The employer was able to follow the link and read exactly how I write. He was able to sample a few pages of web copy and gauge my approach to online writing. The website included PDFs of other writing samples; scripts, a short story and links to other websites I had a hand in producing.
Of course, he liked what he found and offered me the job. This is what I mean by working for free before working to get paid. These samples demonstrated my abilities as a professional writer. The work I used to demonstrate my ability was work that appeared professional, even though I had completed each piece as an amateur.
Everything I write, amateur or not, has always been treated with the seriousness and attention to detail of a professional job. Formatting and layout are crucial with this.
The wrong indentations or a failure to use CAPS for certain directions can be enough to see your script filed in the shredder, regardless of whether you have written the most amazing Act 3 ever committed to foolscap. The same is true across all writing.
A professional writer behaves like a professional writer long before being paid to be a professional writer. I started the job a few days later. I was shown to my work station, was given a description of my duties and then was told that, until customer copywriting orders started arriving, I was to help completely overhaul the existing website while writing articles and blog posts on issues concerned with online marketing and ecommerce.
Remember, I knew nothing of SEO and all the other techniques online marketers used, but I was now required to not only write the pages of a website selling these services, but also to write detailed and informative articles on the subject. Every lunch break I was buying and reading industry magazines.
Every spare moment I had, I was visiting social media sites, such as Sphinn , that specialise in online marketing.
I subscribed to more blogs than I could conceivably read in a week. I created this very blog as an extension to the original website so that I could practice the principles I was reading and test them out for myself.
I knew that merely regurgitating the facts I read elsewhere would be meaningless. I needed to know these things first hand by doing. In the evenings, I was still at the PC, either reading, Sphinning or coding the website. Very soon, I was submitting my own articles to Sphinn and was encouraged by the response.
By January, I not only had the blog off and running with a number of subscribers, but I began writing on these topics for Nett Magazine , a new small business ecommerce title released in Australia in December. I went from ignorance to authority on the topic of online business and internet marketing in weeks. The boss was now coming to me for advice on how to improve the link structure of the site.
My name was becoming recognised in the online community. As a result, I no longer carry out customer copywriting jobs. We have employed a young journalism graduate to deal with customers as I have inadvertently created a brand new role within the organization — that of Marketing Communications Manager. And I got a whacking pay rise to boot. My duties are pretty much as you would expect.
I blog and write articles to build brand awareness of Netregistry and its subsidiaries, while creating and running the new social media campaigns we have implemented as a result of my work. Without all this additional research and commitment and sweat and experimentation, I would not be in this job.
Anyone can turn up to a job at 9 and leave at 5. Anyone can claim that it is up to other people to train them or provide guidance. I chose to create the writer I wanted to be, with no half measures and plenty of sacrifices along the way. Always reading, always learning, always observing. Your writing is only ever as good as the information you have to impart or the unique perception you have. Make sure your message is worth writing about and live it with a passion.
So there you go. A writing career is a result of determined graft and nothing else; no courses, no contacts, no books and no tricks can replace that. Having said that, the courses, the books and the contacts are all necessary too.
If you read any of the above and felt intimidated by the truth, then maybe you need to very carefully think about whether your dream is best left that way. But, alternatively, if you are destined to be a writer, you will overcome adversity and stick at it with the gumption to do the things I did.
Just remember, there are no guarantees and always have a second job. Thanks for taking the time. Many people want to write because they feel inspired to tell a story. But can you write even when you have no story? Professional writers must be able to write at a consistently high level regardless of any other factors that exist.
Writing is an emotionally draining task, but the written piece is a product. Be as proud and as objective as possible about your writing. Accept that once you write it, it is not yours anymore, and that it must serve a purpose. Many people will not like your work.
It will make some people insulted or angry. These are all okay. Being a writer means welcoming rejection as a motivator on the path to better writing. Sorry for the lengthy comment — thanks again for the post! This is one of the best articles I have ever read on what it takes to be a writer. I have been fortunate in that I have found venues that help support my habit.
Thanks for a great post. Thanks for the kind words, both of you. Michael, I agree, there is so much more I could say on the topic. The main point I wanted to get across was that writing for your own entertainment or for the back-slapping of your friends is very different to the real world of writing. I stumbled here by way of wordwebbing.
A wonderful site of useful ideas, thoughts and comments presented professionally and written with style. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and good luck to all who pass through here. Thank you for writing this article. It is by far the most helpful article that I found on becoming a writer. My writing was re-awakened when I moved to Arizona 10 months ago.
I recently found two other work-at-home travel writing opportunities. I am very passionate about certain areas such as animal rights.
If I can be a voice for those you cannot speak, I will. I have my own website where I write on a variety of topics. My writing skills have come along way since I started with Sunset Travel. Who knows where it would lead me. Reading your article opened my eyes.
