How to become a writer

13 Ways To Become A Writer In 2021

It's easier than ever to become a writer today. Here, we feature the skills you need to acquire and the most profitable careers paths available.

The writing advice and resources on this page apply to writers across various industries, niches and all types of writing. You can find resources for improving your writing skills, earning more money, and making an impact.

Writing Advice You Can Apply

If you need specific craft advice that will help you become a good writer, fear not!

On Become a Writer Today, I offer practical writing tips and advice for aspiring writers, authors, storytellers, copywriters, freelancers and more. Here's a round-up of some of our best resources so you can express yourself clearly and accurately.

1. Pick A Genre Or Niche

Perhaps you want to write thrillers, science fiction, self-development or thriller books?

Start with one.

Most writers begin in a particular genre or niche. This approach gives them confines within which to create and also helps them determine who their ideal reader is.

Read the work of other successful writers in your niche of choice, study their work and then write a piece with your take.

Writing within a specific genre or niche and for particular audiences isn't a bad thing. It increases your chances of finding more readers and earning more money as a writer.

Later on, when you're comfortable with a specific genre or niche, you try another. Neil Gaiman started as a graphic novel storyteller. Now, he writes across many genres and media for adults and children.

2. Use The Right Writing Tools

Whatever type of writer you are, we profile the writing tools all types of creatives, including authors, bloggers and novelists, need to achieve their writing goals.

If you're writing online for the first time, we also profile some of the best writing apps from across the internet, one of which will suit your creative workflow.

Discover the writing tools you need.

3. Beat Writer's Block

Beat writer's block
Anyone can beat writer's block

Many new writers worry about turning up in front of the blank page and not having anything to write about. However, professional writers have more trouble determining what to spend time on than searching for a good idea.

You can quickly solve creative problems like writer's block by reading great writing books, taking writing courses, journaling, and creating a system for capturing ideas as you come across them during your daily life.

Learn how to beat writer's block.

4. Improve Your Storytelling Skills

Whether it's an article, blog post or book chapter, the best writing informs, educates, inspires or entertains readers. Good writers and authors understand the art of storytelling. And they regularly use techniques like the hero's journey.

If you want to become a good writer, it's not enough to convey information on the page. You must be able to do so in a way that the reader finds memorable and engaging. That's why we tell stories, and that's why people read them.

Read our storytelling guide

5. Use A Grammar Checker

Grammarly graphical user interface
Grammarly is an example of good grammar checker

Many people you want to become a better writer worry about expressing themselves in the English language.

They also worry about publishing work – grammatically incorrect, unclear, confusing for readers.

You can become a better writer by publishing early and often and gradually improving your skills.

It's easier never to improve your skills as a writer today by taking online writing courses, studying the basic grammar rules, and learning practical skills that authentic writers can use, including storytelling and writing persuasively.

Read our guide to the best grammar checker.

6. Treat Your Writing Career Like A Business

If you want to write on the side of the busy full-time day job or personal family commitments, that's fine. Writing is a fun, creative, and rewarding way to spend free time.

But if you want to quit a dull day job and get paid full-time as a professional writer, it's easier than ever to leap.

You can get paid for publishing books on Amazon, working as a freelance writer, copywriter, or creating content that readers, clients, and business owners love.

Compared to years ago, it's easier never to build a lasting, profitable writing career. The trick is to become a successful writer is to treat it like a business.

Work on your craft and improve your writing skills every day by taking online courses for writers, reading the best writing books and more. Also, work on your business every day by building your brand and pitching for new writing jobs.

7. Master Self-Editing

Revise Edit And Proofread
Good writers know how to self-edit their work

Good writers know how to edit their work. They also separate writing and editing into tasks they perform at different times of the day. You can edit your own writing with the help of Grammarly or ProWritingAid. A good self-editing checklist helps too.

We also recommend following Robert A. Heinlein's 5 Rules For Writers:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you write.

