How to start a writing career

How to start a writing career

Writing is a hobby for many, but it’s also a lucrative skill. Despite — or perhaps because of — technological growth, writing as a form of human connection is more valued than ever. Chron notes that great writing skills improve communication and save time, which is why this skill is so important within many industries.

It’s therefore no wonder that the demand for skilled writers is high. Writing’s role in influencing everything from what we buy to who we vote for proves that this skill can inspire lasting change. Indeed, a writing career can be extremely fulfilling on a personal and professional level, especially if you are writing for yourself.

The beauty of a writing career is that it’s never too late to start (Millard Kaufman published his first novel at 90). While we don’t suggest you wait that long, below are a few key pointers to starting your writing career later in life.

Take Classes

Going back to school for an English course is a great option, as it will teach you the fundamentals of your new career as well as how to get published. English and creative writing programs are taught by educators that have been published in multiple fields. Case in point: Dr. Jessica Bowers of the Maryville University English degree program has won the 2014 Midwest Short Fiction Prize and the 2016 Winter Anthology Prize. Even if you’re comfortable with your current writing skills, teachers like Dr. Bowers can give you valuable insight into the publishing from their own experience. It’s also one of the best ways to meet likeminded people to encourage you.

Join Writer’s Groups

As with any career, you’ll need to network to land job opportunities. Put yourself in contact with fellow writers to help you feel less alone during the creative process. Getting to know fellow writers can not only help refine your creative process, but can also help you navigate the ins and outs of the job market.

Market Your Writing

One of the best ways to start your career is to just start pitching! Send a few articles to local publications to start building a name for yourself. Writer Ann Friedman recommends doing your research to find the publication that best suits your writing style. From there, make sure your pitches tell a compelling story.

Consider Diverse Writing Opportunities

Of course, publishing articles and novels isn’t the only career path that’s available to you. As mentioned in the beginning, lots of industries would benefit from your writing expertise. Writing press releases for PR companies, improving communications at a tech or finance firm, and even working as a social media specialist are other avenues that you can take.

Keep writing

This last tip should go without saying, but it’s so important to remember. Our previous post on 50 Things to Inspire Writers underscores how crucial it is to keep writing every day. Writing is a skill you have to master, and you can only master it through lots of time and practice.

Starting a writing career later in life may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. These tips and tricks can help you start your new venture off on the right foot!

How to start a writing career

If you’re passionate about the written word—or rather, crafting it—a writing position might be the job for you. Writers work in various industries and in varying capacities. While some might write literary fiction, others might write articles for their local newspaper or write television and movie scripts. Because of the substantial variety of specialties it encompasses, writing is a great field for creative individuals who want to turn their hobby into a career.

In this article, we explain what exactly a professional writer does and outline the steps to become one, plus provide examples of common writing jobs and career outlook.

What do writers do?

Writers are professionals who produce various forms of written or literary content, such as novels, articles and poetry. They string together words in their audience's language and often tell a story of some sort.

To create a piece, many writers spend time researching and editing their work until they feel it’s complete. Writing is a diverse and creative field tailored to those who enjoy expressing themselves using the written word. Writers seek to entertain and educate their audiences.

How to become a writer

Although you could say that to become a writer you just need to write, there are several steps you should consider if you want to effectively pursue this career path and its specific roles. For example, if you want to become a screenwriter or work in academia, you might need a degree that reflects your expertise in those particular areas.

Here are seven steps to follow if you want to become a writer:

Consider the type of writing you're interested in

Seek higher education

Keep a blog or journal

Share your work

1. Find inspiration

To become a successful writer, you must have a steady flow of inspiration—especially if you want to be a creative writer. Your writing should come from what you are most passionate about. The more inspired you are, the more people will enjoy reading what you write. Spending more time outdoors or doing a hobby you enjoy could provide you with the inspiration you need to start your writing career.

2. Consider the type of writing you're interested in

Because writing is such a broad industry, it’s important to narrow down what exactly you want to write. As a writer, you could write novels, news articles, blog posts, children's books, grants and more. Once you know exactly what you'd like to write, you’ll be able to better focus on honing skills in that specific subcategory.

3. Read more

If your goal is to become a good writer, you should also be a good reader. To understand what you want to write, it’s important to consider what you like or don’t like reading. In other words, take note of what genres or styles you're drawn to. Consider spending more time reading to sharpen your cognitive thinking skills, as well.