Wow, welcome aboard Rebecca and Artie. I never guessed this article would produce such passionate responses, all from people who — instead of seeing the truth as demotivating — saw it as proof of the challenge. Rebecca, yours is exactly the approach I recommend. That work-at-home job producing articles is a perfect foothold into further writing while still allowing you time to earn money elsewhere.
If your articles reach enough people, eventually they can lead to more work, and so it grows. This is what has happened to me, with some people having read my various magazine articles, online pieces and this blog now offering me additional freelance work that I can carry out in the evenings.
Your articles become your portfolio and your calling card — spread them far and wide. I too would love to one day become an accomplished non-fiction writer. Your blog is helpful and without surprise. Knowing I have something of value to share, I just need to find the right audience and follow suit to fulfill and satisfy. Thanks to all who have shared your thoughts and opinions, all of which has been duly noted.
I am only 12 years old and am already fascinated in writing. I read probably around page chapter books each week, and believe me I am truly not lying. Iv made my own page books before at home and iv shown probably around 6 of my friends it, and some tell me that its great some tell me to keep writing so basically thats what encourages me, and the small fact that i love to read.
I do want to be a writer when I grow up but I wont get my hopes up to high though because I know that there is A big chance that I wont get to be it. I write stories in my spare time, and i love coming up with characters and plots. Thanks for your help. One thing I found that I did not expect is that if you get into the right office, once people know you can write, edit and design, work experience comes from the weirdest places. And yes, corporate writing which I do, and by the sounds of it you do too provides a very broad range of writing challenges.
Scripts for YouTube videos. Each piece of writing is judged by different metrics and comes with its own set of factors and requirements. Getting experience and practice in all disciplines certainly helps the portfolio and makes you far more useful to a future employer!
It sounds like you have achieved success in a menial faculty — compared to what writing truly can be. Written communication belongs to all of us — there are many avenues that augment different paths.
Just because you finally made it to a level YOU believe qualifies the means does not transcend to every writers aspirations.
How about you get off your high horse of literal efficacy and write an unbiased and succinct article on what drove you to write and the fervour involved. The idea that writing is somehow purely authoring great fiction is a myth. Look at the careers of many great writers. Spot how many also worked as copywriters or journalists or columnists or similar earlier in their careers.
Sure, I write from partly my own progression. But I also write from observation and from the experiences of other writers I know. Yes, there are many different paths, but there are also many common themes. I have also been part of many writer groups where I come across so many amateurs that resist the very harsh truths I outline above.
It almost seems fear based in his delivery. To assume your experiences are checkpoints that all other would-be writers are going to have to face is both arrogant and narrow-minded. First I would like to say thank you. Thank you for having the guts and knowledge to post something that finally puts writing into a real career, unlike all those other sites that simply describe how writing is a dream and takes hard work to accomplish, though they never tell you what kind of work or where to work.
I, myself, love to write. Its something that I do to get away from everything that is happening in my life, and one day, I would love more than anything to be able to turn this my writing into a real career. And I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I now know more about what I need to learn, as before, I only knew I had to somehow magically acquire the information to be absolutely amazing in this specific career field. This is my dream, and I just want to thank you so very much for helping me to finally be able to move to the next step and actually make something out of the dream that I once that would only stay as such, you are truly inspiring and even though I know you probably no longer need it; I wish you the best of luck.
Piercing debate that cuts to the heart of the argument. Anonymous abuse is pretty lame. You have such a keen grasp of the written word! Your aspirations must appeal to becoming a literary critic. Good read, I have a room mate In New Zealand we call them flatmates who is currently unemployed and instead of looking for a job has decided to write fantasy novels. I pray someday to fully understand in first person your experience.
If they do have it, it s nothing new…it is the same as everyone else s…it s not what you don t know but what you don t feel. Nothing is new anymore…the only writer s I respect are philosophers, they are true genius s.
Society turns us all into robots, thinking feeling the way they want you too…. I am no one to give advice about writing but what I do know is that writing is an art…it is a talent…one possess talent or they don t…don t impersonate, if you see yourself trying to write think feel like someone else, anyone else….
I have come across so many people more recently for some reason who figure writing is an easy job that pretty much anyone can do from home. Scary how many write their tips about writing and being a writing and their articles are full of spelling and grammatical errors, nonsense sentences and other writing mistakes that just show their absolute lack of talent and knowledge. It is great to see someone admit it is hard and takes some natural ability to truly succeed.
And a willingness to learn and practice, too. Like you, I had many jobs which helped prepare me for a communications manager role and now my own writing business — it may have appeared I suddenly became a writer but there were years or learning and billions of pages read to achieve the necessary skill level. Another 4 years of experience, two awards, my first published fiction and enough magazine articles to wallpaper the house only further prove my points.