3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.

4. You must put the work on the market.

5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Robert Heinlein

That said, for longer pieces of work, it's always best to enlist the help of a professional editor.

Get a self-editing checklist

8. Listen To Writing Podcasts

Microphone
Many top writers host their own podcasts

Years ago, many of the most successful writers and authors were inaccessible. As readers or lovers of their writing, we can only learn from them and their creative approach by reading their books. These days, many successful writers run their podcasts to build better relationships with their readers.

You can become a better writer by either starting a podcast aimed at your ideal audience or listening to popular writing podcasts and practising some of the lessons and writing advice you discover on these shows.

Listen to the best writing podcasts.

9. Pursue Creative Writing

Quotes about creative process
Ideas are all around you

Not every creative wants to get paid for their work. Some people prefer exploring creative writing because they like playing with words and expressing themselves on the page.

You can quickly improve your creative writing skills through lecturing and free writing. Creative writing can take many different forms, including journalling and poetry.

Practicing creative writing is also an excellent way to improve your craft, translating into meaningful work later on.

Learn how to master the creative process.

10. Practice Short-Story Writing

Writing short stories is a great way to improve your storytelling skills and practice different genres.

You don't need a bachelor's degree or creative writing MFA either. It's a good approach if you want to learn how to write without investing a lot of time or resources.

11. Conquer Your Writing Fears

Many aspiring creatives are afraid of what people think of their work, that they'll make mistakes in public, and face rejection.

If you want to become a professional writer, the biggest problem isn't what people will think of you or your work, and it's getting their attention in the first place.

Chances are an editor or even a reader will call you out on a typo or a mistake in your work at some point. But, the days of mistakes set in print permanently are over.

You can easily find, fix and rewrite these stakes and then move on. It's better to learn from your failure than be held back by a fear of writing.

Editors of popular publications will reject or even ignore your pictures, but that doesn't mean you should stop trying to gain a foothold in the market. Everyone has to start somewhere. Twelve different publishers rejected the author JK Rowling

Learn how to your writing fears.

12. Abandon Perfectionism

When I started writing, I spent hours every evening for months revising the same sentences. I wanted them to sound perfect, but no matter how many times I edited and rewrote them, I always found room for improvement.

If you want to find success as a writer, abandon pursuing perfectionism. It's simply procrastination in disguise.

By all means, write and publish something you’re proud of, but if perfectionism is holding you back from pitching an editor, publishing an article or writing a book, you're doing yourself a disservice.

It's better to get feedback about a piece of finished writing from an editor and readers about your craft than working on a single story endlessly. That way, you can improve as a writer, and you can also take on more writing projects.

Learn how to beat procrastination

13. Learn How To Use Jobs Boards

Flexjobs is an example of popular jobs board

If you want to find paying work fast or to see what opportunities exist for professional writers, browsing jobs boards is a great way of getting a feel of the market.

You can see the different types of publications and websites looking for writers, what type of niches they operate in, and potentially how much they pay.

UpWork and The ProBlogger jobs board are both good resources for aspiring content creators, bloggers and anyone who wants to break into a particular market or niche.

If you're ready to take your writing career more seriously, you consider signing up for premiums jobs for service like FlexJobs.

Apply for many different writing jobs as editors can take a long time to get back to you, if at all. Plus, supplement your job applications by building relationships directly with editors on Twitter.

Find the best writing jobs.

The Most Profitable Writing Careers

Writers can pick from a variety of career paths. You don't need to confine yourself to one either. For example, an indie author can easily supplement their income by blogging or freelance writing.

We cover some of the options available.

1. Try Freelance Writing

What is guest blogging
Freelancing is a good career path for new writers

The easiest way to earn money as a professional writer is to become a freelance writer.

If you're comfortable working the written word, it's relatively easy to find clients and produce content for them.

