Many people dream of becoming a professional writer, but have no idea how to make that dream a reality. There are a few things that you can do to increase your chances. Here's how to start.
- Get an education. Although not required for many positions, having a degree in English, communications or journalism will often help you to get your foot in the door and find jobs at a newspaper or magazine. Additionally, many colleges offer job placement assistance for new graduates and alumni.
- Define your dream. What kind of writer do you want to be? In order to take the steps to make your dream come true, you first need to decide exactly what it is that you want.
- Start small. Very few writers start out with their dream job. Be willing to take small jobs for low, or even no, pay in the beginning. Once you have some published clips and a loyal readership, you will be able to demand market value for your work.
- Dabble a bit. Once you have decided what kind of material you wish to work with, be sure to try your hand at varying genres. Not only will this help you to hone your skills, but you may come across a different style that feels natural for you.
- Never stop learning. Enroll in workshops and continue to take classes. This can be a great way to make connections and network as well.
- Find representation. Consider hiring a literary agent to represent you. Some publishers will not deal directly with you, so open yourself up to more opportunities by hiring representation.
- Grow a thick skin. Learn to deal with rejection, it is simply part of the business.Do not let rejection letters discourage you from pursuing your dream.
- Swallow your pride. Although you may really want to work for a big name publishing house, your first jobs will likely be something smaller. The huge desk in the sunny corner office may be in your future, but be prepared to pay your dues by logging some hours covering the city beat at your local paper first.
- Quitters never win. Set aside time every day to write and submit your work. If this is really what you want, you must be persistent.
- Final thought. Remember, the only difference between an amateur and a professional is that the latter gets paid. As soon as you get your first paid job, you are--quite literally--a professional writer.
Good luck starting your career!