All writing is menial. As Douglas Adams said: You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds. I know this post is a few years old but I loved it. I work fulltime and write a blog for fun. I do it for fun and it is obvious the training in the field is absent, but as long as I fewl passionate I will continue. I however admire professional writers and was grateful to read how hard it is in reality, far from the just cone up with an idea and you will be the next big thing.
Happy days to you theintermediatemother. Very interesting and helpful…. I am a 58 yo pediatrician. For the last years, I have considered writing fiction or possibly plays. I have no epxperience, but a growing desire to tell stories in some way.
Given the above stated realities, is it realistic to start at my age? Is that a fairly good guideline? Absolutely, it should never be too late to start. Write because you have to get the stories out of your brain and onto paper — even if you are the only one who will ever read them. Write as often as you can, daily if possible. Write and rewrite and rewrite so you build up that experience of how words can always be improved. I am glad that I found this site. Thanks for it and the advise. I appreciate the forum that allowed me to develop some confidence and an audience.
It also gave me a chance to write on the various forums. Now I want to write some fiction of my own and on my own terms. I write audit reports as part of my job and enjoy that part. I am an accountant and will be retiring in less than 10 years. I was looking around for a place to put my story where people might read it. After reading this site, I realize that I can put it on the free web page that I have set up thru google and I can just send the link to my facebook friends and family.
If it takes off great. If not, well, at least my mother will read it. Thanks for this brilliant article — reading it was a real penny dropping moment for me and led to me realising I am, in many ways, a writer myself! It prompted me to come up with this http: U dont need structure or grammer or even spelling. Writing is all about meaning, emotion, passion, and what ever gives u that drive to write. Some of the greatest writers couldnt spell or use correct grammer they had other people do that.
I think you may be living under a misapprehension there. But to have access one of those you, have to be commissioned or hired first. And so few unsolicited manuscripts are read as far as page 2.
Same goes for journals and other forms of professional writing too. Whether they know it or not virtually every published book, movie or tv show follows similar structural conventions.
Understanding and recognising that helps you to construct a story that works, with a much higher likelihood of being accepted. Sorry, but I hear comments like yours all the time. This article gave me alot to think about. This is well written and made me consider what other options there are. Some people see this article as a downer, but I far prefer your more pragmatic response.
Talent is never enough by itself, and neither is commitment or effort. Even all of those together are not much cop without some focus, training, and a dose of luck.
Plus having another fallback set of skills can inform your writing in many other ways. Before I get started, can I just ask that no one lash out at my grammar? First, I truly enjoyed the article and gained alot of perspective. Maybe I never will be and thats okay too. Sharing ideas and getting feedback is one of the best ways to become inspired and to improve your work.
This can be scary for beginner writers, for your work can be something incredibly personal, and you may be afraid of rejection. However, writing in isolation means that not only is no one reading your work, but you can also run the risk of compounding bad habits being too wordy, redundant, or melodramatic, etc.
Instead of being scared, think that every person you share your work with is a potential person to give you new ideas and inspire you. Being a writer is almost like being a superhero: Some creative writers do not have day jobs—but this is very rare. However, having a day job is not a bad thing. In fact, a good day job can even be helpful to your goal in becoming a writer.
When finding your dream day job, here are some things to consider: Does it pay the bills? A good day job should ease your financial burdens so you can write without worry. Stress is not conducive to your project. Does it leave you enough time and energy to write? Having a space away from your writing work can be helpful.
Spending too much time on a single project can be overly immersive. It is good to take a step back. Does it have other creative people? A good day job should give you awesome coworkers. Creative people are everywhere! They are not just writers or artists. Anything, as long as you stick to one field. Something that is marketable. Something that you would want to read. Immerse them in your work. Suck them into the writing so that they will read and read and never want to escape, so that they will want you to handcuff them to your next book.
To do this, here are some techniques you can use: We perceive and experience the world through our senses. An immersive and convincing work will often have readers seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, and smelling. These types of details provide a specific sense of understanding of what is going on in the writing. Write what you know more about. If you are more familiar with something, you can write about it in more detail, realism, and depth.
Ask someone who knows. The more information you know about a situation, a person, or setting, the more you will be able to render it realistically on the page. Beginning, Climax, and Resolution. However, there are many, many other ways to write a story. Or, a story interspersed by multiple flashbacks. Consider Point of View: In total, there are 9 different points of view. The 3 main categories are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person. When deciding point of view, think about what information you want your readers to have access to.
Part 2 Quiz Which of the following examples includes concrete details? Start with simple words. Simple is the best way to start. While you will undoubtedly need a well-stocked vocabulary more on that later , too many big words will drive all but the most dedicated readers away. Aim instead to allow everyone who reads your writing to comprehend exactly what you wanted them to comprehend. Nothing more, and nothing less. Stick with short sentences in the beginning.
