10 best blogs for writers - Copify

10 best blogs for writers

If you’ve found yourself on this page, the chances are that you’ve done a Google search to try and find the best blogs for writers. You’ll have already noticed how many of them there are out there, and you’re probably eager to narrow it down to the ones that will actually help you.

It’s not as simple as just clicking on the results that the search engine comes up with. Although these might rank highly, many of them will be unengaging or poorly executed, and therefore of little assistance to aspiring writers like yourself.

But there are some real gems out there for those on the hunt for something that will actually be helpful, filled with witty and informative commentary, invaluable tips and tricks, and plenty of useful content.

Whether you’re a freelance writer who wants to improve your copywriting style or an aspiring novelist looking to enhance your creative writing pursuits, our selection contains a range of writing blogs to enable you to brush up on your techniques, learn from others, keep up with the latest trends, and ensure that everything you produce captivates its audience and keeps them reading.

If you want to know where to find these elusive blogs, these are the places we suggest you look…

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

1. Grammarly

You might have seen ads for Grammarly pop up on your Facebook and dismissed them as you do most things that seem too good to be true, but this is a beautifully presented and engaging blog that delivers exactly what it promises to. As well as offering an online proofreading tool that’s utterly invaluable to aspiring writers, Grammarly’s informative blog is easy to use, nicely laid out, and provides a fantastic mix of content, from the more serious to light-hearted offerings that will have you chuckling away to yourself.

2. The Creative Penn

If you want advice, then it’s always best to approach the experts, so who better to learn from than a New York Times bestselling independent author like Joanna Penn? Creator of numerous non-fiction works, she has sold over 500,000 copies of her titles and shares her experiences and insights on her brilliant blog. Mixing standard written content with frequent podcasts, she provides a window into the world of independent publishing, one that is filled to the brim with practical tips and tricks to help you improve your own offerings.

3. Jane Friedman

It’s fair to say that another professional guaranteed to know their stuff is a publisher, and Jane Friedman has decades of experience in the industry. Formerly employed by Writer’s Digest, she really does know what she’s talking about, and she happily shares her know-how on her blog. Filled with useful, instructive content especially aimed at aspiring writers, a read through her archives is enough to outfit the uninitiated with plenty of insider knowledge to help them get ahead of the game.

10 best blogs for writers - Copify

4. Daily Writing Tips

Daily Writing Tips does exactly what it says on the tin, which is why we love it so much. Free of gimmicks or get-rich-quick schemes, it provides plenty of practical advice to writers, to assist in improving their spelling, grammar, and the overall quality of their content. For anyone who’s ever wondered whether to use a colon or a semicolon, speech marks or quotations, a daily skim read of this blog will soon ensure that this is a thing of the past, helping you to hone your talents until your punctuation is utter perfection, and your writing skills are quite simply superb.

5. The Writers’ Academy

Hosted by Penguin Random House, the Writer’s Academy is another blog that we suggest you check out. Overflowing with great articles, it offers everything from writing prompts to competitions, instructive content, and more. It makes for some pretty interesting and educational reading, so take a look and see what you think.

6. The Book Designer

This one is a little different to the blogs we’ve looked at so far. Although it still has lots of really useful articles, The Book Designer focuses less on the actual writing and publishing aspect of things and more on how to physically put a book together. With exhaustive content covering everything from book and cover design to printing, production, and more, it makes for incredibly informative reading for those who want to go down the DIY route.

7. Well-Storied

This is a blog that we really do love, because it’s fresh, fast growing, and unlike anything else that’s out there. Created by Kristen Kieffer, Well-Storied offers a superb expose on how not to write a novel, drawing from its host’s past failures to paint a picture of the many common mistakes you ought to avoid when you’re trying to get published.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

8. Goins, Writer

One of the most celebrated writing bloggers on the internet is the inimitable Jeff Goins, and if you decide to take a look at his blog, you’ll soon see why. Offering lots of fantastic resources for those who hope to turn their passion for the written word into serious long-term employment, his love of his subject is evident in every piece of content he produces. Utilising a storybook style of writing, he has some truly invaluable tips for those in need of a little inspiration.

