How To Become a Writer: Courses and Careers

Use These Resources to Jump Start Your Writing Career

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Maybe you've always wanted to become a writer, but had a few doubts. Well, before you make any major decisions, consider seven things you should do and know first. Here's how to become a successful writer.

  1. Assess your writing skills. Think about your writing from an ability standpoint. In your last written communication was your wording clear and to the point? Do you understand how to evoke reader emotion? Are you careful about grammar and making words flow?

    Now give some thought to your talent. If others have told you they enjoy reading your emails, editorials, or work-related communications then it's possible you have a natural writing knack.

    But should your skills need fine tuning, don't worry. Online tutorials and community college courses can help you improve writing mechanics. You may even want to try some writing activities in your free time. 

  2. Investigate options. When you choose to become a writer you have numerous choices. For example, you can choose to specialize in creative, medical, legal, or technical writing careers. Or you can write for magazines or newspapers. Other writers prefer to focus on authoring books. Writers also work for the commercial arena where they specialize in developing marketing materials that businesses use to promote their company products.

    One way to explore writing careers and options is to subscribe to a few e-zines. is very popular because it focuses on teaching writers how to earn money writing. It also lists several paid writing markets which warmly welcome beginner writers. Another good resource is It covers everything from starting your career to expanding it.

  3. Identify your passion. It's critical you write about things which inspire you. Otherwise you can easily become distracted and lose motivation. If you have a hobby, profession, or subject that captivates your interest repeatedly, incorporate it into your writing.
  4. Continue to learn. Being a writer requires that you be a voracious learner. Early in your writing career you'll likely cover diverse topics. To sustain a generous stream of ideas, get into the habit of reading various books and newspapers.

    When you're ready to specialize, take classes, attend lectures, and join online communities and special groups who share your same or related interests. The advantage is you'll acquire more expertise in a particular area. The more expertise you obtain the more access you have to a receptive audience. This is a crucial part of the writing process (at least if you want to make money at it).

  5. Network and prospect. In order to earn how to become a writermoney, you're going to need customers. These can be magazine or newspaper editors, business owners, publishers, or people who purchase books. Networking helps you establish valuable contacts. And since it's customary for writers to work solo, networking can also keep you from becoming a new age hermit.

    < < <Writing Tips: How to find networking events > > >

    Joining a writers group or an industry association will inspire new ideas and provide career support. Find a group that suits you or start your own.

    Locate writer's resources and networking options here: < List of writing organizations > < List of internship, volunteer and writing jobs > < List of bookseller associations > < List news, writing jobs, events, and features "how-tos" >

    Networking Opportunities are also found in:
    Rotary Clubs
    School organizations
    Writing Retreats
    Trade shows

  6. Create a Portfolio. A writing portfolio is a sample collection of your written work. Its purpose is to showcases your writing ability. Having a portfolio demonstrates your professionalism and proves your initiative. It will also boost your confidence.

    Samples can be contained in a binder, on a CD, or website. An editor or client prospect might ask to see a few samples just to get a sense of your writing style.

    When you're first starting out it's understandable that you won't have any published material. Do not let this dissuade you one bit. And never apologize for a modest portfolio. However you can build a professional-looking portfolio easily by including samples of material you've written for work. These could be sales letters, PowerPoint presentations, project reports, or corporate communication pieces. Include any essays or articles that are unpublished. You can also create mock newsletters and brochures. Use the advertisements you get in the mail as a guide.

  7. Make a solid commitment. Writing takes discipline and supreme motivation. If you want to learn how to become a writer, you'll need to put a lot of time and effort into the process. Before all the romantic and glamour notions overwhelm you, give the vocation some serious thought.


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This is a very large subject since there are a wide variety of wrirting areas. Fiction, non-fiction, media, and they're all different, however your article did hit on some very good general points!

By Raven West, J.D.