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How To Become A Writer

How To Become A Writer

The saying is we have all got a novel hidden away inside of us. However, having an idea is one thing; having the ability to put it onto paper and transform it into a fascinating read is another.

Strangely, being a writer is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, we have all got the ability to put pen to paper and write an essay at school, but being able to change your writing style across different mediums can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to trigger certain reactions.

So what can you do?

If you’re serious about pursuing a writing career, then there are many things you need to consider first:

One: What kind of writer do you want to be?

As we just mentioned, school has taught us how to analyse texts and structure essays; however, if you were to compare the writing style of an essay against a novel, a marketing post, a report, or a newspaper article; you would quickly find that they are not all written the same way.

For this reason, you need to consider what kind of writer you want to be, so you can modify your style according:

  • Novelist – 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person, fantasy, mystery, science-fiction, or adventure… you might think the hardest part of writing a novel is coming up with an idea; however, as you can see there is a lot more to it. Not only do you need to be able to change the narrative voice between characters, but you also need to be able to adapt your writing style to different genres – something which is a lot harder than writing an essay.
  • Journalist – Depending on who you are writing for and what you are hoping to achieve, as a journalist you will again need to modify your writing style to suit your intended audience. For instance, a celebrity journalist is likely to adopt a relatable yet chatty style, whilst those reporting on political and social issues will more likely write in a formal yet informative style.
  • Magazine – Similar to celebrity journalists, should you choose to write for a magazine you will need to vary your writing between reporting stories, advertising products, and telling human-related stories.
  • Marketing – There is a big market for writers who can produce website copy, emails, social media posts, blogs, articles, etc. Each of these formats will require a different writing approach, so you’ll need to be highly adaptable and able to switch between them all simultaneously. However, if you can do that you can create a successful career working as a copywriter or a social media marketer.
  • Reports – More prominent in office environments, some businesses will hire people specifically for their ability to create business-focused, factual reports which are unbiased and informative.

Two: How can you improve your writing style?

Once you know what kind of writer you want to be and what part of the industry you want to work in, you need to take a moment to assess your writing skills and see where/how you can improve your writing.

So what can you do?

1. Writing courses – Night courses, online writing courses, college courses, degrees, or Masters… there are several courses you can enrol in that will not only boost your writing skills but will make your CV look more attractive.

Which one you go for will depend on your other commitments. For instance, if you want to continue working while you study, then a night course or an online writing course could be the answer for you, as both will give you the flexibility to learn outside of your working hours. What’s more, should you opt for an online course, you can easily complete this course from the comfort of your own home at a time, pace, and location of your choosing. For more information on online courses, click here.

Alternatively, if you’re not restricted by any work or social commitments, then you could apply for a college or degree writing course.

2. Shadowing – Shadowing at a web agency, magazine or newspaper is a fantastic way to see what the job entails and discover if it is the right fit for you. After all, you will spend your days doing more than writing; there is also a heavy amount of research, editing and sourcing involved. In turn, you will quickly discover how a first version is rarely the final version, and that you will not always please your client or meet the brief.

3. Practice – The saying is practice makes perfect and this is true of writing. Only by practicing and honing your skills can you discover if you have got what it takes to work as a professional writer.

One great way you can practice your writing skills is to work as a freelance writer and offer your writing skills to businesses. This will allow you to experiment with different writing styles and discover where your interests lie. In turn, this role will enable you to develop as a writer and become better at your craft.

Another thing you can try is joining a writing group. This is particularly useful if you want to become a novelist as you can gain the insights and advice of other writers as they read, proof, and discuss your work.

Course Recommendations:

Embark on a writing journey with our Creative Writing Level 3 course. Explore creative writing, diverse genres, and dialogue styles in Units 1 and 2. Unit 3 navigates writing for radio, novels, poetry, and children. Unit 4 delves into non-fiction and scriptwriting. Refine your work in Unit 5 through finalising and editing, concluding with Unit 6 on publishing. Join us to master the intricacies of each unit and craft your path as a writer.

Discover the essence of fiction writing in our Fiction Writing Level 3 course. Unit 1 introduces the fundamentals, while Unit 2 guides you in selecting a captivating title and initiating your narrative. Dive into intricate plots and themes in Unit 3, and learn the art of crafting vivid characters in Unit 4. Explore the significance of setting in storytelling with Unit 5, and master the creation of impactful epilogues in Unit 6. Enrol now to navigate each unit, honing your fiction-writing skills.

