One of the questions I get most is how someone becomes a writer? And it’s a fair question because many people don’t have a clue, including me, at one point in my life. Until I decided that I wanted to go down this path. But many people love to write. It’s an ancient practice that comes with many benefits. It helps people map their thinking by expressing and articulating their thoughts on paper. It expands creativity and enhances imagination; for movies and television shows, it’s the story’s foundation.
Writing also has more practical uses that people don’t realize. It’s a great stress reliever. You become a better communicator and strengthen your ability to memorize important events that should never be forgotten. However, regardless of your reason for writing, know it’s a damn good one, and I say that you should keep it up, especially if it makes you happy. But this isn’t about why you should write and all the amazing things it offers. It’s about how to become one.
If you are truly ready to embark on your writing journey, understand that there are many routes you can take that can lead you to become a professional writer. Of course, every route will have its pros and cons, but they are all drastically different.
Some paths are challenging and frightening, while others are fun and manageable. However, that’s a matter of perspective, but the only way to know is to put forth the effort. Let’s go over the common writing positions and understand what they entail.
A content writer is a specialized writer who provides informational content on company websites. They usually write articles, blogs, or the company newsletter. Content writers are a precious asset to a company because they write and research through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is a complex tactic, but to simplify it, it’s how companies compete for high-value keywords that are considered hot commodities on the internet.
For instance, take the title of this article, How to Be a Writer, a keyword people search for on the internet. You’ll see many articles regarding this title. The best-structured and most informative articles infused with the best technical SEO practices will be rewarded at the top of your preferred search engine list, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It’s a fun job, and it’s challenging. You will learn something new every day, and you will never be bored because not only do search engine algorithms change, but so does the consumer.
Copywriting writes appealing and thought-provoking advertisements to create desire among consumers. And I know what you are thinking, isn’t that what they did on Mad Men? And to answer your question, yes. The television show displayed the effectiveness of early modern-day marketing. However, luckily, it doesn’t represent what the industry is like today.
It has less toxic masculinity, and your co-workers aren’t usually drunk before Two p.m. Plus, it’s a lot more sophisticated, advanced, and competitive now, and it’s only going to get worse, which is a good thing because that creates jobs. Being a copywriter is another fun job. It deals with a lot of research, a distinct writing talent, and a creative brain that should understand how to appeal to a mass audience without acknowledging that they are being sold something.
In my opinion, technical writing is one of the most challenging writing jobs someone can get. Not because it’s difficult or overly complicated but because it’s boring. Quite honestly, you’ll get daily headaches just from what the job entails. And what might that be? Well, essentially, all you are doing is reading complex material and breaking it down into easy-to-understand material for the average consumer.
For example, you’ll be writing instruction manuals, creating how-to articles, and other complex material that needs to be simplified. It’s not a bad job and pays well, but it’s not the most prestigious job. However, I do appreciate the people who do it, day in and day out, because they are brilliant, talented writers with a knack for explaining things.
Journalism is an incredible position to get into, but keep in mind it’s hectic. If you are young and fresh out of college, go for it because it will be an awesome and lucrative job in which you can have immense pride. However, with that said, it’s a hard life. Journalists work all the time. And it’s exhausting.
I honestly don’t know how they do it. I have no idea where they get their sources from, nor the time to write on things that have happened throughout the day. Journalists work days, nights, and weekends. I had written for newsletters before but didn’t like the writing style. I didn’t like being rushed, and it was just something I wasn’t into, but that was me. Don’t let my opinion sway yours because journalism is fucking incredible. It just wasn’t for me.
I am a big fan of ghostwriting. Ghostwriters write for companies that don’t want to identify someone else’s name other than their brand. So, the content you write isn’t your intellectual property. It’s the companies that you are employed by. Ghostwriters aren’t associated with the product, article, or company they write for. You get to write with complete anonymity.
However, if you are starting out in the writing industry, I would not recommend ghostwriting. As a new writer, you will want to create a portfolio and accumulate as many written articles with your name attached to your work because that’s how you market yourself for other positions when you are ready to move on.
