Do you love to write in your spare time?
Turning your hobby into a lucrative career can be a rewarding experience. And being paid to do something you love is the perfect way to help make work feel like play. However, it is necessary to have a strong understanding of grammar and different writing styles to do this job. Many people find it difficult to motivate themselves and stay focused long enough for the cash to flow.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at how to become a writer and what this career that is so close to my heart actually involves.
- The Different Types Of Writers
- How To Become A Writer?
- Grow Your Writing Brand
- Find Paid Writing Opportunities
- Submit Your Writing
- Let’s Talk About Journalism!
- Final Thoughts
The Different Types Of Writers
Before you embark on your career path, you need to work out what type of writer you want to be. Different types of writing require different sets of skills, and some may require specific qualifications and experience. Let’s take a look at the main types of professional writers and what each one involves.
This career involves writing news stories about current events. In addition to writing, you will need to have strong research and interviewing skills. While most journalists work for newspapers, you could also work for a radio station or television news channel.
If you have a strong voice and point of view, you could write and publish short essays on different topics. These essays are known as columns and usually appear in newspapers, magazines, and on websites. The key to success is choosing topics within a specific area that will remain relevant for a long time.
This career allows you to combine your passion for writing with travel or entertainment. You need to have a lot of knowledge about the element you write about and be able to present it clearly. You need to establish yourself as an expert in the field, and someone people want to learn from.
This role involves creating advertising and promotional content as well as product descriptions and other related content. The purpose of this type of writing is to inspire readers to take action, usually by purchasing a product.
There are several specializations within this field, like SEO copywriting, email copywriting, brand copywriting, and marketing copywriting. Copywriters can work full-time for a particular client or take on different clients in a freelance capacity.
There are hundreds of thousands of websites out there, and each one of them needs content. This content comes in the form of articles that are added regularly to attract people to the website. This can include informational articles, text on infographics, and how-to guides. Copywriters either work freelance or in-house and can specialize in a whole host of different subjects.
If you have deep knowledge about different types of tech equipment, this type of writing could be for you. Technical writers are generally responsible for presenting complicated information in a clear way that everyone can understand.
This includes writing reviews of the latest apps and other types of technology, creating instruction manuals, and explaining how systems work. It is essential to be able to write with accuracy and with attention to detail.
This role is also known as a proposal writer and involves researching, writing, and submitting grant requests. If you choose this role, you will be working for organizations and individuals who are seeking funding. This role usually involves researching different grants and working out if they are the right match for the organization.
If you have a writing talent but aren’t ready to publish your own work, this is a good place to start. Ghostwriters usually work closely with businesspeople and celebrities to create their stories. The name of the person usually goes on the cover of the book instead of your name. This is a good way to find out about the publishing world and gain a little experience.
This is the role that most people imagine when they hear the word writer. Authors spend their time creating their novels or works of non-fiction. However, this is only the first step of becoming an author. After writing a book, it is also important to find a way to get it published. Some of the ways of getting published include:
- Working directly for a publisher.
- Hiring an agent.
- Self-publishing your work.
Being an author can be a rewarding career for people who enjoy working alone. However, it can be difficult to find an audience and sell enough books to pay the bills. Successful authors also need to be prepared to go on book tours, attend book readings and signings, and give interviews. While all of these activities can help promote your work, they also eat into your valuable writing time.
If you have a love for music, writing the lyrics for songs could be a rewarding and lucrative career. You need to have a good understanding of music theory to create the structure of songs. You also need to understand the elements that help to make a song a hit.
If you play an instrument, you can create a YouTube or Spotify channel and upload your music. Teaming up with a musician or band can help your work find an audience and become recognized.
Writing poetry can be a great way to get into contact with your emotions and express them. While it is difficult to make money as a full-time poet, this can be a great hobby that hones your skills. There are also a few commercial opportunities like creating short poems for greeting cards.
How To Become A Writer?
There is no one path to becoming a professional writer. Some people struggle for years with their writing before they get paid work, while others find work straight away. However, keeping the following steps in mind will help you hone your skills and find regular paid work.
Read, read, read
When you are starting, it is a good idea to read everything you can get your hands on. You never know what could inspire you and lead to a great idea for a story or article. You should read with a critical eye and think about what works well and what could be more impactful.
Discover your writing niche
It is important to choose topics that you can write about with passion and accuracy. Trying to sound confident when writing about something you know little about can be challenging. Therefore, you need to consider your interests and knowledge when choosing your niche.
Start by making a list of your hobbies and interests. Put a star against subjects that you have specialist knowledge in. You could also include subjects that you would enjoy researching and learning more about.