By reading as much as possible, you’ll begin to subconsciously include new concepts or writing tactics you've absorbed into your own writing. The more you read, the better your own writing will get and the more distinct your voice will become. Visit your local library or bookstore, or ask your family and friends for book recommendations if you want to go outside your reading comfort zone.

4. Seek higher education

Depending on the writing position you're targeting, you might consider pursuing a college degree. Many writers have bachelor's degrees in English or journalism. If you're hoping to become a content writer or novelist, consider majoring in English, which will provide you with the fundamentals you need to teach other writers or even create the next literary classic.

If you're interested in becoming a reporter or public relations specialist, a journalism degree will teach you a wide variety of journalism skills, such as how to investigate, research and report. Be sure to select a degree that correlates well with the writing career path you want to pursue.

Writers produce creative work, including novels, children's books, scripts, poetry and travel and technical writing.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become

How to become a writer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training or self-teaching

University

You’ll need a high level of writing skill and talent. To develop these skills, you could get a qualification like a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • creative writing
  • communication and media
  • English language or literature
  • creative and professional writing
  • journalism

You could also do a postgraduate writing course to get into this career.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information

Volunteering

You can do several things to develop your writing skills and learn more about the world of publishing. These include:

  • joining a local writers’ group
  • entering writing competitions
  • blogging online

Direct Application

You might be able to apply directly for technical writer jobs in industries like engineering or pharmaceuticals, if you’ve got the relevant background and qualifications.

Experience in journalism could also help you to get into travel or broadcast writing.

Other Routes

You could work in TV or radio as a scriptwriter. BBC Writersroom has information, advice and workshops on writing and submitting scripts.

You may be able to publish and sell your work without formal training or qualifications, if you’re exceptionally talented and have taught yourself. A literary agent may be able to help you with this.

More Information

Career tips

  • creative ideas that will sell
  • good research skills
  • the ability to express ideas in a style suited to your intended audience

You’ll also need to have confidence in your writing, be able to accept criticism and remain positive.

You’ll need a portfolio of your work to show to employers and commissioning editors.

Further information

You’ll find more advice about careers in writing through the National Association of Writers’ Groups.

The Poetry Society and Writers & Artists have more details on writing competitions.

Writers & Artists also has industry advice on being a writer and submitting work for publishing or self-publishing. It publishes the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, which has information on literary agents, publishers, newspapers and magazines.

How to start a writing career

By Carol Tice

Each of us found some other way to get our career started. I bring this up because as I read the writer chat forums, it’s difficult to recall that there was ever another bottom rung of the writing-career ladder! But there was. And I think the pre-mill routes are still better ways to quickly establish your career and start earning well.

Even better, the traditional routes to good pay have been enhanced in the past few years by all of the new pay opportunities that have arisen online.

What are the other ways to start a writing career that can get you earning more, faster? Below, I count the ways I earned in my first couple years. Almost all of these paid more than mills from the very first assignment. The hourly rate wasn’t the greatest at first because I had so much to learn and wasn’t efficient, but they very quickly became good earning options on an hourly-rate basis, and led to work that paid very well.

1. Win writing contests. I won two of these early on, and they led immediately to long-term editor relationships and $500 article assignments in major publications. Great visibility, and it starts an “awards won” page for you that impresses prospects.

2. Write for the alternative press. I did this for years, and worked up to writing cover features. Alt papers are a great place to develop as a writer and get paid $50 an article or more off the bat. It can lead to a lot of other great opportunities — I got a full-time reporting job that paid more than $40,000 a year to start from my alt-press clips, and one of my feature stories was optioned for a movie for $20,000. Alt papers have gained reporting cred over the years, as so many highly successful writers such as Elvis Mitchell have started there and spun off to national radio, paper and TV gigs.

3. Write for daily papers. Yes, many have disappeared, and some don’t have freelance budget anymore. But many of the major papers need freelancers more than ever. The pay isn’t great, but I get $300 an article for Seattle Times pieces that aren’t terrifically complicated, which beats $15 an article any day.

4. Write for small, regional papers and magazines. When I first moved to Seattle and needed to find my first local markets, I wrote for Today’s Careers, a free local job paper, for about $200 a story. Easy, interesting work.

