Most of you may not have realised but I recently made a bit of a Career Change and have headed back to work in a more formal work setup. It’s a very exciting new direction for me and one I thought long and hard about… primarily motivated by the fact that I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than just a blogger, but also because after pushing pause on my own career for over 12 years to focus on my kids, I felt it was time to start taking the world of work a bit more seriously again. Before I know it my kids will be heading out to jobs of their own and I definitely don’t want to be left behind!
It’s not an easy decision. I LOVE what I do over here on my own platform. And after 8 years it’s finally starting to pay off when some great collaborations and campaigns coming my way BUT the reality is that it’s not consistent enough to live on! I need some guaranteed money to come in every month in order to save (and finance high school from next year!)
Anyway, this slight career change on my part won’t mean anything changes around here… well, maybe just a little bit. I won’t be able to write every day, but I will be aiming for 2 – 3 times a week. And I’ll just have to prioritise what gets preference in terms of my time, attention and focus.
With all this talk of Career Changes I figure it was possibly quite an interesting topic to explore so I’m starting a new series that will roll out ad hoc.
Questions to ask yourself before changing careers
What do you find particularly frightening in this transition?
What worries you most?
What are the benefits of this transition that appeal to you most?
What’s the worst case scenario?
Meditate on these questions for a while. The answers you find yourself giving will help you to find the motivation to move through obstacles during your career transition.
First up in this new series is a guest post about making a Career Change to become a writer.
From there I’ll see how the series progresses. I’d love to feature women who’ve changed tack and started something completely different from what they studied and worked in for years. If that is you or someone you know drop me an email!
DON’T MISS: Women at Work Interview Series
How To Become A Writer
The job market is currently in dire need of good writers. Why? Because the digital space is exploding and content is king!
According to Business Insider, writing is considered to be among the happiest careers.
There are dozens of surveys showing the therapeutic effect of writing since it allows one to delve deeper into themselves.
Another major plus of writing is that it doesn’t matter how old you are. (Toni Morrison was almost 40 before she wrote her first novel.) It doesn’t matter how close you are to retirement. It doesn’t matter if you have experience or not or whether you have had training plus there are very few barriers to entry. All you need is a laptop and the drive to just start!
The key is that it’s never too late to start writing.
So if you’re ready to change careers and become a writer, read on for some tips that should help you stay on the right path.
Tips on How To Become A Writer
Know Your Options
Saying that you want to work as a writer is a bit like saying you want to be a business person. It begs the question, ‘What kind?’. Writers are bloggers, novelists, essayists, journalists, copywriters, screenwriters, and so much more. They write fiction and nonfiction. They publish their work as themselves, or as ghost writers for others.
Before you go further, define the kind of writer you want to be. But, keep an open mind. If you’re determined to write a great work of fiction, go for it. At the same time, you might consider pursuing other writing options to secure a paycheck.
Even if you aren’t quite ready to quit your job, there are things you can do to begin your new career right now. Be proactive, and find ways to develop writing experience right now. The human brain is built around perfecting actions and processes through repetition so it’s best to just write, write, write!
Here are a few things to try:
- Look for writing opportunities at your current job. Is there documentation to be written, or policies that need to be updated? Does your team need someone to be the go to person for communications? What about contributing to the company newsletter?
- Volunteer your writing services. Check with your local library, community center, or other organization. They may need your help with emails, newsletters, website content, and more.
- Start publishing now. Many people who are hiring writers will ask for published samples. Don’t panic. There are many platforms you can use to publish your work online. com is a great place to start.
- Look for a relevant project on a freelancer job board such as:
- Upwork — A large freelancer job board that provides niche writers with work.
- Fiverr — A job board where customers can hire contractors for small projects.
- Contently — A subscription service that provides writers with work.
Connect With Other Writers
At times, this can feel like a very isolating pursuit. It doesn’t need to be. There are other writers out there, just like you. Consider joining a writer’s group. You’ll find plenty of advice, support, and constructive criticism. Even more important, you’ll create external accountability.
