Quote from jborche
What type of writing opportunities have you had? How much time do they take? How much do you get paid?
I've done writing assignments for an online learning system designed for nurses within my specialty area. These are online courses that the organization you work for would assign you to as part of your professional development. I write the text portion of the course and then graphic and software designers put together the rest of the course. I've also done freelance writing assignments for a variety of other organizations- writing CE articles for health care professionals (nurses, physicians, pharmacists, etc.), health articles for online health and fitness websites, etc.
The time that this takes depends on the scope of the assignment (how many words, how much research will be required to put it together, etc) that you accept and how fast you are able to complete the research and writing. The assignments that I've done have required a significant time investment. I know that this sounds rather general, but again, it really does depend on the individual. I tend to be very detailled and conscientious with my writing, so I'm not the faster writer. It typically takes me no less than 48 full hours to put together a 5,000 word document. The pay will vary greatly depending on who you are working for. Some companies pay by the word. That is typical if you are doing article writing for "lay-person" audiences. For the online course company I've done work for, I am paid by the project (about $1000 for one course, ~5,000 words). For CE programs, they sometimes pay by the credit hour or word range (~$400 per credit hour). But again, this is all very general, because it really will depend on the company, the project, and what you are able to negotiate depending on your experience and education.
In my experience, writing opportunities are best if they are able to supplement your income. Personally, I wouldn't attempt to do it full-time, but I know that there are people who have and have done so successfully. I do it because I enjoy writing and I think that it looks wonderful on a resume.