4. Write for local nonprofits or small businesses. The first small, startup business I wrote for paid me $750 an article. My second client was a $1 billion-plus global corporation that paid $85 an hour to start and sent me more than $20,000 a year of work for several years running. Moral: It doesn’t take much to get launched in the world of copywriting if you can write clear, compelling content. Walk around your town, hit your Chamber breakfast, approach your favorite nonprofit, and find a business or organization that needs something written. Now you’ve got samples and you can pitch anybody, including the biggest corporations in America. And writing a business profile for the business can lead to writing an article about business for a magazine — the two realms cross over quite easily.

5. Write online content. Businesses across America are waking up to the reality: their Web sites suck and aren’t attracting customers because they are static and dull. They need writers! Study the Web sites of your local business establishments and call the ones that look the worst. Suggest they add bios, case studies, a blog. Despite what you see on Craigslist, all Web content gigs do not pay $5 a page. Demand decent rates, and you’ll get them. And some great samples.

6. Write a couple free samples. You may be surprised to hear me say this, but I’m a big believer in just writing a few sample articles on your own, to create your first clips. I like it because you don’t get confused and think what you’re doing might be a living. You’re clear about moving on quickly to paying gigs. Here’s a great story from this week’s Writer’s Weekly about how this paid off big for one brand-new writer.

7. Take a class. I got into journalism kind of sideways, from songwriting. When I realized I wanted to write reported stories, I went and took some UCLA Extension classes in journalism. While I don’t believe basic writing talent can be taught, you’ll never regret taking the time to study and learn about this field, particularly about reporting technique, article formats and ethical issues. Many writers are coming into the field now without any training, and it limits their options. Getting a bit of education can jump you ahead of the pack.

Just being in the class may help jump-start your career. You may write for a school paper or online site, getting a few clips that can lead quickly to paid assignments. Your professor might refer you if they like your work — editors do call them. The school’s career center could connect you with internship opportunities where you could compile solid clips. Possibly most importantly, you’ll leave with increased confidence in your ability to write for a variety of markets.

Yes, all of these alternative routes I’ve outlined for breaking into freelance writing involve a bit more work. Most involve actively marketing your business. If you love writing quick, easy articles and don’t yearn for more, keep writing for mills and enjoy your life.

But if you’re focused on earning as much as you can right away, explore some of the other paths to earning well. They’ll likely offer you more interesting assignments with more opportunity to grow as a writer, and get you earning more sooner.

This post originally appeared on the WM Freelance Writer’s Connection.

How to start a writing career

My very first freelanced article was published right here at Military Spouse magazine—a place that holds special real estate inside my writer’s heart. Really, freelance writing was where I discovered my love for the written word and my skill in storytelling began to take shape.

I was connected to this publication through another military spouse who had been featured. She added me to a Facebook group of writers, gave me a few pointers on pitching, and wished me luck. Ultimately, her encouragement and intentional actions changed the trajectory of my writing career. Now, I’ve written tons of articles, two manuscripts, and my first book just released this year.

I’m often asked “Where do I start?” Well, I want to share the same encouragement that was given to me so many years ago and a few practical tips to start your journey into freelancing.

Start writing.

I know it sounds oversimplified, but write anywhere and write often. Keep a journal, compose a blog, or beef up your social media captions. Just write. Writing regularly not only keeps you sharp, but it helps you stretch your skill in communicating what you want your readers to know.

Perfect your pitch.

The pitch is really where it’s at. This is the writing craft that allows editors to get a real picture of what kind of communicator you are and how well you share your particular story. A complete pitch has a compelling title, a unique hook, and a well communicated message. It should be perfect—grammatically correct and concise.

Get Selling.

That’s right. Freelancing is selling your work. Research submission guidelines, pitch processes, and start sending in your ideas to different publications. For me, as a Christian writer, a great resource to check out is the Christian Writers Market Guide by Steve Laube. Every year, he releases a guide of publications that are looking for new writers. Find the right resource for your niche!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a little encouragement. When you start any new adventure, there are bound to be obstacles, letdowns, and outright rejections. Pay no heed to these things and focus on your goals. Ultimately, obstacles give you the opportunity for growth. Letdowns will toughen you up. Rejections are just part of the process. Learn to navigate these waters with grace and consistency and you will do just fine. If you feel in your heart that you are called to write, grab your favorite warm beverage and start putting the pen to paper. Who knows, maybe one day you will be reading your own words in a magazine just like this!

