And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
― Sylvia Plath
If you dream of forging a career as a writer, the most important tip is to get started now! That best-selling novel, inspirational poem or text, or well-researched text doesn’t materialise out of thin air. It takes hard work, lots of dedication and a certain amount of creativity.
Your age, race, gender, native language, location, life experience are immaterial when considering a writing career. It really is down to you and to your innate ability to craft words, sentences, paragraphs into flowing texts that hold the attention of your readers.
There’s a common adage about writing which says “everyone has a book in them”, and although that may be an overstatement, it’s true to say we all have life experiences and stories to recount. Although most people relay these stories orally and don’t make any attempt to write. The growth of the internet and popular use of computers and tablets does mean that many would-be writers now have easy and regular access to publishing tools and software, which eliminates the need to physically write stories and texts.
Yes, you can make a career out of writing, however, whether this is a lucrative career depends very much on your skill as a writer and the route you take into the role.
What skills do I need to be a writer?
Writers – and their works – come in many shapes and forms. You may want to be an author and write books, plays, TV shows or screenplays and in this case, you’ll need an active imagination, heaps of creativity and excellent written skills. Alternatively, you may be driven to write non-fiction works, like books or magazine articles. No matter which area is the most appealing, you will require great communication skills in order to maintain the interest of your readers.
You don’t need formal qualifications to become a writer, other than good writing skills within your target language. The skills you will need include creativity, communication, good literacy, knowledge about the subject, research capabilities and IT or word processing.
If you’ve really always wanted to become a writer, there’s no time like the present. Your age or current lifestyle situation are really no barrier to beginning a writing career. You just need to sit yourself in front of a computer screen and start living your dream now. As the quote from Sylvia Plath shown at the top of this page illustrates, self-doubt is really your only enemy. You could possibly add procrastination to this occupational hazard. As it’s really easy to keep postponing life changes of this nature, as they tend to involve a lot of hard work and a good deal of thinking time.
A useful tip from prolific, US-based author, Jane Yolen, is to:
Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
How to make a career out of writing
As stated, your first step along the path to making your career in writing is to begin exercising your writing muscle on a regular, daily basis. You may not even have made any decision about the type of writer career you wish to follow, so planning your strategy is probably the first writing activity you need to undertake.
You don’t need to be a graduate to hold down a successful writing career, but the regular writing discipline and research skills learnt during degree studies can be helpful.
Planning your career
Putting your writing strategy down on paper is one way to formalise your goals and gives you a concrete guideline to help provide inspiration at times your inner writing muse fails to display herself.
Once you know the direction to take with your writing you will be able to schedule regular creative sessions to reach your objectives.
Becoming a published author has really never been easier, as wide use of the internet and the popularity of self-publishing via sites like Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform means you won’t have to post out manuscripts to agents or book publishers on a regular basis. Or, of course, face the disappointment of returns and rejections.
Freelance content writing
Writing shorter texts for magazines, online websites and e-magazines, or factual marketing posts can be one way to kickstart your writer career and can also provide the regular, bread-and-butter income needed to fund the creation of any major novel. Lots of magazines feature short stories and reader life experience texts and will pay you for these.
Business texts for marketing, websites and social media are always in demand, so signing up with a couple of online writing agencies can be a good way to develop a regular writing habit while earning money from writing at the same time. Very often you just need to complete a short writing test on these sites, and acceptance means you will have regular access to lists of writing assignments. Don’t be too disheartened if you’re rejected by writing agencies at first, though. Developing your writer’s muscle and creativity takes time and regularly writing different types of text helps you make the best career decisions to grow your new writing business.
Find the tools and support to help
Find what drives you. For instance, if you intend to write fiction and want to create your first novel immediately, the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) competition may help you get started. Forum access to other writers undertaking the task of writing an entire novel in the month of November helps provide the inspiration and determination to continue writing on a regular, daily basis.
There are many, many more ways to kickstart a career in writing so continued online research and a determination to succeed will help provide all the essential tools to begin your unique writing business.
If you’re ready to take that bold first step in your writing career, why not sign up to get paid to write with Copify?
Main image credit: Lauren Coleman
Internal image credits: Faby Green, Todoran Bogdan, Startup Stock Photos