Writing is the most fickle of professions. A vocation more than a simple career, the love of it incites in most professional writers a desire to do it day in and day out, with the ability to make a living from it simply the icing on the cake.
Yet it is not always the best-paid employment. Because most of the people who choose to write enjoy it so much, they often accept low wages as an inevitability, but they needn’t do so. Yes, success cannot be defined by a healthy income alone, but once you have trained and built up a strong portfolio, it’s fair to expect pay that reflects the talent and time devoted to producing interesting and engaging copy.
The trick is to remember this: not everyone has the aptitude nor the ability to do what you do. If you are so blessed, you deserve the success that would come with such a degree of skill were you to be employed in any other sphere.
That’s why we’ve written this article. Intended to teach you not just how to be a professional writer who earns a good wage, but also one who has the ability to drum up business and make your mark in your chosen profession, we hope you find it helpful…
1. Practice makes perfect
The trick to being a good writer is the same as the trick to being good at anything else: the more you do it, the better you will become. Although most professionals have a natural aptitude for the written word, there is always room for improvement, and you’ll find that the more you write, and the more you read and revise what you produce, the better your content will be.
This rule applies to all types of writing, whether it’s produced for private enjoyment or professional purposes. Every client you create copy for is helping you to gain experience, and every evening you spend writing poetry or adding to your own blog is time that you’re investing in your career development, whether or not you realise it.
Write at every opportunity, and the improvement you see in your work – and your client’s reaction to it – will be proof that you’re undoubtedly embarking on the path to success.
2. Read as much as you can as often as you can
Whether you’re set on producing website copy for a living or are an aspiring novelist with big dreams, the steps you take on your journey to turning your passion into a profession will be the same. You would surely agree, then, that one person who knows what it takes to be a successful professional writer is the master of horror himself, Stephen King, so take this advice from him: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Read often, read widely, and pick up whatever you can from those who truly are the best of the best.
3. Market yourself
So far, we’ve covered the ways you can improve your skill set to help you secure professional success, but no matter how good you are at what you do, you’re not going to make a living from your work unless people will pay you for it, and they can’t pay you for it if they don’t know that you exist. This is why marketing is key.
No matter whether you’re the next big novelist or a copywriter who wants to increase your monthly income, you need to be using social media platforms and your professional website (make sure you have one of these) to get your name out there and show exactly what you can do.
As with marketing, networking is a prerequisite for success in any profession. As you gain clients, you will naturally gain contacts, and if they are happy with your work, there is no harm in making it known to them that you are always eager to take on new projects if they know of anyone who is looking for the services you can provide.
In the same way, professionals that you have once collaborated with can have it made known to them that you would be willing to do so again in the future; this way, both you and another could potentially bring in mutually beneficial business, to the advantage of both parties.
5. Share your insights and show what you can do
One fantastic way to show off your skills as a writer is to blog, and this is a useful means of gaining increased exposure. No matter what you write about in your professional life, use your private space as an opportunity to explore a topic that really interests you, as this is likely to significantly enhance not only the authority of the content you produce but also its quality.
In the same vein, be sure to include previous examples of work from your portfolio on your professional website, so that interested parties can see exactly what you’re capable of when they’re considering contracting you.
6. Invest in yourself and your business
Writing, like any other skill, can be improved upon, and as a professional, the better you are able to write, the more success you will enjoy. That’s why we would suggest investing some of your profits in improving your abilities.
There are lots of fantastically useful writing courses around to help you with this, which can be not only educational and informative but also incredibly interesting for those with a passion for the written word. Similarly, courses to help you improve your business nous are always a good idea.
7. Broaden your skill set
We mentioned above building on your skills through improving upon your natural aptitude, and we also recommend developing new talents that complement those you already possess. If you’re a copywriter, for example, you may find that adding the ability to produce basic leaflet designs or simple HTML to your skill set increases the number of clients who are interested in the services that you offer, as many smaller businesses want all parts of their project to be managed by one individual, rather than contracting you to complete their copy and someone else to do the rest.
Give our top tips a go today to enjoy the professional success you’ve always dreamed of!