These days everyone’s a writer. Ever heard that expression? Well, it’s not far off. The internet has opened up vast new vistas for those with a good grasp of language and a genuine flair for writing engaging content.
Perhaps you are considering what to do to become a writer, or maybe you already write but would like to take your ability to the next level? We have compiled a useful guide to help you navigate your way through this new and exciting writing experience.
Here are eight things you need to do to become a writer:
1. Train up
It is not usually necessary to have any formal or academic qualifications to become a writer. That said, it is a good idea for you to assess your writing skills and knowledge base to decide whether there are any gaps in your knowledge or other weaknesses that you could address by pursuing a course or simply taking a bit of time to research.
There are many free ways to improve your content writing skills, as well as a host of online copywriting training courses to choose from. There are also short courses like those offered at the Short Courses Portal, which can provide you with long-term rewards.
2. Read a lot
Many great writers are also great readers. Stephen King famously said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Kaleigh Moore agrees. Reading, for Kaleigh, is a writer’s apprenticeship and goes hand in hand with writing.
Reading helps you become a writer because the more you read the more you learn about different styles of writing and different genres. It is also a valuable way of getting inspiration for your own writing.
3. Write a lot
Writing has the potential to open up a whole new world of excitement and fun. But one thing new or aspiring writers may not initially realise is that ideas and inspiration do not always flow automatically. You may have one or two ideas to write about when starting out, but in order to be a writer, you really do need to write constantly.
It is good practice to commit to writing daily. As Elna Cain points out, writing is exercise for your mind, and you improve your writing when you write daily.
So if you aspire to write a book, you could commit to writing a minimum number of words per day. Similarly, with writing for blogs and periodicals, it is a good idea to maintain a consistent schedule of writing and publishing articles.
4. Master the art of communication
Without a doubt, mastery at communicating is one main factor that separates skilled writers from the rest of the pack. We have blogged previously about the benefits of expanding your vocabulary as a writer and how choosing the right words can do wonderful things.
Master the art of communication by reading and writing extensively, aim to be succinct and avoid waffling on unnecessarily, avoid complex words and sentences where simple ones will do.
Structure is also key to communication, particularly for non-fiction like technical, academic, medical and white paper writing. Using relevant headings, subheadings and bullet points creates a logical flow to documents and makes it easier for readers to understand the content.
5. Seek out feedback and receive criticism positively
If you are able to edit your work and do so properly without emotion, you are one of a select few. It is easy to feel emotionally connected to a piece of work you have spent time working on and grown to love, which makes it challenging for writers to edit their own work.
One useful tip is to seek out feedback and take criticism positively. When it comes to writing, feedback and criticism should be seen as friends not foe.
Where possible, you should aim to ask a friend or professional editor to cast an eye over your work. Your editor will view your work from a more objective angle than you would and can help you spot errors, spelling mistakes and other flaws that you may not have identified. You can also learn from other writers and editors during the feedback process.
6. Get paid to write
If you are thinking of making a living from writing, then an obvious thing to do will be to get paid work. The opportunities for paid writing work are endless, though as a general categorisation you could decide to either work as a freelance writer or an employee, employed and working directly for one company.
As a freelance writer, you could start writing quite quickly by approaching writing agencies like Copify, whose online platform provides access to a vast amount of writing jobs on a daily basis. There are also options out there which involve pitching your services directly to clients and responding to ads placed on jobs boards.
Working as an employed writer may be suitable if you would like some security of income, regular hours and other employee benefits which you might not get as a self-employed freelance writer.
7. Be resolute and determined
Writing can be intensely competitive and some sectors might be so niche and specialised that it is difficult to get any writing work without technical experience. It is quite normal for your job applications or pitches to be rejected and for you to not receive even an acknowledgement. Determination, Whitney Carter says, will help you keep submitting even in the face of rejection.
If you find yourself in this situation, always remind yourself of what motivates you and aim to remain resolute and determined to succeed. Are you motivated by your passion to write, by the freedom a freelance writing career might offer you, by money? Whatever challenge you might experience as a writer, your motivations will spur you on and help you achieve a positive outcome in the end.
8. Develop your network
There are many reasons why having a network is a key part of becoming a successful writer. Staying connected to people is a good way to ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation, which writers experience at some stage. A network is also a good resource to tap into for inspiration, ideas or business referrals.
Neil Patel says that bloggers, in particular, need to proactively develop their network whereas “Bloggers who simply keep to themselves usually don’t achieve the same goals as those who partner with other bloggers”.
If you are ready to take on a new challenge, why not take your first step by getting paid to write with Copify? Check out our guide on how to become a copywriter and sign up today.