9. Copyblogger

This is another one that deviates from the norm. Aimed specifically at teaching writers how to produce content for marketing and SEO purposes, Copyblogger is uniquely well suited to the many who make their living through writing for online publications. Even those whose focus is creative writing could still have plenty to learn from it and will find it filled with fascinating features including interviews with bestselling authors.

10. The Write Life

We round out our 10 best blogs for writers with this final entry: The Write Life. The perfect place for those in the industry to create, connect, and earn some extra profit, it is envisioned as a portal where writers can engage with each other and learn how to make their first forays into the world of professional authorship, whether through fiction or copywriting. Taking a simple and straightforward approach to achieving this, it still manages to offer visitors plenty of entertaining reading materials, whilst all the while educating them on how to make their living as a writer.10 best blogs for writers - Copify

Do you have any other blogs to recommend amongst the best blogs for writers? Drop a comment below. And if you liked this blog post, why not take a look over some of our other posts to see what useful content you can find right here on the Copify blog.

 

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Image credits: Shanna SJane FriedmanWell-StoriedThe Write Life

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Starting as a freelance writer - Copify blog

Starting out as a freelance writer – what you need to know

Choosing to become a freelance writer marks an exciting turn in anyone’s career and there are certainly plenty of opportunities on offer. You get the chance to write about things you love, work with new and exciting clients and, best of all, you get to be location independent. It’s also worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to be the best writer around, but will instead need to continually focus on your skills and get better over time.

However, with ample opportunity and plenty on offer, this begs the question: “why isn’t everyone doing it?”

Well, the reason is that it’s not necessarily easy and there are plenty who have sought to become a full-time freelance writer but have failed along the way. So, to best prepare you for the road ahead and to give you the best chances of success, here are 8 things you need to know when starting as a freelance writer.

1. You won’t earn big money straight away

Starting as a freelance writer - Copify blogAs with any profession, it will take time for you to build up a sizeable portfolio of high-quality work and to find clients who like you and how you write.

What this means is that you can’t, from the outset, expect to start earning lots of money like some of the more successful writers do. Instead, you need to put in the work and build up a reputation that then qualifies you to be able to earn the more lucrative writing jobs.

2. You are entering a community

As mentioned, starting out as a freelance writer is an exciting career path that many have chosen to take and, as such, you are not alone in your journey. Instead of viewing all these other writers as competition, you need to instead view them as a community from which you can interact and prosper.

There are plenty of groups on social media, as well as blogs that offer advice on freelance writing and how to get ahead. It is recommended you become active in those groups and contribute to them. You will be surprised at what you learn and potential clients you can pick up along the way.

3. Focusing on your niche is the best way to get ahead

Starting as a freelance writer - Copify blog

Though you don’t necessarily have to write exclusively about one topic, it does help to have certain key industries in which you specialise in.

Saying you can write on anything and everything doesn’t really appeal to potential clients who would rather pay more to know they are hiring someone who is focused on and passionate about a few subject fields.

This means making your portfolio relevant and focused to certain niches and then targeting clients who fall within those categories. Keep up to date on those topics by reading regularly on them and engaging with like-minded individuals.

4. You will need to be active in your field

Say your passion is health and fitness and you want to write more on that subject because it genuinely interests you and you have a wealth of experience. To attract clients and make yourself stand out to the people that matter, you need to be active within the health and fitness industry.

This doesn’t mean going to the gym three or four times a day but instead means creating social media accounts where you share your views and content that is relevant to health and fitness trends. Engage with others who are interested and engage in meaningful discussion with them. You never know who you might strike up a relationship with, and you don’t know where that could then take your career.