Freelance writing might seem intimidating, but it is a career option that provides freedom and flexibility like none other. Here are some tips for you to kickstart and build a successful career as a freelance writer.

Jessica Tan

How to start a writing career

Embarking on your journey as a professional freelance writer may seem daunting. But once you have started on this path, you will find yourself basking in the freedom that the job offers. From choosing what projects you want to tackle to working according to your own schedule, the freelance industry offers liberties that a traditional nine-to-five job does not.

As a new freelance writer, you should be able to adapt to any writing style required of you. The demand for written content ranges from creative pieces to technical texts for instruction manuals. As you delve deeper into your career, you will develop a better understanding of your strengths and interests as a writer, which will allow you to carve out a niche for yourself.

It is also important to sharpen your technical grasp of writing beyond fundamental grammar rules. Learn how to apply the rules in creative ways so that your work remains fresh yet easily digestible for readers.

Finally, remain receptive to and welcoming of feedback from editors and readers. This will help you work on your weak spots and grow your abilities as a holistic writer.

While the above are some general rules you should follow, here are 18 more writing tips from seasoned writers that will help you kickstart a fruitful career in freelance writing.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you

So you want to become a writer but the real question is how to start a writing career with no experience? Here’s how you can do it and find work too.

How to start a writing career

Starting a writing career without any formal education can be daunting. Don’t worry though, this article will show you how to start a writing career with no experience.

Don’t let other people discourage you. No, seriously!

You’ll get “the talk” from some people that you tell about your plan to start a writing career. You know, the one that goes something like this:

Can you type without looking at the keyboard? How fast can you type? You know it’s difficult being a full-time writer. Blah blah blah…

Don’t listen to the naysayers or largely negative messages that you’ll get out there. Don’t believe what others say until you try it yourself.

So with that out of the way, let’s move on.

What You’ll Need to Start a Writing Career

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need any experience to start but you do need the willingness to do and a determination to succeed.

So how do you start learning?

Start by reading some publications from other established writers or people that inspire you. Then you need to take the following steps.

1. Start Writing More

At first, you may find it difficult to write for hours but most things worth doing are. So don’t be discouraged.

At this stage, you may not have any work or contracts and that’s ok. By writing regularly, you’ll begin to develop the skills necessary to become a great writer.

Also, the best thing you can do for yourself is to start a blog!

A blog will help you focus on a niche topic that you enjoy and come in handy for acquiring higher paying clients in the future.

Most importantly, it’ll give you much-needed experience but make sure that you’re open to feedback.

2. Acquire Effective Communication Skills

Communication is important in our personal and work lives. So learn to communicate effectively because you’ll need these skills when dealing with clients.

This article about communicating effectively is a good start: 7 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills.

3. Build Your Reputation

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Warren Buffett

Luckily, it’s not going to take you 20 years but Warren drives the point home.

You need to build a portfolio to start building your reputation. You don’t need to have published pieces but you do need samples.

Going back to step one:

If you’re frequently writing, then you’ll always have an abundance of samples to show potential clients.

4. Keep Up With Current Trends

To keep up with trends, you can subscribe to a few blogs that you enjoy or read current publications on things that interest you.

Many writers focus on a single niche while others can write about practically anything that comes their way. Neither approach is wrong.

It really depends on what you want to do.

5. Learn The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A basic understanding of SEO is an asset to most clients but not absolutely necessary. Some clients will want their articles optimized for search engines, so having this skill can help you win those contracts.

Where to Find Work

It wouldn’t be complete without this!

Here are some great places to find work as a writer.

  • Freelance Websites – Sites like Upwork, Guru and Freelancer are great places to find writing gigs. Clients go to these companies to post available assignments and freelancers apply for the work. The competition can seem fierce but you can win bids if you focus on value or customer needs.
  • Content Mills – Similar to freelance marketplaces, these websites act as the middleman. You’ll definitely find work here but the pay is a little lower. Popular content mill sites include: TextBroker, Great Content and Hire Writers.
  • Job Boards – In most cases, you can find the best paying gigs on job boards like Indeed or Career Builder. Often, these are companies looking for full-time or part-time writers. Also, yearly contracts or more are posted on these sites.
  • Market Yourself – This one can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out. If you don’t have one already, get a website or blog and start marketing yourself. You can use social media, email, video or other strategies to do this. However, make sure that you choose one primary marketing strategy and focus on it.