Consider higher education
While not all types of writers need formal qualifications, a college degree is a good way to learn essential skills. A combined degree in English and journalism will teach you specialist skills and provide practical experience.
You will receive feedback on your writing from lecturers and other students and gain experience working to a deadline. Some colleges and universities also offer creative writing courses, which are ideal for budding authors.
Start a blog
It seems like everyone has a blog these days, and some are much better than others. However, creating your own blog is not just a way to feed your ego. It can serve as your online portfolio and a way to experiment with different writing styles.
You can use your blog to showcase your writing and gain recognition. It is a good idea to create a theme for your blog and stick to topics that fit with the theme. The theme should be connected to the area of writing that you want to specialize in and will hone your skills.
Consider marketing your blog
There is nothing wrong with keeping your blog private and using it as writing practice. However, it is also possible to make good money as a blogger. Once you have a good number of regular visitors to your blog, you can sell advertising space. There are also several other ways to monetize your blog.
Connect with other writers
Writing can be a very lonely job, especially if you work as a freelancer in a home office. Joining a group of other writers is a great way to feel like you are part of a community. Most cities and large towns have at least one writers’ group, while there are also several online.
Connecting with your peers is a great way to get support and encouragement. You can bounce ideas off members of the group and gain constructive criticism. Group members could also be a valuable resource for finding work when you’re ready.
Join an open mic
Reading your poems and short stories in public is a great way to gain confidence. While not all open mic nights are open to spoken word performances, you could also try standup comedy. Writing a funny and engaging short set takes practice, and you will gain instant feedback on what works.
Grow Your Writing Brand
Marketing yourself as a writer and gaining a following may feel uncomfortable at first. However, it is important to get your writing out there in any way you can. This is particularly important if you want to be an author because you need a large and loyal fan base.
Using social media is an easy way to make connections with potential readers from the comfort of your own home. You can start by creating a Facebook fan page for your writing. Make sure you add content to your social media pages regularly so there will be something new for fans.
Create an online presence…
Creating a LinkedIn profile is another creative way to help people find work and gain employment. You have the chance to upload samples of your writing that can be read by potential employers. You can also add links to your blog and social media pages.
Find Paid Writing Opportunities
Trying to find full-time work as a writer straightaway can be tricky. You may find it best to start with a few part-time or temporary roles until you gain confidence and experience. This gives you the chance to try out a few different types of writing and discover what you enjoy.
Here are some popular ways of finding writing work:
- Job boards – several sites host job boards that present paid writing jobs.
- LinkedIn – this business networking site provides you with a semi-formal way of connecting with businesses.
- Work your connections – consider contacting other writers and letting them know you are looking for work.
Submit Your Writing
No matter what type of writing you want to do professionally, you need to start contacting potential employers. The first step is doing as much research as possible into people to contact. This could be publishing companies, agents, newspaper or magazine editors, and a range of other people.
Make sure you find out exactly who you need to contact and use their full name and title. Create a short cover letter that makes your intention clear and introduces yourself. Personalize the cover letter and attach a couple of samples of your work.
Read more: Can a Felon Go To a Shooting Range?
Don’t give up!
Most editors receive huge numbers of emails every day, and it could take a while to hear back. While you are waiting, keep searching for other people to send your writing to. You are sure to find that your hard work and persistence pay off in the end.
Let’s Talk About Journalism!
Out of all the categories of writers, I’ve decided to focus on Journalism as a career. So, check out my Journalist Job Description and Journalist Interview Questions to understand what will be expected of you.
Next, we did some online research to find the best guides and handbooks for you on the matter, such as Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft, or The Elements of Journalism, Revised and Updated 4th Edition: What Newspeople Should Know, and the Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, & Interview Anyone Like a Pro and much much more!
I also highly recommend reading up on The Associated Press Guide to News Writing, and how about The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft, the Investigative Journalism: A Survival Guide, the, and even Democracy without Journalism?: Confronting the Misinformation Society all available online in 2023.
Lastly, I did thoroughly enjoy reading You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, which will take you through all the steps of non-fiction writing.
The key to being a good writer is practicing your craft every day. When you are getting started, it is a good idea to experiment with different types of writing.
Set yourself daily writing assignments and push yourself to venture outside of your comfort zone. It can take a lot of time and persistence to get your first writing gig. While rejections can be discouraging, it is important to send your work to as many outlets as possible.
Keep a careful record of where and when you send your work and follow up after a week or two.
All the very best in your new career as a Writer!