So, you’ve decided you want to be a writer. First off, congratulations! Becoming a writer is an incredible experience and, as a career, it offers a number of perks compared to other typical, 9-5 jobs. And because the demand for writers seems to be ever on the rise, there’s plenty of room for you to throw your hat in the arena and build a sizeable income.
Of course, many people asking ‘I want to be a writer, where do I start’ are looking for a list of steps to make it happen. Therefore, here are some priorities you need to consider from the outset…
Decide what sort of writing suits you best
First off, there is no one route to being a successful writer. With so many different topics and types of writing out there, it is easy for you to specialise in whichever route you want to take. For example, what sort of writing most appeals to you? It could be writing fictional novels, copy for websites, or any other manner of writing.
If you choose to opt for the online copywriting route, then you also need to decide on which niche most appeals to you. Such as digital marketing, fashion, travel or anything else you are most passionate about. Once you’ve decided on this, it makes it far easier to build a career. Those looking to hire writers want people with specialist expertise as opposed to being a “Jack Of All Trades”.
Get your writing up to scratch
Next, it’s time to ensure that your writing is good enough for you to charge for it. That’s right, you don’t need to be a great writer to begin with. You don’t need to have gone to university and studied English Literature and you don’t need to have earned any prior writing awards. Sure, there are courses and qualifications you can gain, but they aren’t 100% necessary.
Instead, it’s all about practising and researching. A simple and effective way to do this is to research your chosen niche online and see who currently dominates. Look at how they write, what they write about and what sort of standard they are at. Use that as your benchmark and focus on improving your writing skills until you reach that level.
Develop a portfolio
You don’t need to have written anything at all for an actual client in order to have a portfolio. In fact, most writers just starting out will instead choose to write up some articles for fun and in order to improve their skills. You can then use these to add to your copywriting portfolio.
This portfolio of work is essential in helping you to land your first clients. People won’t just take your word for it that you can write. Instead, they will want to see proof of what you can do. But don’t worry, we’re not going to delve too deeply into portfolios right here as there’s too much to cover. Instead, check out this awesome article here.
Join some support groups
Already, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by what’s being covered here. And that’s OK. It’s the same for everyone looking to become a writer as, truth be told, there is not just one place to start. Instead, you need to get to work learning the ropes as quickly as possible and taking full control of your career. As such, it is highly recommended that you build a support network.
Luckily enough, there are tonnes of writing support groups out there. Each one filled with tons of aspiring writers, just like you. Many will be just starting out, and others will already be well on the road to building up a healthy client list and enjoying the rewards that come from being a freelance writer. Here are some groups to check out right away. Just be sure to keep searching Google, Facebook and Twitter in order to find more that best suit your niche:
Work out where your clients hang out
OK, next on the agenda is to start working out where on earth you are even going to find clients! You could be the best writer in the world, fully specialist in your niche and bursting with enthusiasm. However, if you’re unable to find clients, then everything else is pointless. There are numerous jobs boards out there, including the Twitter Job Board, as well as Copify, the freelance writing agency.
Once again, the list would be far too long if we were to go through and start listing all places to find work. Instead, you should check out this article on where to find freelance writing jobs. It is far more comprehensive and will get you well on the route to success.
The whole point of this article is to cover the fundamental aspects of becoming a writer and knowing where to start. Sure there might be a few more minor steps along the way, but this is a great nutshell overview of where to begin. So, let’s touch quickly on one of the most important tasks that await you … actually pitching to clients! It is important not to start this too early, and equally important not to overthink it and leave it too late.
Using the job boards listed above, you should start discovering roles that suit you well. It’s simply then a case of formulating a nice professional email that acts as a cover letter and which leads the client to your portfolio. Just remember the Golden rule of pitching: never be disheartened! You might get a hundred “no’s” before you get your first “yes”. That is normal. Just hang in there!
Depending on where you are already at as a writer, and what sort of writing you wish to do, there may be more tasks ahead of you. However, if you’ve recently decided you want to become a writer and have no idea where to start, then these 6 steps will certainly get you heading in the right direction. Best of luck and welcome to the incredible world of freelance writing!
Main image credit: bruce mars
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