If you are a writer, chances are you are already disciplined enough to work at home. The only problem with broadening your horizons and taking on other contract positions is how to find them in the first place. Here are some good places to start. All of the below positions can be found on Craigslist or through bid sites such as Elance. They may also be advertised on job sites and a quick search for the job title can tell you if anyone is hiring for them at the moment. It also doesn’t hurt to sign up with a job search agency for any of them, with the stipulation that you want to be contacted for contract work only.
To do this, you may want to familiarize yourself with free transcription software. A lot of writers make a somewhat decent side living on transcription. Unless you are applying for medical jobs, you generally don’t need experience to start. You do want to make sure that you aren’t making less than minimum wage, much like writing.
These are generally local jobs and they tend to be for publications or law firms. Being a writer gives you some natural experience in this field that may cause you to think more creatively than a paralegal or law student might. This can be ongoing, but look out for being seriously underpaid. Some law firms are notoriously cheap and since you aren’t looking to break into a law firm, other benefits of doing this kind of work don’t exist for you.
I’m willing to bet many of our intrepid readers speak a few languages in addition to English. If this is the case, translation work can prove to be more lucrative than writing, if you get in with the right clientele. French translation is particularly lucrative in Canada, but most higher-paying clients want you to have certification of some kind of your French language skills. This may be a BA in French language studies, a college degree in French language studies, or a formal government exam. The federal government exam is generally required for any federal government contract work that requires you to be bilingual.
Translation jobs are also usually posted in the writing section of Craigslist in all major cities, and in the more general “jobs” section.
If you are engaged in any of the above occupations, you want to minimize distractions, arguably even more than you currently do when writing. Before undertaking any supplemental contracts, make sure that your home office is equipped to help you zone out distractions. I find that a stack of current bills right in front of me, coupled with a pair of old-school big headphones keep me from being distracted.