5. You need to be organised

For some, being organised is something that comes naturally but, for others, it takes awareness and practice. Well, the truth is that, as with any sort of freelance work, you will be responsible for all of your day-to-day activity such as schedules and timekeeping, client outreach, billing, updating client blogs and updating your own blog. You need to be able to keep track of all your daily tasks and responsibilities to make sure you stay ahead of your workload and don’t let any clients down.

6. You need to develop a thick skin

Getting more clients, especially when first starting out, is a slow and painful process by which you will face continual rejection or simply be ignored. However, this happens to anyone starting out as a freelance writer and you need to be able to push through. Don’t get disheartened by continual rejection because, if you follow the correct steps and put in the work, writing jobs will come your way and you will earn the freedom you want.

7. You will need a portfolio

Starting as a freelance writer

Before anyone is going to pay you for your services, you will need some sort of portfolio to show off your work. You can either build a PDF document full of your articles or provide links to guest posts or blog posts you’ve written. You could even create your own website that showcases your work in a professional and straightforward way.

What this means is that, if you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, you may need to start a blog or guest post for free in order to build up some examples of what you can do.

8. Job boards and marketplaces are crowded

Some freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer can become crowded; the same goes for daily job boards as well. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find work but, instead, means it may not be ideal if you’re looking to depend on these long term.

To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to make sure that any applications you write stand out from the crowd and that you are one of the first to apply. Or use a content creation site like Copify to have access to a range of jobs every day.

These points are in no way meant to discourage you from starting as a freelance writer but are instead there to put you in the best position to succeed. As with any job you pursue, it will require commitment and hard work to get where you want to go but, once you get there, you will thank yourself for making the change and any necessary sacrifices along the way.

 

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What degree do you need to become a writer - Copify blog

What degree do you need to become a writer?

What do Mark Twain, Harper Lee and Charles Dickens all have in common? They may all be some of your best-loved writers but not one of them completed a college degree.

Writing is an art and skill that can be self-taught. This means the easy answer to this question is you can have any degree and become a writer – or, if you like, none at all. The core requirement is an excellent grasp of the English language. The rest is much more fluid.

What degree do you need to become a writer?

Writers work at many different levels in the publishing industry from authors to journalists, bloggers to technical experts. Many of these peaks can be reached through a combination of curiosity and on-the-job-training – no degree required. Experience can also be gained from working, internships or running your own blog.

However, many writers do have a formal educational background, or qualifications, in creative writing, journalism, history or linguistics. Other common routes in are from communications, or English Language or Literature studies. Formal writing training programs are at either graduate or undergraduate level and usually have an emphasis in writing or creative writing.

The reason for these courses is that many people are drawn to writing so a degree offers some competitive advantage. This is particularly relevant when writing jobs are hotly contested. In fact, these types of roles are so competitive in the USA that employment of writers and authors is projected to grow by just 2% from 2014 to 2024. That’s slower than most other occupations and due to fewer jobs with more people looking to fill them.

English degrees give an advantage, but not a requirement

There are broadly two types of writers. Those that create fiction or non-fiction narratives for performance or publication, like novelists, screenwriters and reporters. The second kind are technical writers that communicate the use and scope of technical products, such as software or engineering tools. Their job is turning complicated information into something easily readable.

What degree do you need to become a writerEnglish or creative writing degrees are useful for aspiring writers in all areas as you will gain experience of constructing a story, seeing how tales are told, and have academic support to hone your writing abilities. This could also be achieved through on-the-job training with more experienced writers and lots of people take this second, often-longer, path.

What’s generally more important than a degree when building a writing career is that the person involved has the qualities of a serious writer.

These are:

  • Adaptability: In a changing industry, writing professionals need to be able to work out new systems and technology quickly.
  • Creativity: This is an absolute core skill. Writers and authors need to develop interesting storylines that people will want to follow. That’s the same whether you’re a journalist, a blogger or an author.
  • Critical-thinking skills: To be able to explain concepts to others, you need to be able to understand them yourselves. Great writers think critically and research the answer to their mind’s questions on their topics of interest.
  • Determination: Deadlines are tough. Workloads can be tougher, or sometimes non-existent. A successful writer is so determined that they work their way through it all.
  • Social awareness: Writing well is to reflect the world around you. You need to understand emotions and ideas in order to become a popular writer. That’s a natural insight for some but others need to work harder on it.
  • Persuasion: Aspiring writers may need to work hard to get their first break, and advertising copywriters battle to create persuasive messages on a daily basis.