That’s it! You’re ready to start your writing career and build up experience along the way.

About The Author:

Gabriel Nwatarali is a digital marketer and designer. He works as a consultant for businesses that want to improve their web presence. He is the founder of Tech Help Canada, a design and marketing agency. He currently resides in the beautiful city of Ottawa, ON.

Being a writer has never been easy. You have to be comfortable with harsh critiques, lots of rejections from agents and publishers, and slogging your way through low-paying gigs before you find one that can pay you what you’re worth. But there is always demand for people with strong writing skills, and that might be even more true in the internet age than it was in the old days. Still, the question remains: Is writing a viable career in 2019?

The short answer is yes! You can make writing your career, but it isn’t going to be easy. Here is some information on how to become a working writer, along with a few of the reasons why writing can be a viable career in 2019…if you have the skills, the grit, and the attitude to make it happen.

Freelance Writing Gigs vs. Staff Writing Jobs

There are two main types of professional writer: freelancers and staff writers. Freelancers apply to contract jobs or send pitch letters to editors in an attempt to land a writing gig. When freelancers are journalists pitching news outlets who become ongoing contract writers for those news outlets, they’re sometimes called “stringers.” Staff writers, on the other hand, are employed as permanent staff on the team at a company. That company might be a newspaper or magazine, but marketing departments at all sorts of organizations frequently hire full-time writers as well.

One helpful tip is to write about what you know! If you are passionate about a new industry most people don’t know much about, there is a good chance for you to swoop in and start writing for that industry while there is still less competition for gigs.

There Is Always Demand for Great Writers

Writers who are skilled, versatile, creative, and dependable are genuinely hard to find. So whether it’s writing grant proposals, technical manuals, or copy for marketing campaigns, there’s always work out there for writers in various specialties, and this won’t change in 2019.

Many types of professional writing require some specific expertise or training. However, every industry has demand for writers of some kind. If you can get your foot in the door, or get some experience writing for a certain industry, you can begin to build up a portfolio of work that will get you better-paying clients. You can make this happen even if you don’t have a degree in a special kind of writing (like technical writing or journalism). It just takes time and perseverance.

If freelancing isn’t your thing, you could try to become a staff writer at a news outlet, magazine, or marketing firm. The hitch here is that these require experience and often a degree in a field like writing or communications. So whether you have a degree or not, whether you’d be happy freelancing or not, you need to take time building up your résumé of published work before you should expect to land a permanent job as an in-house writer.

Strike Out on Your Own as a Blogger

If you are passionate and knowledgeable about a certain topic, you could try to make it as a blogger. Blogging requires diligent updates where you are publishing great content on a regular basis. Remember that in almost any imaginable blog category, you will be competing with many other bloggers for visitors. This makes it hard to stand out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

A blogger’s goal is to build a sufficiently large following that you can begin selling ad space on your blog, making money from affiliate product sales, or leveraging your blog’s brand to sell books and other items. Building that level of brand recognition takes a lot of time, effort, and marketing prowess. It won’t happen overnight. However, excellent writing will stand out, and that will attract readers.

What to Expect in Making Writing a Viable Career in 2019

The key to making writing a viable career in 2019 is making sure your expectations are reasonable. At first, you’ll only get offers for low-paying gigs and jobs. Even if you have a college or postgraduate degree, there is no better credential than a strong portfolio of work. This means that you need to make your peace about doing work that you think is beneath you or that you feel you’re overqualified for. As you build your portfolio, higher-paying companies will become more willing to hire you.

Final Thoughts

So is writing a viable career in 2019? In short, yes! But it takes very strong writing skills to stand out among the countless aspiring online writers out there. It also takes a lot of hard work and dependability, along with a humble attitude. You need to have thick skin as well, so practice incorporating helpful criticism, and don’t give up, even after a string of rejections. Stick with it, and you can make it happen. Successful writers are those who never stopped trying.

Whenever I have a new book out, I emerge from the confines of my office, momentarily unlatched from my computer, eyes blurred from months of staring at the screen, ready to meet the world and do book signings.