Technically speaking, in all the positions listed above, you will most likely be an author with the exception of a ghostwriter. When referring to authorship, I am talking about someone who writes and publishes books. Becoming an author is a hard path to journey on. Not only do you have to be a talented writer, but you have to work on your author branding and market to a mass audience, and even then, success isn’t guaranteed.
You have to work against critics, editors, deadlines, the creative process, and, worst of all, yourself. It’s a lonely and challenging road to take as a writer but one that is worth traveling on if it’s something that you think you want. Writing a book is hard and mentally exhausting, and you’ll doubt yourself every step of the way, but it is worth the effort if you are willing to work.
Like all things in life, even God-given talent, you need to develop and sharpen your writing skills, and writing is no different. To become a writer, you will need to constantly be in that space and live there.
It has to be a priority in your life; if it isn’t, you are likely to be surpassed by someone else who does hold writing high in their life. Luckily, I have found many ways that aspiring writers can improve their skill set that doesn’t involve much money or time.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. If you want to be a better writer and find the inspiration to write, you will have to read a lot. I will always recommend reading classic books. Some of my favorites are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Republic by Plato, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
However, not everyone likes reading, and I hate to say that goes for writers as well. And yes, you read that right, some writers don’t like to read, but you know what, that’s okay because some writers are an exception, and that’s just how they operate. But, I will say this if a writer doesn’t like to read, they are either really good at writing and don’t need to read, or they are really bad, and I’m willing to bet that the majority is the latter of the bunch.
The good thing about reading is that for it to be effective, you can read whatever you like. There is no difference in what you are reading, so long as it’s good quality work that has been refined and edited so that you can learn different voices, word usage, sentence structure, and how to use grammar correctly.
I would suggest reading what you want to specialize in, for instance:
Reading is great. It can be a writer’s best friend, but it should also be something you enjoy, so read what you want. It can only help. Use it to assist you in your writing by studying other authors and their styles and see if you can find your writing style and voice to be the unique writer you can be.
This may be a bit obvious, but to become a better writer, you need to write, and you need to write often. And the topic that you want to write about can be about anything. In the end, it’s all good practice. There are a few writing practices and exercises that you can do to accomplish this goal.
Some of the things I would recommend are:
Writing can be very fulfilling, but as you can see, it takes a lot of work to get good at it. It’s also one of the most humbling experiences someone can go through because when they first start, most writers have no idea how bad they are until they have been professionally edited or have stuck with writing and have come across some of their old writing pieces. For instance, some of my old stuff was awful, but I stayed with it, or should I say, writing stayed with me.
It may come to you as a surprise, but writers have many tools that they utilize to help them become successful in the writing field. Writers will never admit to it to using tools that assist them in writing, and I am one of them because everything I write is perfect. If you haven’t noticed, I’m kidding.
I use every tool I am about to go into, and realistically you should as well. I have said this before, and I will keep repeating this, writing is hard, and technology is your friend. Unless you intend to write with a typewriter and try your luck doing it old school. I suggest you get with the times because it will only hurt you if you don’t.
I won’t say which one I use, but writing assistants are great for minor typos and incorrect sentence structure, especially when it comes to creative writing and writing commercially. It helps you contain that creative spirit a lot better and ensures that you can spell basic words.
When writers write, we often get into this zone that’s impossible to escape. We might feel like we are writing like a God, using big words, a clever sentence composition, and a flow that rivals the wind. But when it’s time to look back and edit, it might look like we didn’t pass the second grade.
However, that’s where a writing assistant comes in. It helps you fix basic errors and keep your writing energy up without dealing with the mundane tasks of finding mistakes.
Some of the best writing Assistants are:
Writers need a place to write, and a word processor is perfect. Whether you are writing a blog, a news article, or a book, a word processor is a great way to start your outline, write your draft, and edit the final piece of your work to get it published. Most digital publishers utilize WordPress to get their content out in the open, but writing in a word processor is faster, easier, and eliminates the mistake of accidentally publishing something that you shouldn’t have.
Trust me, it happens, even in the professional realm. The processors that I will list are great tools and ones that the entire publishing industry uses daily. So, if you decide to get into the business, learn each one and get comfortable with them because you will utilize them with a publisher.
