The idea of the struggling artist is a common one. Just look at Moulin Rouge, the starving bohemian aesthetic permeates the entire movie, from its cast to its locations.

But do writers really earn a pittance?

Well, sometimes. But apparently according to the Office of National Statistics, it’s not as little as we thought.

Average UK salary for writers

cash coins money pattern

According to them, authors, writers and translators earn an average of £33,887 per year full-time. And this has actually increased a whole 1.5% based on the salaries last year (although the average increase rate is 2.5%, so we’re slightly behind on that one.)

Part-time writers, understandably, take home a bit less. £13,853 per year for men and women.

But here’s where it becomes interesting.

There’s a huge gender pay gap when it comes to male and female writers

There is an 18.9% gap between the earnings of male writers and female writers. 18.9. And that is significantly higher than the national average of 9.1%.

More than double, in fact.

And I’d love to give you a side-by-side comparison of men vs. women full-time, but they don’t have the figures for men.

How much do freelance writers earn?

person using macbook pro

Freelance writers weren’t a separate category in the ONS’s very thorough (and, spoiler alert, very dull survey to try and trawl through).

However, Indeed estimate that freelance writers earn an average of £32,459 per year. With the caveat that they’ve based this figure on 77 salaries reported anonymously to them.

Similarly, Glassdoor reported that freelancers command between £15 and £20 per hour for their services (another reason why sites that ask you to charge £5 (!) are massively underselling you and your skills).

Which sits around the same level as the ONS’s report, which throws freelances, authors and translators all into one big, writer basket.

Check back in next week when I break down how much we’re all going to earn when we’re super successful authors. BOOM.

And in the meantime, check my advice on how to get started with freelance writing.

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