You might be surprised at the number of different sources for writing income are available to the writer who is willing to do a little bit of investigation. The Internet, in particular, has opened up all sorts of new markets for writers, and created many sources of writing income that, while unusual, may be very profitable for the writer.
Take, for example, article directories. In the old print publication world, a writer would write an article and send it to a publisher in hopes that the publisher would accept it. The publisher would then pay the writer once the article is published. Contrast this to the unusual world of article directories. Article directories allow a writer to submit an article on whatever topic they wish. The article is, usually, published immediately. However, the writer isn’t paid anything until the article actually generates revenue for the web site. At that point, the writer has income. In some cases, the article might generate several dollars a year for a decade or more, paying the writer more than the magazine would have in the old print world.
Another unusual source for writing income is blog writing. With blog writing, you essentially write for free. You give away content. In exchange, you get advertisers to pay to advertise on your blog. Your readers click on those ads, and you make money. In this way, blog writing is very much like a magazine, as it is through advertising that magazines make money. The difference is that you have full control over what sort of advertising appears, and you are responsible for the marketing part of things, too.
Certainly, there are many other unusual sources for writing income. Writing for contests at Helium, for example, is an example of an unusual source for writing income. Another would be writing for print writing contests. Doing paid reviews for products would be another. Some would consider technical writing or copywriting unusual, as well. Really, there are so many different sources for writing income that the writer is limited only by how hard they would like to work to find those sources.