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How to Become a Writer – A Hero’s Journey & Education

how to become a writer

Don’t fall for the misconceptions about what it takes to become a successful writer. Maybe natural talent or an Ivy League school lead to the author scene, but that doesn’t mean your narrative is less-than!

The truth is, anyone can become successful if they put in the time and effort. This article will discuss how to become a writer, plus the skills, education, and work ethic it takes to succeed. Let’s dive in and find out about this career!

What Is a Writer?

A writer is someone in their office typing away from morning until night—a journalist reporting on social topics. They have something to say, a message to share with the world, whether it’s about personal experiences or observations.

Writers also understand and communicate technical jargon, someone on a marketing team, a researcher, and a content developer. Or at least, these are fields where you might meet the most writers.

Successful writers exist in industries from creative arts, business, agriculture, science, and history to healthcare, engineering, and reporting.

Best Writer Skills

Language knowledge is essential for any writer, especially in business and legal writing. You need to know how to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. How to engage your audience. Writers can become translators, and learning more than one language can open the door to an international stage.

The ability to research – A large part of being a writer is backing up claims with evidence. Whether it’s an article on the medical field or creating a work of historical fiction, you need to be able to do research and find reliable sources.

Creativity – Writers must tap into their creative side to develop new and exciting ideas.

Top-notch verbal communication skills – A big part of this profession is communicating your ideas verbally. Public speaking is essential for interviews, pitches, and networking.

Patience – Writing can be a long and tedious process. That means it’s essential to have the patience to see it through.

Dedication – Writing takes time and effort. You need to be dedicated to succeed in this career.

A thick skin – Unfortunately, yes. Not everyone will love your work, and you’ll need to be able to handle constructive criticism gracefully.

Average Salary for Writing Careers

As of May 2021, the median annual salary for writers and authors is $69,510. The median wage is the income level at which half of all workers in an occupation earn more, and half earn less.

The lowest earned less than $38,500, and the highest earned more than $133,580.

The BLS projects the number of jobs for writers will grow by 9% over the next ten years. Every year, there are around 15,400 job openings for writers and authors.

Technical writers have it better, with an average salary of $78,060 and job growth projected at 12%. Analysts, journalists, and reporters fall behind with an average income of $48,370. Editors earn an average of $63,350, with a slow job growth projection of 5%.

Other jobs for writers that pay well include legal writing, court reporting, and public relations.

How to Become a Writer – Step-by-Step Guide

1. Be an Avid Reader

The first step to becoming a writer is to be an avid reader. Reading exposes you to different styles, genre conventions, and storytelling techniques. The more you read, the more you’ll learn about what makes good writing. And as you develop your taste, you’ll figure out which writers inspire you and why.

To become a well-rounded reader, read widely in both fiction and nonfiction. And experiment with different types of books and see what appeals to you. Your reading, habits, and understanding will expand, playing a significant role in your talents.

In addition to reading for pleasure, it’s also important to read critically. Pay attention to the elements that make the writing effective—or not practical. What do you like about the author’s style? What makes the characters and plot enjoyable? You can understand what works and why by analyzing what you’re reading.

2. Write Daily

Write every day. By making it a daily habit, you’ll quickly improve your skills. And the more you practice, the easier it will be to produce quality work regularly. This daily practice will hone your skills, even if it’s just a few hundred words.

Of course, not every day will be a winner. Some days you’ll sit down to write, and nothing will come out. That’s normal—every writer has days like that. Just keep going, and don’t get discouraged. Even the most blocked writers can find their voice and start producing excellent work with enough time and effort.

3. Enroll in Writing Programs Online

If you’re serious about becoming a writer, there’s no substitute for getting a formal education. While you can undoubtedly learn by reading books and articles about writing, there’s nothing like learning from a professional instructor.

In a writing program online, you’ll get feedback on your work, learn new techniques, and receive guidance from experienced writers. These programs typically last for several weeks or months. Therefore, they’re perfect for people who want to commit to improving their skills. Whether you want to become a novelist or a freelance writer, an online writing program can help you reach your goals. .

4. Find Where to Get Honest Critiques

One of the most important things for a writer is to get honest feedback on their work. And while getting feedback from friends and family is helpful, getting criticism from other writers is even more valuable.

There are a few different places to get critiques. The first option is to join an online writing community. These communities are full of people willing to read and comment on each other’s work.

Another option is to participate in a writing workshop or critique group. Try contacting your local library or community center if you’re unsure where to find a critique group. They may be able to point you in the right direction.

You can also hire a professional editor to take a look at your work. An editor is a good idea if you plan to submit your work for publication. They can also be helpful even if you’re not seeking publication, as an editor can provide valuable feedback on your writing.

5. Begin Journaling

Journaling is a great way to improve your skills. You will become better at expressing yourself, as journaling gives you a place to explore your ideas and thoughts.

Journaling has no rules. You can write about whatever you want, in whatever style you want. There’s no need to worry about grammar or punctuation—just let the words flow.

If you’re unsure where to start, try setting aside some time each day for free writing. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and write nonstop until the timer goes off. It doesn’t matter what you write about—get something down.

You can also keep a journal specifically for your writing. Use it to track your progress, jot down ideas for stories or articles, and record any new techniques you learn. No matter how you choose to journal, it is crucial to do it regularly. The more you write, the better your writing will become.

6. Practice Often to Become Conversational

Practice often to become a better writer. The more you write, the more fluent you’ll become. And as you become more fluent, your writing will sound more natural and conversational.

