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Earning a Living on a Boat- Writing

Unless you’re tied to a dock, living on a boat presents unique obstacles to earning a living not found living on land.  If you’re on anchor there is the obvious issue of ‘commuting’ to land every day.  A bigger problem, if you are actually ‘in transit’, as most boaters dream, how could you keep to a job long term even if you could manage to figure out an economical way to get back and forth.

With the era of wireless technology and the growing availability of Wi-Fi service on the water working ‘virtually’ is becoming a viable means of collecting your freedom chips.

There are a select few occupations that can easily ‘telecommute’ making the employees location irrelevant to the job.

  • webmasters
  • programmers
  • graphic designers
  • some engineering fields

If you’re not tech saavy, or an engineer, you can always write.

Freelance writing can be broken into two dinstinct groups.

  1. writing for online content
  2. writing for print publications

Both styles differ greatly.  This article will focus on writing for online content.

For the online content there’s any number of web content companies that will pay writers for unique articles that are 300-700 words in length.  Payment is usually either per article or by revenue sharing.  Here’s just a few:

The downside with these services is that they just don’t pay that much per article.  Demand Studios, for example, pays $5 for a short article or $15 for a longer article.  Assuming you can crank out articles without having the article sent back for a re-write, you would have to consistently write 10 articles per day (50 per week) to earn $3,000 a month from Demand Studios.

On the far extreme, Examiner pay $.01 per page view.  Assuming you wrote an article that has a high search demand it would take 1500 page views to earn the same amount of money.  The attraction for the performance payments method is that can create a residual income down the road as people search online for your topic.

Another way to find freelance online writing jobs is through job portals.  These websites may or may not take a fee for consolidating the needs of publishers.  Here’s a few;

Most of the websites you would apply or bid for the posted projects that are available.

To dispel some of the romance of freelance writing for a living, consider that it’s a volume game.  The more articles you can crank out the more money you are likely to make each month.  But in order to meet your quota, you’ll have to write a LOT of articles about topics that may not interest you one iota.  If you can sit down and objectively spend some time researching about diverse topics and write 300-700 word articles ALL DAY LONG, AGAIN AND AGAIN freelance writing can potentially open doors to better paying gigs while you enjoy the comfort of your floating home and remote office.

It you do decide to pursue freelance writing for the web, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Chances are you’ll need to apply to many many freelance services in order to keep the ‘hopper’ full of writing opportunities.

If you think you want to write but don’t have any background or training don’t worry.  If you can invest some time and energy (and money) you can take some very specific writing classes online that may help sharpen your skills for  your new future as a freelance writer.

At the very least, just start writing.

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4 comments to Earning a Living on a Boat- Writing

  • BrokeNotBroken

    Not to be pessimistic but I think there’s a reason why the term “starving artist” is around. The good thing I guess is that the cost of living isn’t very high either. What irks me are all of the sailing blogs that talk about this port, that port, the day-to-day sailing. After a while it just gets to be boring. Oh great, they went snorkeling again. Wow, a picture of a different fish… What I find refreshing about this blog is that it is a good mix of day-to-day sailing, personal philosophy, conflict, and suspense all told with a good bit of openness. Oh, and by the way, please don’t do what a lot of bloggers do and just end it with no resolution. I have read through blogs that span years only to have the blog just end. Case in point:
    No explanation, no closure for the readers that have developed an interest in their story. Oh well.

    Maybe you can do a documentary for the sailing channel too,
    I already watched all of their online shows, they’re not too bad.
    Best of luck

  • big cheese

    Freelance writing internet articles just seems to be a grind, not a lot of creativity involved. The starving artist phrase is very real and alive. In this economy I think it’s expanded to starving real estate agents, starving home builders, starving middle managers, etc…

    I agree about a lot of cruising blogs. A detailed description of a lazy day on a boat gets kind of old after the 30th time. A little more transparency would make things a lot more interesting. How did they get the money? How did they learn to cruise the oceans? What scary experiences did they have?

    We started this blog as a way for our friends and family to keep up. With family spread out all over the country it’s been a great way for them to watch Emma grow and catch a glimpse of our lives these days. I think we have a lot left to say and do before we hang up our blog.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the sailing channel.


  • Jay Pea

    With your diverse skill-set perhaps you could make a few bucks answering questions on This is not an endorsement for the site, just something I came across. Every bit counts!


  • big cheese

    Absolutely! Thanks for the suggestion.