How to Start a Career as a Professional Writer

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 19, 2020

Oct 19, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you have a flair for words? Are you the kind of person who likes the irresistible sound of typing? Looking to make a living as an author or journalist? It may sound boring to some, but a career as a writer may be a dream job for people who take their craft as wordsmiths seriously. If you count yourself among such people, you have numerous opportunities to find a fulfilling vocation. 

To get to this point, you need to know where to begin, and how you can remain on this path. Your success as a professional writer will depend on how well you apply these very simple reminders:

  1. Commit to a niche

The journey towards becoming a professional writer starts with deciding what kind of writer you want to be. There are markets for creative storytellers and there are markets for people who specialize in writing blogs. You only need to choose a niche where you are strongest. After all, you wouldn't want to take up lucrative technical writing projects if you are more into creative work. 

The best advice you can get as a newcomer is to write about topics that are close to home. You need to build your name within your niche first before you look for juicier opportunities out there. Passion for your craft comes first. 

  1. Be bold and stay on target

Regardless of niche or industry, writers will all agree that the writing process can be strenuous. It takes patience and discipline to come up with a profound piece that informs, influences, and impacts a large audience. 

Hemingway has this to say: "There is nothing to write. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." There is really no other way for you to get better at what you do than to continually challenge yourself.

Don't let yourself become rusty, and never settle for anything less than you actually deserve. All successful writers started somewhere, and they improved because they were bold enough to take on increasingly complex tasks. In order to get ahead in such a highly competitive field, you need to have an insatiable appetite for opportunities. Once you have that, you can start your hunt for writing jobs online.

  1. Build your network

As with any other career field, being a professional writer means being able to network and meet others. Subscribing to the idea that writers are lone wolves won’t get you far. You still need to find people who can help you find profitable projects. More importantly, you need to network with other writers within your niche.

The best way you can build your network is through people within your immediate circle. Friends and family members you wrote for may be able to refer you to individuals and organizations who are looking for writing services. If you don’t have too much social currency to start networking, you can reach out to social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Introducing and promoting yourself as a professional writer online is a surefire way to attract potential clients. You just need to develop an effective brand that will convince people you are the right person for their needs. 

It’s also important to engage with the right people. If you are looking to write for creative purposes, you might want to connect with publishers. As a freelance writer, on the other hand, you can engage people who are close to your target industry.

  1. Stay updated

Being aware of the latest trends and issues is almost second nature to writers. That said, it wouldn’t be a problem to keep finding ways to improve your skills and get better in the business side of it all. 

It’s important to stay informed throughout your career. The freelancing market is changing rapidly, but there is always a need for content creators such as yourself. It’s only a matter of updating your skills and finding jobs and projects that match your level of expertise. Whether you are writing on the side or building a stable full-time career in your niche, it’s important to learn about new trends so you can stay relevant in your market.

  1. Stay organized and efficient

As projects and jobs come in, you may find it increasingly difficult to meet deadlines and keep up with orders from clients. In addition to keeping up with your own workload, you need to ensure that your output matches your clients’ expectations.

The quality of your product suffers the more tasks you take in, so it’s important that you are equipped with the right tools for tracking every order that comes your way. Use apps like Trello, Evernote and Notion to organize your tasks, keep yourself from missing deadlines, and stay productive.

Are you ready to write for a living? Your talent for writing great content can help you to stand out as you build the career you’ve always wanted!