Now, let’s be honest. What I’m there for is to connect with people who enjoy reading and, I hope, sell some books.

Meanwhile, the reasons for those who attend signings vary. Some folks like to drop in just to say hello and tell me that they enjoy my books. Others stop by to ask questions and bring up different aspects of the cases in my books or inquire about the inspiration for my fictional characters.

While those are the main reasons, at least one person in the audience is an aspiring author, someone who dreams of being published. They go for two reasons. First, they inquire about what it’s really like to write books. Second, they’re hoping for pointers on how to get started, how to make their own dreams come true.

I’d like to stress that I don’t have all the answers. While I’m delighted with the success I have had, I’m still waiting to find my name on the New York Times best-seller list. (Fingers crossed. God, are you listening?) If I knew how to make that happen, I’d be Stephen King (hmm, maybe not?), Patricia Cornwell (a bit dark?), or my friend Ann Rule.

That said, my guess is that if you ask them, they’d admit that they don’t know all the answers either. I’m convinced that a healthy percentage of success in any endeavor is luck, that old being-at-the-right-place-at-the-right-time combo. In the writing world, that translates to picking the right topic, doing a bang-up job on the manuscript, getting it in the hands of the best agent, who sells it to the perfect editor, and then having magic happen, the cosmic coming together of worlds that propels a book to the top of the lists.

Still, most of the people I meet aren’t necessarily dreaming of hitting the big time, at least not initially. They’re more interested in seeing their work in print. What I’d like to do is talk now to those of you out there who want to do what I’ve done, build a career as a writer.

First off, and this is important, you have to need to do it. The successful authors I know didn’t have any other choices. Something in them told them that they have to write, often from a young age. There’s so much rejection in writing, so many projects that fall through, hopes that are dashed, that to do it, you have to love it or it’ll drive you near crazy.

So, that’s concern number one: Are you truly cut out to write for a living? How do you know? Well, in addition to feeling the need to write, are you willing to take rejection, because it’ll be there, be assured. Are you focused enough to pound away at your typewriter even when a blue-sky day beckons you to the garden or the guy next door suggests a Saturday morning golf game? Are you dedicated enough to stay up half the night pounding out that manuscript while the rest of the world sleeps, and strong enough to still make it to your day job?

You have to truly need to write, want to write, because there are always easier, more enjoyable and probably more profitable distractions. (Mine? Scrabble on the Net. Geez, I need to figure out how to delete that game.) The desire to write has to be a part of you, like hankering for pasta and a good glass of red wine, like the instant warmth you feel gazing at a beloved child. It has to be as much a part of you as your eyes, for it will shape how you see the world.

If you’ve said “yes” to those questions, your first task as a would-be writer is to read — not just anything, but good books in your chosen genre. And read about writing. My favorite book on writing and life is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Some of the chapters still make me laugh, like the one titled “Shitty First Drafts.”

So, what’s it like being a writer? The scene I opened this post with is the one most folks have of the writing life, authors holed in their offices, feverishly working on a project.

It’s actually kind of like that when you write fiction. You have to be willing to segregate yourself from the world for months at a time, letting your imagination take over and propelling you through a fantasy land populated by your fictional characters. In truth, I actually enjoy this part.

When the writing is going well, it’s as if the characters take over, moving the book along. I’ve had some pop up when I didn’t expect them. The first time it happened, I was shocked. Now I welcome them in, often suggesting they take over the project and tell my story for me.

Non-fiction is quite a bit different. For months before I sit down to write a true crime book, I’m researching, attending trials, interviewing sources. Then there’s the monumental task of organizing all my files, one I dread. Yet it’s important. When I finally do sit down to write, it’s all worth it; I have a wealth of information at my fingertips.

Since I work out of a home office, I wear blinders and walk past the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, around the pile of clothes waiting to be washed on the laundry-room floor, to get to my spare-bedroom-turned office. It’s easy to get waylaid and find at the end of the day that I’ve accomplished nothing.

One popular question involves my schedule. I write best in the afternoons. I have no idea why. Maybe there’s some truth to that biorhythm theory? For other writers, it’s different. I know some who write through the night and others who get up early to work, before daybreak. But for me, my work flows better after lunch. Once started, if not interrupted, I’ll work until 10 or 11 at night with only the occasional stretch and restroom break.

Next, is that all important question: How to get published.

