the blogging skills, your music know-how can make for some interesting topics. Album reviews, artist profiles, or gear/venue reviews are all great topics that, especially fellow musicians, would love to read about.

Blogging can be a versatile way to showcase and appreciate other musicians while shedding light on your own music as well. Blogging requires fresh content, which means you have the chance to post many blogs — building relationships, discovering music, and getting people to subscribe to your blog or mailing list. Make your blog the best it can be with photos, audio, and video, all of which accompany posts about music very well. This may require base video editing skills, which luckily can be easily acquired for no money and little research online. Don’t just post about that incredible musician you saw, show your readers with photos and video!

There are many different ways to make money off of your blog, including advertising and affiliate income, as well as readership income. If you’re not in it solely for the profit, it is also a great way to get people to come to your shows.

Start Up a Freelance Business

Freelance writing takes very little money to get started. If you have an internet connection and a computer, you can start getting your freelance business underway immediately. Freelancing, however, requires exceptional writing skills, time management, and acquiring and juggling clients. Beginner freelancers may not make very much money, but if you have the networking skills to gain clients, you’ll see a steady stream of income soon.

Freelance writing not only allows flexibility in your work hours, but there are various topics you can choose to write on. For example, if you are knowledgeable , you can show a client you are the expert needed to write their music article. Starting a freelance business will be a bit different from the other jobs above, as many times you will have to negotiate your price with clients.

Much of your success as a freelance writer will be in managing the clients you write for. If you are unsure of where to start freelancing, there are various sites and topics on which you can find freelance writing gigs. Although it may take a lot of effort getting started, a freelance writing side gig can be very lucrative. Additionally, a very flexible work schedule allows time for you to work on your own music projects.Although your passion may be music, you do have other talents. If you’ve got a knack for writing, it can bring a variety of opportunities for you to make an additional income while maintaining the freedom to focus on your music as well. Musicians may even be sought after for their unique perspectives in writing on a variety of topics, so becoming a writer for your side gig can be a smooth transition, bettering your chances of success.

In case you missed it, check out Desmond’s first article in the series: Side Gigs for Musicians: Become a Music Teacher.

Desmond Rhodes is a freelance writer and musician. He can frequently be found behind the drumset, laptop, or a good book. Find him on Twitter @desmond_rhodes.

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