Most popular word processors:
Unless you are an author of books and poetry, you will need some search Engine Optimization (SEO) software that can help your articles rank on search engines. When you have chosen a topic to write about in your blog or article, you will have to find out relevant keywords associated with that topic that will make your article more robust and informative for a reader.
It should answer multiple questions, be engaging, and have relevant, unique material. SEO tools can help you find out what you need to be successful and have your articles found on search engines. I always say to a newer writer who blogs, “you can be the greatest writer in the world, but if you don’t apply SEO, no one will ever know.”
Before you utilize these tools, I would research and learn them. You can get free courses and certificates with some of the programs listed below, which I would highly recommend because they are beneficial.
Some of the most popular SEO tools are:
Technically speaking, there aren’t any requirements to be a writer. Anyone can go headfirst into the writing industry and try their luck. However, more often than not, unless they are a super evil genius that’s good at everything, they will most likely be unsuccessful. There are some basic things people can do to make themselves more marketable for the industry. Although it won’t guarantee success, it will at least give you a leg up against the competition.
A college degree isn’t necessary, but please believe it absolutely helps to have a piece of paper that says hey, I completed a four-year college journey. Every writer I have encountered has at least a bachelor’s degree and every job I have applied to that was writing intensive required a college degree. So although it might not be required, it helps.
Doing freelance work is challenging. Not all of them are bad, but let’s just say some are better than others. Depending on your skill set and experience level, you might have to opt for some lesser-than-ideal Freelance positions. But hey, depending on your desire and commitment to writing, you do what you have to do.
I did, and even though it sucked, I made it work because what you want to do with freelance work is to have publications in your name that proves your ability to write. Once you have accumulated enough experience, you can start looking for a better-paying position, but it takes time.
Creating a portfolio is one of the most underrated things a writer can do. I cannot stress this enough: when you have publications in your name, get a portfolio and keep all your articles there for future employers to see. Every employer that has a requisition open for a writing opportunity will ask for one. So do yourself a favor and keep it updated with your best work. Also, you will be surprised at how many writers don’t have one. It drives me up the wall. So stay ahead of the pack and create a portfolio.
To me, writing is the most incredible job there is. I am living the dream. I feel like I don’t work and have fun all the time. But, beware, it’s a difficult industry to get into, but with some elbow grease, determination, and hard work ethic, you can make it happen. Of course, as long and robust as this article was, this isn’t all of the paths there are; I would be writing for eternity if I covered every single way possible. But it’s a good starting point; it worked for me. If you want to be a writer, I hope it works for you. Best of luck on your journey.
Writing, at its essence, is an art. To be a solid writer, one has to possess a certain level of creativity and flair that goes beyond run-of-the-mill wordsmithing. Crafting sentences with a confident hand and understanding grammar and punctuation helps. Still, these are only basic tools for the trade—it’s up to the writer to use them as a painter uses their brushstrokes.
Having the vision and self-awareness to develop ideas into compelling stories or arguments shows true talent, making a writer stand out from the pack. So when it comes down to it, being a strong writer isn’t just about having technical knowledge — it’s also about having insight into the creative process and using that insight to draw out what can be done with words.
Writing is one of the most rewarding and challenging professions, especially for the self-employed. It may seem like an idyllic life – hosting coffee shop meetups and outfitting yourself in cardigans – but it isn’t all roses. Writer’s block, perpetual distraction, and finding reliable sources can be soul-crushing.
Yet, it is possible to live off being a writer. It takes hard work, dedication, and passion, but some individuals have made writing their full-time career. A combination of luck mixed with talent will help make that dream come true, and whether you achieve this or spend your free time writing stories or articles, being a writer is personally fulfilling either way.
Writing well is essential to any skill set, whether you are a student, professional, or hobbyist. Knowing how to clearly and effectively communicate your thoughts can be invaluable. Experienced writers have a few essential qualities that make their writing so impactful – these three C’s – clarity, conciseness, and consistency.
Clarity ensures readers can quickly grasp the message and understand its purpose, while conciseness conveys meaning without excessive words, making topics more interesting to read. Lastly, consistency keeps readers engaged by providing them with predictability in style – which for any writer is important for establishing credibility. Thus, all experienced writers master these three C’s, gaining success in their chosen field.