When it comes to salaries, recent data collected from industry professionals suggested it was experience, rather than education, that shaped their employability and income. Writers in their late career enjoyed salaries 37% higher than average, experienced professionals were over by 22% and those in the middle of their career enjoyed just a 7% premium for their work.

The way writers work is changing, and fast

In general, the delights of the digital age have meant the way writers work has changed. Some are based in an office, others work from home, others lounge on a beach or by the side of a pool. In 2014, nearly two-thirds were self-employed and worked part-time or to flexible schedules.

Things have changed. Online platforms let freelancers easily seek out new work, employers can now recruit directly from the jumble of internet voices and skills in social media communication, and copywriting and blogging are becoming increasingly relevant.What degree do you need to become a writer - Copify blog

However, there are still other, less obvious, ways that people find themselves making a living from the writing world. And other degree topics that are relevant to making that jump.

For example, companies and outlets increasingly want people that are tech-savvy and can produce attractive and engaging webpages or visual stories to illustrate their story-telling. This means having skills in media, the arts or computing could also be a viable route into writing and publishing.

Specialisms can develop from earlier study

It’s also worth remembering that there are large numbers of specialist routes that writers can take if they have an interest in a particular field. This is why someone with a degree in biology can make a name for themselves as a health correspondent, or a history graduate can become an accomplished author – the path to a writing career has many access roads.

Persons that are looking to enter the industry with a directly relevant degree will still need to acquire relevant experience such as internships and pro bono work. Persons without a degree may struggle a little more to get these initial opportunities. Both of these groups can benefit from taking on writing for smaller businesses, local newspapers, advertising agencies, and non-profit organizations.

So, what degree do you need to become a writer? Thanks to the rise of the gig economy and online communications you don’t need a college degree at all, but you absolutely do need a good internet connection.

An English, journalism or communications degree is useful in the search for a writing role but skills and experience are equally important. A degree does not guarantee a job, and landing a writing job is not guaranteed to require a degree.

 

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Are you copy writing or copywriting?

Copy writing or copywriting (as it is more commonly known in the industry), is a writing skill that combines selling to a particular audience with compelling the reader to take action. It’s different to content writing, in that it influences a specific target market to want to hear more details about a product or service, or inspires them to make a purchase.

Content writing is usually more editorial in nature, more detailed, and sometimes has a journalistic tone. However, the two do cross over and often sit hand in hand, especially in the online world.

Copy writing or copywriting: is there a difference?

To some it may seem like a minor technicality, but you could argue the difference between basic copy writing and copywriting is a skillset that can be characterised by putting the reader’s emotions at the centre of your writing. It also includes learned techniques such as SEO-optimised language to help your content rank highly in searches. But of course, mastering these copywriting skills takes practice and staying power.

Whether you’re starting out in this field, have some level of experience, or are transferring from another writing discipline, it’s important to remember that there are certain secrets to developing the flair and style that will lead to the ultimate aim of your writing; to make a sale based on engagement and a call to action.

Just like learning to drive a car or riding a bike, our muscle memory plays a key role in how we write copy. This is where practice comes in, and training the brain to approach copywriting using a set of principles that will eventually become second nature, will give you the discipline to succeed and develop those killer skills. Essentially, you need to ask yourself whether you are simply writing copy for your website without much thought as to who the intended audience is, or whether you are committed to producing words that don’t just sell but also engage, inform and inspire.

Essentially, you need to ask yourself whether you are simply writing copy for your website without much thought as to who the intended audience is (this can be a very easy trap to fall into when time is of the essence). Or, if you are committed to producing words that don’t just sell but also engage, inform and inspire. And which ultimately increase search engine ranking, drive more traffic, and result in more conversions.