7. Recognize Why You Want to Be a Writer

What is it about writing that appeals to you? Do you enjoy the creative process? Do you like the challenge of putting your thoughts into words?

There are many different reasons why people want to be writers. But if you’re unsure what yours is, take some time to explore your motivations. Why do you want to write? What are your career goals? Once you better understand why you want to write, it will be easier to set goals and achieve them.

What Is Needed to Advance in Writing?

You need a few key things to advance your career as a writer. First, you must have excellent skills and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively through your writing. You also need to be able to work quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

Pursuing a Master’s Degree in English & Literature

One way to advance your career as a writer is to pursue a Master's degree in English or Literature. A master’s will prove your writing skills and knowledge of the English language. It will also allow you to network with other professionals in your target field.

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Publish a Book

Writing and publishing a book will showcase your unique storytelling, narration, and business abilities. A published piece allows you to reach a broad audience. Publishing a book can be long and challenging, but it will be worth it.

Start a Blog

Starting a blog will give you a platform to showcase your skills and build an audience. It will also force you to create content regularly, which will improve your skills over time.

Writing Degrees Online

An online degree is one of the best ways to become a successful writer. Aspiring writers can train in reading, researching, writing, and speaking to develop skills and learn the trade through college classes.

There are many types of writers, from creative to copywriters to technical writers. Therefore, many different paths will lead you to a career:

1. Bachelor’s Degree in English Online

A straightforward degree for a career in writing is a BA in English. A bachelor’s degree hones reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Another degree that can benefit your writing career is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. This degree will teach you character development, plot structure, and story development. A bachelor’s in English should also expose you to the business side of a writing career.

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2. BA Journalism Online Degree

A bachelor’s in Journalism program teaches you how to gather information and write newsworthy stories. You will learn about interviewing, researching, and writing for different media outlets. This degree may be for you if you want to be a journalist or a nonfiction writer.

3. Online Creative Writing Degree

A Creative Writing Degree can benefit fiction, poetry, play, and screenwriting authors. Online creative writing degrees can break off into more focused concentrations based on your interests and career goals. Students might study topics like:

  • Literature
  • Literary analysis
  • Theory
  • Publishing

4. Theater and Film Degree

A theater and film degree will teach you how to write for the stage and screen. You will learn character development, plot structure, and scene development. A liberal arts degree in theater or film may be your route if you want to pursue a career in writing plays or movies.

Special Certifications for Writers

Professional Technical Writing Certification

Many professional organizations offer certification for technical writers. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is a well-known organization in this field. And they offer the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) credential. To earn this credential, you must pass an exam that tests your knowledge of the field of technical communication.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) also offers a certification program for technical writers. You can earn the IEEE Certified Technical Communications Specialist (CTCS) credential by passing an exam covering various technical writing aspects:

  • Audience analysis
  • Document design
  • And Project Management

Business Writing Certification

While there are no specific certifications for business writers, professional organizations offer these credentials. The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) offers the Certified Professional Writer (CPW) credential. You must have at least five years of experience as a freelance writer and pass an exam to earn this credential.

The International Association of Business Communicators also offers certification for business writers. You earn the Certified Business Communicator (CBC) credential by passing an exam on business communication aspects, like strategic planning, writing, and global communication.

Medical Writing Certification

Professional organizations offer certification for medical writers. The American Medical Writers Association offers the Certified Medical Writer (CMW) credential. To earn this, you must have at least three years of experience as a medical writer and pass an exam.

The European Medical Writers Association also offers certification for medical writers. Earn the Certified European Medical Writer (CEMW) credential by passing an exam on medical writing aspects, including ethics, regulation, and scientific communication.

Creative Writing Certification

Many professional organizations offer credentials benefitting creative writers. The American Society of Journalists and Authors offers the Certified Professional Writer (CPW) credential. You must have at least five years of experience as a freelance writer and pass an exam to earn this credential.

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs also offers certification for writers. To earn the Certified Writer credential, pass an exam on topics such as craft, process, and pedagogy.

Work Environment for Writers

The work environment depends heavily on the writer. Some work in an office setting, while others might work from home. The important thing is to have a quiet, comfortable place where you can concentrate and be productive.

Pros and Cons of a Writer’s Career

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits are plentiful because writers can communicate and help others by sharing their knowledge, talent, and experiences.

Some expected benefits of being a writer include:

  • Creative Expression
  • Contributing to Society
  • Travel
  • The Freedom of Freelance
  • Dynamic Job Opportunities
  • Opportunities for Advancement

What Are the Drawbacks?

These are just a few challenges you might face in this career. But don’t let them discourage you. If you’re passionate about writing and willing to work hard, you can overcome any obstacle. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Rejection from publishers
  • Criticism from readers
  • Isolation while working on projects

Opportunities for Advancement as a Writer

Most writers start out working on low-paying projects. They then build a portfolio of writing samples and become more established, and start to command higher pay. Once you have a strong and positive reputation, you may work directly with clients rather than through an intermediary.

Additionally, companies might offer opportunities for advancement to their employees. Prove yourself to be a valuable asset to the company. You may be able to move into management or take on other responsibilities that come with a pay increase.

There are also opportunities to make money outside of traditional employment. For example, some writers choose to self-publish their work and earn royalties from book sales. Others enter into contracts with online publications to provide content regularly.

Become a Writer Today

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