So, you want to become a writer? Great choice! But you’re also probably wondering: what do you have to do to become a writer? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’ve recently graduated (congratulations!), want a career change, or simply have a passion for writing, then this is the post for you. The world of writing is a competitive one, but it’s also a rewarding career when you break in.
Keep reading to find out more about what becoming a writer entails and some of the necessary hoops you may need to jump through…
Is a degree needed to become a writer?
Whilst having a degree is brilliant and can benefit you in lots of areas in your life, for becoming a writer, it’s not an essential requirement.
If you do have a degree, then you’re likely to have lots of writing experience and this could set you apart from the sea of other writers looking for jobs. However, having a degree doesn’t mean you’re ready to turn pro. After all, copywriting and academic writing are two very different animals. Being paid to write comes down to experience, and if another writer without a degree has more experience writing for the market than you, then they’ll come out on top.
Most employers will be more concerned about your attitude and experience, rather than your degree, especially if you delve into the world of freelance copywriting. Which leads us to our next point…
You need experience
Experience is your portfolio in the world of writing. The more you have, the stronger your position. Writing experience is essential and crucial if you want to become a writer, and if you want to succeed with it.
If you don’t have lots of experience, don’t worry. There are many ways to gain writing experience. Some tips include…
Starting your own blog: Pick a topic or topics that you are passionate about and blog about them. It can essentially become a mini online portfolio and will give employers an indication of your writing style and versatility.
Guest blog: If running your own blog isn’t for you, then you can guest blog for other websites. There are lots of ways to find guest blogging opportunities, but a simple Google search is a great place to start. If you’re good, you may even get a regular spot which could turn into a paid blogging opportunity!
Guest blogging also gives you the chance to gain references and someone who can vouch for your fantastic writing skills.
Create your own opportunities: You can create your own sample posts on a variety of topics and use them as a portfolio. Choose topics you’re interested in and write compelling articles, or you could practice product reviews, taglines, and much more.
There is always the opportunity to write, you simply need to create it. This also indicates to employers you have drive and passion to succeed.
Try copywriting: A great and effective way to gain experience in a variety of topics is to join a content writing platform such as Copify. Not only will you gain experience, but you will get paid too. There is even the opportunity to work your way up to Pro status once you become a professional writer in your own right!
Create a portfolio
After you’ve gained a multitude of writing experience, it’s time to create a portfolio. You can create either an online or offline portfolio.
An offline portfolio will consist of sample pieces that you may choose to submit to your LinkedIn profile, or email potential clients when they request sample work.
Or, you can stand out from the crowd and create an online portfolio. Thanks to sites like WordPress and Wix, it’s never been easier to create a free website, and it’s the perfect place to set up your online portfolio.
You can arrange your online portfolio into different sections. Consider: a section introducing yourself and a list of publications you’ve written for (websites/blogs count too!), a section showcasing your favourite pieces in various topics, and a “rates” page, outlining your per-word prices. You should also provide an email address and contact number for potential clients to get in touch with too.
When you’re considering what do you have to do to become a writer, one of the things you should factor in is cultivating a unique selling proposition (or USP). Writing is a competitive profession, so if there is anything you can do to stand out from the competition and attract new clients, then do it.
A great way to achieve this is to offer introductory rates, such as a reduced per-pence writing rate for your first few articles, a free first article for the client to judge your work, or a reduced rate for bulk orders. Clients are more likely to choose your writing skills if you offer them a combination of high-quality work and a discount. Remember, when one client likes you, they have the potential to recommend you to another which only brings you more work and helps to build your reputation as a fantastic writer!
To safeguard yourself, ensure you stipulate what the regular price will be once your introductory offer ends, otherwise you could get locked into providing discounted work all the time.
Don’t give up
The main thing that you have to do to become a writer is to not give up. Perseverance is key. Finding work, experience, and clients can be a challenge, but only the determined succeed. If you give up at the first hurdle, then you won’t get everything you desire from writing.
Remember that writing is a versatile career in itself too. If you find that you don’t want to work in-house, then you can go freelance and be your own boss, and vice versa. Find a writing style and job that suits you and your passion.
Whether it’s finding clients to support a freelance writing business or applying for that office-based position, once you do get the ball rolling you will be on your way to a fulfilling career as a writer.