If you need a little guidance to get you started, there are several ways you can craft and structure your copywriting to convert a casual browser into a customer…

How to develop killer copywriting skills

1. Tap into your audience’s pain points

When you receive a copywriting brief, it’s up to you to make sure you clearly understand the details and ask questions if you’re unsure. This will help you research the target audience and tap into what makes them tick. This may mean speaking to colleagues who have previously engaged with the intended audience or carrying out your own desk-based work to establish company objectives or financial information. This will support you in positioning your offering when it comes to copywriting.

Copy writing or copywriting - Copify blog

If, for example, you’re crafting copy to engage business people to buy IT products, you need to work out what some of their current problems may be, and match up your products, services and expertise that you’re selling, in a way that solves their current issues.

This could be that they want a system with less infrastructure or maintenance required by their in-house IT department.

A simple formula for this is:

  • What is the feature that you’re selling?
  • How does this benefit the customer, i.e. solve their pain points?

From here, you can then wow them with the ultimate convincing reason to choose you and your products/services; the differentiator. Why should someone buy what you’re selling over your competitors? In the case of IT products, is this that they are the easiest to install on the market, meaning less disruption for those working for the company you’re selling to? Building trust in knowing what you’re talking about will create affinity and a strong reason to buy.

2. Use your inner critic as your own best friend

Writing to sell is fundamentally different from any other form of writing, as it has to resonate with the customer on a personal level. According to Alf Dunbar, people buy people first and products second. If you can tailor your writing to develop an emotional link between your product and audience, you can get them on side quickly and captivate their minds.

This is where your own self-censoring comes into play. Once you’ve written your copy, read it through with these points in mind:

  • Does this content create a rapport with the intended audience?
  • Would you buy these products/services based solely on this copy alone?

If the answer to either of these is ‘no’, go back and rethink how you can tap into the mind of the audience to greater effect. Does this mean creating more of an effective link between the audience and the people of your organisation? How can you sprinkle in a little more reassurance that your staff will solve your potential customers’ problems?

3. Picture the audience as one person, not a panel

It’s easier to sell to a single person, rather than a group of people. This is because it’ll focus your writing to make it seem like the copy is talking to one customer only. This technique will make them feel special and that you are there to support them exclusively.

Copy writing or copywriting - Copify blog

4. Don’t leave room for confusion

The smaller the sentences, the better. Longer sentences can confuse people and can even result in contradictory messages. It’s a real skill to be able to write copy that explains concepts and ideas simply, rather than over complicating them. Practice writing one sentence at a time. Read it out loud if it helps to refine what you’re trying to communicate.

5. Use the right language

Knowing your intended audience and how they operate will propel your thinking when it comes to using the right style, tone and language to make a sale. Copy can be written well, but if it’s inappropriate for the intended audience, it will not only alienate the reader and could even damage your brand. Getting it right requires an understanding of what’s socially acceptable within the context of your audience.

A good example to illustrate this point is the use of humour. When used well and at the right time, humour can be a key tool when it comes to delivering a powerful message. Times when this is appropriate may be when selling consumer products to young adults.

Copy writing or copywriting - Copify blog

The Got Milk range of adverts uses celebrities with the iconic milk moustache accompanied by copy that is both informative and funny. One of these adverts featured Kermit the Frog, with the slogan ‘milk isn’t just for tadpoles’. The effect of this line prompts a laugh but is also telling young adults that milk still has health benefits now, not just when they were kids, encouraging them to drink milk as part of a healthy diet.

Finally, perhaps the golden rule of copywriting; if it doesn’t sell, cut it out. There is a fine balance between telling enough of a story to get the audience’s attention, and including irrelevant details such as what you ate for lunch. The basic rule is that if it overcomes any objections to buying your service or product and builds a picture of trust with the reader, keep it. All the rest can be deleted. Executed well, effective copywriting should instil the reader with the impetus to act.

 

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