Three: What job do you want?

Writing is a skill set we use every day; however if you want to work as a writer you need to have exceptional writing skills and know how to correctly structure your work. In turn, you won’t have the flexibility of being able to make spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. As a writer, there will be an expectation that you know how to proof and edit your work, and that in turn, you will submit it without any mistakes.

That being said, you must know where you want to utilise your writing skills.

Luckily, there is an array of writing jobs that you can choose from:

  • Office work – As we mentioned earlier, some people are specifically employed for writing reports, creating emails, and producing offline marketing materials. If this sounds like something you would like to do, then you should consider working in an office environment.
  • Blogger – Bloggers can perform multiple roles, but primarily they are known for informing or entertaining readers. For instance, if they are beauty specialists, then their blogs will focus on testing out new products and supplying how-tos on how to do specific beauty techniques. Alternatively, bloggers can act as influencers and perform the dual role of both entertaining and advising their followers.
  • Novelist – This role is much more independent than the rest as your income is solely reliant on you getting your work published. Now, there are two routes you can go with this – you can opt to go the publisher route, or you can try self-publishing through apps such as Amazon. In either case, there is no guarantee of an income with being a novelist, so many novelists have to teach or get another job while waiting for their work to be published.
  • Marketer – All online businesses need to manage their content to ensure the right people are being presented with the right services. This means that their website content, blog posts, LinkedIn articles, and social media accounts need to regularly be updated, improved, and monitored to make sure their business stays relevant and at the top of Google searches. As a marketer, you can fulfil this role and also have the opportunity to experiment with your writing style.
  • Copywriter – While many businesses choose to hire an onsite marketer to handle all of their content issues; it is usually a copywriter who produces the content you see on websites, blog posts, articles, landing pages, press releases, newsletters, and more. However, unlike a marketer – who is also expected to sort out their SEO rankings, marketing, and ads – copywriters are solely responsible for writing the content for these marketing endeavours, and as such will have more opportunity to write than a marketer. NOTE: copywriters need to be highly adaptable with their writing style and need to be able to easily shift from conversational to informative to sales to formal at a click of a button.

What salary can you expect as a writer?

How much you earn as a writer will be greatly dependent on which of the above roles you pursue and who you decide to work for i.e. yourself or for a business. To give you an idea though:

  • Writer – The average writer earns just under £26,000 per year; however when you first start it will be closer to £17,000.
  • Author – This will all depend on getting your work published. If you go the self-published route you will see quicker earnings; however, you will have the disadvantage of having to pay a small cut to the publisher – Amazon takes a small percentage every time they print the book – and you will have no one to promote your work. In turn, you will be entirely reliant on online sales. That being said, should you go the publisher route you will have the daunting task of trying to get them to pick and print your manuscript, meaning there could be months of no pay while you wait to get chosen. NOTE: many authors only earn around £10,500 a year, meaning they have to take on other jobs to supplement their income.
  • Copywriter – The average copywriter earns around £37,000 if they are working for a big web design agency. Initially, though, you’ll be looking at the low £20,000s which will increase as you gain more experience. Should you choose to go the freelance route, your income will depend on experience and the job itself. For instance, some businesses will only pay £1 per 100 words, while others will pay £10 for a short blog. On the other end of the scale, as you gain more experience and a more impressive portfolio, you can charge as much as £20+ per hour or £250 for one landing page. You just need to be mindful that no one will accept proposals of £20+ per hour if you can’t prove you’ve got the skillset and experience to deserve it.
  • Technical writer – The average technical writer earns approximately £39,000 per year; however, like all the other jobs we’ve mentioned, you will start on around £22,000 before you work your way up.
  • Bid writer – The average salary is around £35,000 per year. This is a much more technical job as you’ll essentially be writing reports and bids for funding which will require a lot of research and dedication.
  • Marketer – With an average salary of £28,500-£36,000 (depending on location) per year, you are more likely to start on a higher salary in this role than the others where experience is pivotal.
  • Blogger – Similar to the others, on average bloggers can earn £31,595 a year; however, you will receive a lot lower when you first start. In turn, should you choose the freelance route, you will need to build up a reputation and a portfolio before you can start charging a lot for your services.

As you can see, there are many doors and career opportunities you can explore as a writer. The key to succeeding is making sure you have got the skills and the training first before you pursue a full career in it.

 

For more information on how to become a writer and complete an online writing course, visit our website today.

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