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Average Salary: $88,000

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $3,674,000

Parents, don't let your children grow up to be writers, unless they're going to be medical writers. A big perk of the medical writing is the money. Not mountains of money, mind you, but respectable hillocks of cash. Medical writers get paid more than just a typical writer, since they have specialized skills and have mastered scientific jargon. They make pretty good money—usually in the range of $75k with a college degree, or $80k to $90k, with an advanced degree.

If you're a freelancer, you can still make more than a subsistence wage, but it's not as consistent or predictable. One month, you may be super busy, pushing out articles in your sleep, but other months may be slow. A good freelancer could make a nice $100k, but a yearly salary of $65k is more common. But either way, it's a far cry from the starving writer slaving away on that sci-fi novel about aliens that sound just like Justin Bieber but look like Sasquatch.