Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Becoming a Professional Writer—10 Foundational tips to Get You Started

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Despite news to the contrary, I believe this is the best time ever to be a writer. Writing for a living isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but it is possible to make a reasonable income. Becoming a professional writer takes hard work. But if we’re willing to learn the industry and the craft of writing, we can find success. Today I’m going to share my tips that will help you find that success.

10 Foundational Tips to Become a Professional Writer
  • 1. We must realize that it’s a journey and not a destination. This industry is constantly changing. There’s new technology to keep up with, new trends, and even new grammar rules. We do get more experienced, but we never arrive at the point where we know everything.
  • 2. We need to be ready to make writing a priority. As I said, in the early stages of becoming a professional writer, we do a good bit of writing for free. Because we’re not getting paid, it’s tempting to think what we’re doing isn’t valuable. We let other requests and commitments get in the way.
We must invest in learning.
  • 3. We must invest in learning. This means we commit to spending time reading books and blogs. We also need to invest in classes, workshops, and conferences.
  • 5. We have to recognize that learning to write is just part of the equation. Just like any other profession, the publishing industry has a specific way of doing things. It’s important to learn how things are done and the standards that are expected from industry professionals.
  • 6. We must not neglect networking. Networking is vital in the publishing industry. We get to know editors and agents because they may one day buy and sell our works. We build relationships with other writers because we need the support and encouragement of those who know our struggles and our joys. Beyond that, other writers are a valuable resource for publishing leads.
  • 7. We cannot rely on talent to get us where we want to go. Talent CAN be a starting point, but it isn’t the most necessary component of a successful writer. Diligence, determination, humility, and a teachable heart are things that will get you where you want to go.
  • 8. We have to have the courage to try new things. To earn a viable income as a professional writer, we’ll have to step outside our comfort zone. We’ll need multiple income streams and be willing to change as the industry changes.
Learning new technology is mandatory.
  • 9. Learning new technology is mandatory. Technology isn’t an enemy, it’s a tool. And it’s one that we must each learn to use.
  • 10. The path to success is different for each of us. Falling into the comparison trap can be fatal. Becoming a professional writer takes time and hard work, but there’s no magic formula.

These are the things that I believe can put you on the road to becoming a professional writer. Many of you out there also have some valuable insights. I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!