Well, that’s tricky, it’s true. I’d suggest starting smaller than a book. If you’re interested in non-fiction, try writing for magazines or newspapers, a blog on the Internet, and get some clips in your portfolio. This will give you the opportunity to do some networking, including meeting editors who can recommend you to agents, if they deem your work worthy. If you write fiction, why not enter a short story contest? If you win, you’ll have a published piece to mention in cover letters to agents.

What about writers’ groups? They’re great, but they can also be a trap. Some writers I know end up working on the same short story or book for years, refining it over and over, never feeling as if it’s completed because folks in their writers group are still nitpicking. My advice is to take criticism in context, make changes until you’re happy with the piece, and then consider it finished.

As I mentioned above, there’s that old bugaboo: rejection. Along with loving to write, to be published requires courage. At a certain point, a writer who wants to become an author needs to suck it up, slip the manuscript into an envelope, address and stamp it, and mail it to an editor or agent. That’s scary, because once it’s in the mail, it’s out in the world, and the likelihood is that the return mail won’t bring the preferred response, at least not with the first or second attempt. Maybe it’ll even take longer.

As in any field, those who succeed persevere. Perhaps the most important trait for any writer is die-hard determination. Hang in there and all things are possible.

How to start a writing career

Writing is something you are passionate about. You know there are people who call themselves “writers”, and now you’ve decided you want to join them. Where do you start?

First, like any career, you have to take it seriously. Maybe you have always enjoyed writing, have consistently kept a journal, or used to write really creative stories, poems, etc. when you were a child. No matter what your background is, if you are serious and have the drive, of course, you can make earning money from writing possible.

How to start a writing career

Look Around You

If you haven’t got your heart set on a certain writing career already, such as a novel writer, a blogger, or a textbook writer, start looking around you. You will soon find that all types of writing jobs and markets exist, many of which you have probably never considered. There are words everywhere, and somebody had to have written them. Restaurant histories on menus, product descriptions online, email promotions, the possibilities are endless. All you have to do is find the right fit or even a few right fits.

Baby Steps

Even if you’re dying to get out of your current full-time job, don’t just get up and quit without having an established income from your writing. This will mean essentially working two jobs at once, but it the end it’ll be worth it.

Start small. One of the best ways to start a writing career is to start online or in print with smaller articles, and then build up to submitting pitches for longer articles and features at better-known publications. Use whatever you can to get your foot in the door to be selected to write a piece. Have insider knowledge? Have a blog? Don’t be afraid to really promote what experience you have, no matter how little.

How to start a writing career

Assessing and Improving Your Skills

What are you good at and how can it help you to launch a writing career? Are you a people person? You can network and market yourself easily. Are you good at time-management? It will be easier for you to go the freelance route where you can set your own schedule. Can you tell a good story? Hopefully, this is a yes for everyone reading this post, but if you are really creative, then tackling all those plot twists shouldn’t be a problem!

With many careers, there is time set aside for workshops, lectures, meetings, etc. for employees to better themselves. This is more commonly known as professional development and there are many different ways of getting it. You can take a class at your local college. You can join a writing group where you look at others’ work and they look at yours. There are plenty of resources online for improving certain aspects of writing skills, some of which are free.

And, of course, you know what they say: Practice makes perfect. Write every day and it will come even more natural than it already is.

Accept That It Takes Time

Becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a time to build your reputation, build relationships with clients and editors, and to hone your skills. You will get rejected. Many times.

How to start a writing career

A possible exception of this is if you get hired for a full-time position for a company looking for a writer, copywriter, editor, etc. There are these jobs available of course, but as mentioned earlier, the key is to really sell yourself and any work you have done. Always send samples of your work, even if they aren’t published samples.

Hand in hand with acceptance is persistence. Get inspired by reading some success stories of other writers because many of them started where you are now and it took them many months of hard work to get where they are today. Every person who can call themselves a writer became one through different means and a different path. Yours will emerge with patience, thick skin, and the will to keep submitting ideas to publishers, or to keep writing that next chapter in your book.

Lucy Adams is one of the outstanding professional essay writers for hire at buzzessay.com. She’s an open-minded author and always ready to cover an interesting topic just for you! So please don’t wait any longer – share the ideas you have in mind and start a mutually beneficial cooperation with the blogger.

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