We hear this question asked so often “I want to be a writer. How do I start?” Do you know you can convert your dreams and aspirations of becoming a writer into reality much quicker than you think? Especially when you consider the endless opportunities self-publishing (of ebooks for example) has created advances in ecommerce that have increased demand for writers in a wide range of sectors.
As with most things, one main challenge is usually deciding how to make that first move and where to start from. As UK based freelance writer Matthew Woodward states, starting out as a writer can be confusing because “You have no idea what steps you should take, how you should be spending your time, or if you’re even doing the right thing.” But all you need to get your writing moving is, in Matthew’s words, “to know the right steps to take, at the right time…”
We have put together five top tips to help you become a writer and, most importantly, to succeed at writing.
1. Identify what interests you
Before you launch out into writing, the first thing you really need to do is be clear on what type of writer you want to be. This has to do with identifying what interests you and getting an idea of what mediums would be best suited to your style of writing, your audience and message.
Without a clear idea of your interests, you could end up distracted by so many writing options and pursing areas you are not particularly strong in. You could also limit your creativity and enthusiasm for writing if you end up writing in areas you have little or no interest in.
Are you interested in writing fiction or non-fiction? Would you like to write books, film scripts, academic text, poetry? What sorts of topics would you like to write about? Fashion, travel, health, to name a few examples.
You don’t have to hold any particular qualifications to write on topics of interest or be any sort of accomplished expert. All you need is a passion for your subject, the ability to research that area and, of course, write about it.
2. Develop your writing skills
No matter what type of writer you aspire to be, there are some fundamental skills common to successful writers that you should aim to develop. As a minimum, the ability to communicate clearly and use proper grammar and tone suited to your audience.
It is important to develop your own voice as a writer. Your voice refers to the way you communicate and express yourself in writing. By developing your voice, you place yourself in a good position to engage your audience, which is something you really can not afford to lack if you would like to write for blogs, for example, or fiction.
Writing has become a career for many people. If you are thinking of writing professionally and succeeding at it, it is a good idea to approach every writing task with high standards of professionalism.
This means that in addition to knowing how to write, you also need to be able to meet deadlines, be reliable, organised, stay focused and avoid distractions, network with clients and other writers, and continuously research new ideas or creative ways of communicating existing themes.
3. Get these three basic tools
Writing tools are a necessity and, thankfully, you do not need to have a lot of tools or invest in expensive items. Here are three basic items you would need to make a start:
• Word processor and plagiarism checker: While you could easily put pen to paper and start writing, it will be close to impossible to write effectively without a word processor. Especially as most writing platforms or agencies now operate digitally. Word packages and plagiarism checkers can be purchased quite inexpensively, you could also find a number of free packages by searching online.
• Communication tools: You will need to stay well connected with an email address, telephone number, and a reliable internet connection at the very least.
• Accounting tools: You should aim to have a method for recording fees due from clients, for processing invoices and receiving payments. It is usually handy to have a PayPal account dedicated to your writing income.
4. Just write
This is an obvious one, but after the initial planning and research, you need to just get on and write. Sometimes when starting out as a writer it can be tempting to spend so much time researching and planning that you don’t actually progress to do any writing.
Also, much time can be spent trying to get the plot or words down perfectly at first attempt and getting frustrated when the writing doesn’t seem to turn out as you had planned. If you find yourself in this situation, you should rest assured that many writers have felt this way.
French novelist Gustavo Flaubert once stated “I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
One way to deal with this is to write as freely as you can initially and then edit your draft to perfection. As US writer William Faulkner put it “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
It is a great idea to commit to a daily writing schedule and try to write as much as you can on a daily basis. That way, you build momentum and also build your confidence and writing abilities the more writing you do.
5. Get your work published
It has never been much easier than now for writers to get their work published. You can start writing immediately with Copify, one of the largest online content management agencies, and have your work published worldwide. All you need to do is pass a brief online writing assessment to gain access to a wide variety of briefs which are placed on the writers’ portal on a daily basis. You can start writing articles for blogs on exciting topics like cryptocurrency, fashion, fitness and travel to name a few.
Self-publishing has also really taken off with the advent of ebooks and tablets which are changing the way people consume and purchase information. The beauty of writing an ebook is that you are not limited to the protocols of traditional publishers which means you can start writing immediately and get published sooner than you think.
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