Depending on your area of interest or expertise, building a career as a writer isn’t as difficult as you might think. While the competition is stiff, talent, dedication and persistence will pay off. Here are some tips for getting started.
1. Develop one area of expertise and focus your efforts. This is where the old adage “write what you know” comes in to play. In particular, do you have knowledge about a particular industry, such as the beauty industry, or trade, such as mechanics? Use these to your advantage. Also, consider using your technical knowledge, such as in engineering or medicine, as a starting point for your writing career.
2. Learn market yourself. Marketing is a major part of becoming a career writer. If you would like to be a screenwriter, you need to know construct a terrific pitch. If you would like to be a magazine writer, you need to perfect your query letters. However, if you only did those things, you would be selling yourself short. Write some freebie or cheapie articles and use them as opportunities to get your name out there. Let everyone know that you are a writer. People will only hire you if they know that you exist.
3. Network. Get to know other writers. You might feel like you’re fraternizing with the competition, but in truth, every writer is unique and most of us are happy to pass jobs that aren’t a great fit to another writer. In addition, network with non-writers. Are you a beauty writer? Go to some beauty conferences or insider events and pass your business cards out. Again, people will only hire you if they know you exist.
4. Keep a portfolio of your work and show it off. I recommend keeping an extensive online portfolio and sharing the link freely. Also, keep a physical portfolio of your best work handy. Share both often.
5. Be extremely professional. If you want to build a writing career, the number one most important thing you can do is be easy to work with. This means, always being polite, detail-oriented and fastidious with deadlines. Learn interview well and treat your editors with kid gloves. Doing so will take you a long way toward writing career success.