If you’re the type of person that always notices spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors in correspondence, work emails and magazines or books, then it’s quite possible you’re already halfway towards a writing career.
There are lots of opportunities for writers in our modern, digital world. These openings range from writing blogs and website content to self-publishing your own novel or creative work.
But before we delve into how to become a writer, let’s take a look at the career landscape…
What sort of writer jobs are there?
There are literally hundreds of different types of writing roles on the market, which could involve working on a self-employed basis, freelancing or working as an employee.
Writer roles include authors, playwrights and film screenwriters, journalists and magazine feature writers, and marketing content writers.
Most writers work on a freelance basis, and here in the UK, 56% of writers are self-employed and tend to work from home.
The day-to-day responsibilities of a modern freelance writer may well encompass a number of different activities, for example:
- Writing persuasive copy for product descriptions
- Creating content for websites or company blogs
- Writing articles, press releases or news stories
- Penning features for magazines
- Researching stories, products, companies and relevant keyword strategies
How does one become a writer?
It’s not always essential to have a degree to launch a career in writing, but some sort of English qualification will be needed. You need to demonstrate the ability to write well in the English language and should excel in essential grammar skills.
As such, one of the first steps towards becoming a writer is checking your writing ability and your understanding of written and spoken English. There are lots of free online tests, quizzes and learning modules to help you check your understanding of written English and improve your skills if needed.
When you feel your written English is at an acceptable level to become a professional writer, you could start looking around for suitable job openings. It’s not true that every aspiring writer wants to be a novelist or poet laureate; in fact, many professional writers craft the blog posts, web content and social media posts we all consume on a daily basis. This makes it a lot easier to source paid writer jobs, whether you write as a full-time occupation or in your own time at weekends and in the evenings.
What’s the secret to becoming a writer?
Though it may feel like an elusive industry, there really isn’t any secret to launching a writing career. When you decide you want to become a writer, you just need to focus on writing on a regular basis. This means setting aside scheduled times to work on your craft and build your skills, ideally on a daily basis.
When you feel your writing is at a high enough level, you can begin applying for professional roles and looking around for freelance opportunities. You’ll find a wide range of writing opportunities on job sites and many online sites advertise writer vacancies on a regular basis.
Of course, if you do have a degree, you will be able to prove your worth to employers straight away. Good degrees in English, creative writing, journalism, media, history and marketing are all valuable subjects which evidence you have the ability to write and research at a high level.
I want to write a novel
If you want to launch a fiction writing career and plan to write your first novel, planning your time and working regularly is essential. It’s not impossible to become a writer and write your first novel, but it takes a lot of creativity and imagination.
The option to self-publish creative works online on sites like Amazon is making it far easier to launch a writing career and avoids the disheartening publisher rejections that can be so upsetting to receive. Ultimately, if the reading public around the world wants to read your self-published novel on Amazon Kindle, then you will be a resounding success. After all, the blockbuster novel and movie 50 Shades of Grey was initially self-published by unknown author E L James.
6 tips for success as a novice writer
1. Most writers are avid readers. This is particularly the case for novelists who like to have a handle on competitor authors and trends in popular fiction.
2. The author voice you develop will be a subconscious representation of the sum total of works you’ve read, so it really is important to read and absorb anything and everything.
3. Keep learning about language, sentence structure and grammar as it’s important to achieve mastery in English and develop an extensive vocabulary. Use an online thesaurus, spell checker and grammar checker whenever needed, to ensure your texts are polished.
4. Keep writing consistently. Every writer suffers from writer’s block at some point in their career, so it’s important to develop strategies for overcoming this. Just take each piece of text one sentence at a time, until inspiration finally strikes and your work starts to flow. The more you practise, the easier it actually becomes.
5. If you find it difficult to write for long periods of time, break your writing day into small chunks of 15 to 30 minutes at a time. You can increase the length of these sessions as you become more experienced.
6. If you’re writing novels or longer texts, like eBooks, take time to plot out your storyline. Writing a cohesive text that hangs together means planning out details and mapping the story in advance.
Your studies and online research into becoming a writer may provide a variety of leads to help you launch your new career. One of the great beauties of writing as a freelancer is having the ability to work at times that suit you, and in the most appropriate locations. You may have always wanted to live and work in Asia, Africa or South America, and building a successful writing career offers you the opportunity to do just that. Just so long as you have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection, the world is truly your oyster when you write for a living.
It’s easy to become a writer with Copify – just follow the steps on our website. Or get more advice on honing your skills on our blog.