If you’re an aspiring writer, you will almost certainly have been told at some point that it is impossible to make a living from writing. This is categorically untrue; there are lots of different ways you can become a writer, so even if you’re not particularly in love with fiction writing or journalism, there are plenty of other jobs you can do in this field.
With that said, starting up a career as a writer is far from easy. You’ll find that it takes an uncommon amount of dedication and skill in order to carve out a niche for yourself as a writer; competition is fierce, and you won’t get very far unless you absolutely dedicate yourself to your pursuit. Here’s how you can start a career as a writer.
When you’re starting out as a writer, it can be difficult to find profitable work opportunities. It’s not impossible, but you might have to search for a while until you find something that will pay. With that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to think carefully about whether you want to give up your current job.
If you do decide to quit and make a go of being a writer independently, make sure you’re well-funded, at least for the first few months of your juncture as a writer. You may want to seek out short-term financial help; taking out a few £1000 loans could help you build some cash, pay off debts, or do anything else you need to while you’re looking for paid work as a writer.
While it’s certainly true that many writers aren’t writing about their passions, the truth is that your best niche as a writer is probably the thing about which you’re most knowledgeable. This will almost invariably be your passion in life, so start off your career writing about that, potentially on a blog.
When you’re passionate, you’ll also stand a better chance of coming across as an authority in your chosen field, which will stand you in better stead for getting paid work. Starting a blog and updating it regularly will show you’re passionate about your chosen subject and will also act as a de facto portfolio to show prospective employers.
Talking to other writers is imperative if you want to achieve success. You’ll often find that close-knit networks of writers stick together and help each other find profitable employment opportunities. That’s why it’s a good idea to join one of these networks and take advantage of what they’re offering.
You can look in all kinds of places if you want to find a good writer’s network. Social media is probably the best place to start; there are groups on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to join LinkedIn as well. These sites can also serve as great places to host your portfolio and show off your style.
More important even than having a social media presence (although this is critical too) is building your own website. When you’ve got an official website for yourself and your work, you’ll look more professional, and businesses will know that you’re serious about your career as a writer.
Your website should look professional, balancing minimalism with functionality. It should never be difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for. A good way to start is with an About Me section, a portfolio of your writing, a contact page, and potentially some testimonials or reviews if you’re already that far along.
No writer is ever truly “done” writing. Practising your style each and every day is crucial; this way, you’ll never stagnate, you’ll keep your writing brain active, and you’ll potentially write the piece that will get you hired (because you never know!). Make sure to keep up your practice if you want to achieve success.
It’s also important to practise in a wide variety of styles. Paid employment opportunities aren’t always going to present themselves in your dream field, so you may want to do a little work outside of your passion in order to bring in some money. When that happens, being versatile is a crucial skill for a writer to have.
Writing is a dream job for many people, which also means it can be very difficult to actually find a way into this particular career path. Many give up before they’ve actually started; the task feels insurmountable to them because it requires a lot of hard work. If you want to be a successful writer, don’t get discouraged.
This doesn’t just apply to periods where you can’t find paid work. You also shouldn’t let yourself get discouraged if you experience rejection, either from a job application or from a submission to a magazine or website. Rejections are par for the course for writers; it’s how you deal with them that sets you apart, not whether you get them.
The most important element of your writing is arguably whether you clearly come across as passionate, not only about your subject but also about the craft itself. If you love the way words come together – if you love writing just for its own sake – then this is almost certainly the right career for you.
If you find yourself flagging or losing your passion for writing, try taking a short break if your job allows. Do something else for a while; make sure to keep up your writing practice, but keep it brief, allowing for other hobbies and distractions to keep your mind active and stop you from hating your work.