Short sentences are easy to digest and are very readable. Take a look at a notorious long, overwrought sentence. The following sentence won the satirical Bad Writing Contest second-prize. Let your verbs do the real work. Verbs are the great drivers of sentences. They carry meaning from one thought to the next. On top of that, they help writers achieve dazzling degrees of precision.
Pay close attention to certain problem verbs. Substitute a more specific word for problem verbs when appropriate: Use the active voice instead of the passive voice, as a rule of thumb. She is actively finding her master. Be careful not to overuse adjectives. The beginning writer will go crazy with adjectives. Sometimes, adjectives are redundant. Take the sentence "I watched as he lifted the last pawn and set it down, checkmating the king, clinching his successful victory.
Here, the adjective simply restates what we already know. Other times, the adjectives writers use can be pretty obscure. Be a student of vocabulary. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus by your side at all times. At the same time, use your vocabulary sparingly. Study roots of words. Word roots especially Latin roots for the English language will help you decipher the meanings of unknown words without a dictionary.
Knowing the roots mal- , ben- , epi- , eu- , ag- , and con- is a good start. Say what you mean. The reader is all alone, and must rely solely on the words to gather meaning. Second, the reader takes what the writer says at face value. For these reasons, take the time to say what you mean.
Figure out what you want to say before you say it. Be dogged about sniffing out the right word, even if it takes you time. A lot of sub-par writing is the refusal to fit the right word with an idea, not issues with plot or stylistic concerns. Use figurative language for effect, not as a rule. Examples of figurative language are metaphor and simile.
Like saying "I love you," figurative language loses much of its power if used incessantly. Good punctuation is neither seen nor heard, but is powerful nonetheless. Overuse punctuation and your readers will be distracted. No one wants to read a sentence in which colons, semicolons, and dashes make more appearances that actual words. Use exclamation points sparingly. Elmore Leonard, the great crime writer, has this to say: You are allowed no more than two or three per , words of prose.
Semicolons act as hybrid periods, connecting two sentences that have logical connection. Still, Kurt Vonnegut argues against them: They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing.
Some of the greatest writers have successfully broken grammatical, stylistic, and semantic rules, making literature better by doing so. Part 3 Quiz Which of the following is a strong opening sentence? Writing Help Sample Writing Exercises. I keep a diary already. I love it though.
Is it right for me? If you find that you love writing so much that you want it to be a permanent part of your life, then it will work out.
Not Helpful 3 Helpful I lack good vocabulary and grammar, but I have many creative ideas and a strong imagination. Should I write something? Write if it feels right.
Your imagination should be your guide, not a rule book. Best of all, the more you write, the more the grammar corrects itself through feedback and learning. So get stuck into it! Not Helpful 5 Helpful How do I know when to end a chapter in a story and continue to the next one? You should end a chapter when a specific moment or collection of moments is finished.
Think of it like the scenes in a movie -- when the scene changes, move on to the next chapter. Not Helpful 1 Helpful When it comes to writing, good writing takes time. However, until your writing is at a level of acceptability, you need to keep writing to keep improving. Being tough on your work is excellent, as it helps you to improve. It also helps to use third person, to give you the chance to step back and be more objective than placing yourself into the story.
Not Helpful 4 Helpful Try reading other books, looking at pictures, listening to music, reading quotes, etc. You can even try doing some simple writing exercises; sometimes, a simple exercise can inspire a longer story.
Steps to Becoming a Writer. Not all writers work as or want to be novelists, poets or authors. Writing is an extremely diverse occupational field with multi-faceted career paths. There isn’t a single route to becoming a writer, which is one of the major benefits of the profession.
Simply put, the best thing to do if you want to become a writer, regardless of your age, is to write regularly. Even if you write for just 10 minutes a day or one day a week. Even if you have to get up an .
Jun 12, · Because you didn't have "it." And you didn't work hard enough to become it. And you will see you should have picked something else: something easier, something less complicated, something other than a writer. Email me. Follow me on Twitter. My personal blog. Sometimes, it can seem like it. I travel to the office every morning and work from my cubicle next to the marketing department, across from accounts and a floor above the sales team. But when trying to get a writing job, the differences become apparent. Finding work as a .
Get the Free eBook: 10 Steps to Becoming a Writer contains the best wisdom I’ve learned on how to become a writer. This post contains three short steps from the full eBook. This post contains three short steps from the full eBook. How do you become a writer? At The Write Practice, we are committed to helping aspiring writers turn into daily writers. Since , we have helped almost 10 million people to stop procrastinating, get writing, and share their gift with the world.