Writing is not for everyone and is a skill that has to be worked on, developed over time to really grow into something that can be marketed and turned into a full-time money-making career. Learning how to become a writer doesn’t happen overnight. Build a bridge to get from being someone who writes, to being someone who writes as a profession.
The crucial difference between writer and author:
noun: writer; plural noun: writers
a person who has written something
noun: author; plural noun: authors
someone who writes books as a profession
As an author, marketing is key and one of the things you can do best. Share your excitement about your book and your passion for your subject to others who share your literary sensibilities and interests. It’s all too common that a novelist can manage the difficult work of plotting out a 79,000-word narrative, yet that same writer, now an author, can feel overwhelmed by the simple, mundane tasks required of promoting said book.
1. Write, Write, Write
The first step is to write and it’s best that you make sure you actually like writing. Can you do this day in and day out for a living? The joy of writing comes in the doing. Long before the editing stage begins you will learn that good writing is more than just words. Factor in spelling/grammar, flow, outlines, reader intent, tone and style.
The first step in learning how to become an author is ultimately to find the desire within you to write.
2. Earn a Degree
A degree in journalism or creative writing is not mandatory in the world of writing however it can be beneficial in developing the fundamentals of writing.
Developing your writing through internships and freelance writing can open doors to be a professional writer without a degree. Being a writer without a degree has its benefits because you can start working right away.
3. Build Your Writing Skills
All writing projects should be added to your professional writing portfolio. Your portfolio shows potential employers the kind of work and results you produce, and it could be just the thing they need to make a decision regarding hiring you. If possible, add a variety of content types to your portfolio to show that you’re a well-rounded, experienced writer.
The internet is your best friend in developing your writing portfolio. Expand your network by writing blog, articles or comments on other people’s sites. Pitch them by providing the content for free in exchange for a byline with your name and a link back to your website to boost your writing portfolio.
4. Master your author skills
by taking your writing to the next level.
Tell authentic stories and engage in a creative manner: Make your writing style unique to you.
Conduct research: It is important that an author knows what they are writing about and you must do your research about the subject.
Exploring genres: You can learn a great deal about writing by reading. You might discover that you like a particular format or genre and by reading more of that type of writing can hone your style.
Observing people and places: Many stories revolve around realistic characters and actual events.
Welcome constructive criticism: Writers groups are great for feedback. Remember that rewrites and revisions lead to better stories.
You are a work in progress: Write blogs, articles, poems and short stories to expand your knowledge of different writing styles outside of novels. Practice to identify how you tell stories from beginning to end and if it’s the right voice for the audience you want reach. Submit your stories to local writing competitions and publishing companies.
5. Write and Publish Your Book
You’re ready to sit down and write. Here are a few tips to help you progress through this step:
Create an outline: You need to know the basics of how your story will play out. Think in terms of a beginning, middle and end. It’s a basic roadmap that will evolve as you get deeper into your writing.
Set a writing schedule: You can’t finish a book if you don’t write it. Set aside time every day to write. If you have a deadline, you might use an online word and page count calculator to know how much you write each day.
Complete your rough draft: Don’t edit as you create your rough draft. You want to stay focused on the story, characters and events.
Self-edit your book: Once you finish the rough draft, it’s time to self-edit your book. Present a clean manuscript that can be read critically without distraction from errors. Read the story out loud, chapter by chapter, to see how sentences are structured and the storyline plays out.
Traditional publishing: With this type of publishing, you write a book and submit it to publishers to see if they’re interested in your work. The publishing office will take care of design, formatting and editing. The publisher typically handles all of the book’s distribution. Keep in mind that landing a book contract is highly competitive and may take many years and rejections to achieve.
Self-publishing: Many authors are choosing to self-publish their work rather than wait on a publishing house to accept it. With self-publishing, you write a book and begin the publishing process on your own. On this avenue you are responsible for getting the book designed, formatted, edited and ready for publishing. You are then on your own for marketing and distributing the book.
You Can Learn How To Become a Writer!
There is certainly a lot of hard work involved with becoming a professional writer but it’s most certainly worth it in the end. The key is to not skip the developmental writing steps. Your writing will become better the more you practice, and your writing portfolio will get more robust over time if you keep at it.