To find the right group for you, check out local meetups, facebook groups in your area, your library, and your local bookstore. Here are some online platforms to consider:
- org. This writing community welcomes novices and published authors. One can share their writing prompts and get feedback and constructive critiques.
- com. A storytelling platform where you can gain attention and popularity, join up with other writers and participate in their numerous contests. Wattpad is proud of the fact that some currently known authors have originally started with them and progressed into a book deal.
- Writing Bad facebook group This community gladly accepts bad writing and encourages the authors in a friendly way so that beginners do not get the “fear of cruel backlash”. They don’t suffer trolls but, as one of the members put it, “It lacks one thing most other groups have… DRAMA.”
- For a real challenge, consider joining NaNoWriMo. It is a major vehicle that motivated countless writers to actually get started and – what’s more important – finish. The supportive atmosphere and tight deadline make getting over the barrier of fear easier. Their flagship novel writing challenge is in November, but the group is active year round, and international in scope
Books on writing are invaluable. There are so many books that will enlighten you on how writing must be approached. Steven Pinker’s A Sense of Style is about language and cognition which will guide you on how to make your writing accessible and what you’ve been doing wrong.
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is witty and often hilarious. The author writes about how all writers go through hard moments professionally and how they need to confront their insecurities.
Practice makes Perfect
There’s plenty of work out there for writers, but there are also high expectations. If you want to land the jobs that pay enough to make a living, your writing has to be spot on. The most important thing you can do is practice.
It’s also wise to consider some tools and resources. These include, Canva for creating visual content, WowGrade.com for writing samples and editing help, Grammarly for real time proofreading, and Calmly Writer for distraction free writing.
Find Your Niche
Becoming a writer is a bit like becoming an actor. Say the word actor, and people visualize a movie star. Say the word writer, and people visualize their favorite best-selling author.
Most people will never become either of these things. Still, there are plenty of working actors who make a living doing what they love. There are also plenty of writers who do the same.
To become a successful, working writer find your niche. This is a specific area of expertise and specialization on which you will focus. By writing about specialized topics, you may find that it’s easier to gain the foothold you need to move forward.
Have you ever searched to buy books online? If so, you know that you can drill down into categories. Some of them are extraordinarily specific. Here’s an inside tip: The people writing in those categories are getting discovered by readers, and selling books. The reason is simple, they aren’t getting lost in the broader, more popular categories like romance and YA fiction. Find the right niche, write something great and you’ll profit.
Create a Presence
Eventually, you’re going to have to let everyone else know that you’re a writer. Writing is a business, and the best place to start is by creating an online presence showcasing your portfolio of work. Begin with a website. That should include an author bio, some writing samples, links to your published work, and contact information.
WordPress works very well. Invest in a URL that you own as potential clients will take you much more seriously if your writing website looks like www.mywritingwebsite.com rather than www.mywritingwebsite.freewebsites.com. Once your website is established, you can begin creating a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
You Can do This!
Writing is job. It isn’t a dream. Learn the craft. Practice it a lot. Associate with people in the industry. Dedicate yourself to sales and marketing. Find a specialty. Before long, you can start earning a living doing what you love.
The people who eventually transform in seasoned, high-skilled writers are the ones that put in lots of hard work. The “secret recipe” to writing success is time! Invest time and effort into developing a voice of your own. Find your style. Study the literature.
Once you have a few successfully executed writing assignments — you’ve got a portfolio on your hands, and there’s nothing that can stop you!
Linda is a professional writer and she loves to help students. She has spent the majority of her career in the writing industry, gaining experiences in areas such as editing and writing. Currently, Linda is a blogger at Studyton.com and Head of CD at WOWGrade.com. Linda also enjoys reading books and traveling. Find her elsewhere on the internet here: Linkedin and Twitter