You can find work as a freelance writer and earn a couple of hundred dollars each month while working another day job. Many new writers find it's relatively easy to make money on Medium.

When you've an established profile, more opportunities than ever exist for freelance writers today like Writer Access or UpWork.

Become a freelance writer.

Listen to the story of freelance writer Zulie Rane.

2. Become A Content Writer

The internet thrives on content. A content writer produces articles, ebooks, guides, PDFs and even social media posts for clients. They also understand the basics of search engine optimisation, and they get paid well for doing it.

If you want to become a content writer, pick an industry or niche related to your hobbies, skills, or interests.

Then, start related informational articles on a website you own. Alternatively, set yourself up as a professional content writer and work with clients. A content writer gets paid anywhere from two to ten cents a word.

Want to get started? Practice these content writing exercises.

3. Become A Copywriter

A copywriter writes words that sell products and services and usually for business owners or clients.

Copywriters are paid more than traditional freelance writers because it's a particular skill set requires understanding what customers want and translating their needs into persuasive copy.

Copywriting is an excellent skill to learn because even if you move on, knowing how to write effective copy will help you sell more of your digital products, courses and books. A good copywriter can easily earn over six figures a year writing sales pages, email funnels and other content.

Become a copywriter

4. Start A Blog

Start a blog
Starting a blog takes time to pay-off but the rewards are immense

If you're comfortable with the written word, start a blog.

Blogging is a long-term project, and it takes many months to pay off.

You can make a name for yourself by guest posting on popular websites in your niche and by building an email list.

Then, when your blog starts to attract website traffic, start blogging on your site and cultivate a loyal relationship with readers. Starting a blog is also a good approach if you plan to go from blog to book.

Start a blog

5. Write Fiction

Fiction writers can get paid to write by entering writing competitions or by publishing books.

Indie novelists earn a good living by writing a series and building their back catalogue. Some of the bestselling genres include romance, mystery, and thrillers.

Even if you're going down the traditional publishing route, it's still a good idea to learn the basics of book marketing as book promotion is up to the author.

So, get comfortable with approaches like advertising on Amazon, email marketing and building an author website.

6. Self-Publish A Book

The Art of Writing a Non-Fiction Book
You can self-publish a book with some hard work

Years ago, writing and publishing that first book meant finding a book agent and getting accepted by a book publisher. Even then, success wasn't guaranteed.

Now, it's easier than ever for anyone to write and self-publishing their first book, thanks to Amazon Kindle and other self-publishing options for creatives.

Once you understand the costs of self-publishing a book, you can get paid as an author of fiction or non-fiction books.

If you learn the basics of advertising, expect to earn between $250 and $1000 from your first book. Publish on Amazon and you will earn up to 70% royalties on your book. Traditionally published authors make between 10% and 12%.

Learn how to write a book.

7. Turn Your Non-Fiction Book Into A Course

If you want to earn a living writing non-fiction books, it's certainly possible. However, many successful non-fiction authors don't rely solely on a book to make a living writing.

Their non-fiction books build credibility for their work as a coach, teacher or creative entrepreneur.

Creatives can turn many of the ideas inside of the non-fiction book into an online course. Alternatively, if you enjoy blogging, try going from blog to blog to earn a good living from your writing. Online course sells for anywhere between $49 and $2000 plus, depending on the audience and niche.

Learn how to turn your writing into a course.

8. Write For A Magazine

Writing for a magazine is considered a prestigious writing gig. It's appealing to see your name in print in a magazine in the shop.

Up until a few years ago, many magazines paid their freelance writers enough to live on. Thanks to the internet, it's much harder for a magazine to break even. As a result, many magazines cut rates for freelance writers and magazine gigs are drying up.

What's more, many readers are more likely to read articles online than in a traditional magazine. If you still want to write for a magazine, establish a personal brand.

Build up a portfolio of writing articles, and put them on your website. This approach may mean writing for free for a short period.

Next, find a few magazines in your niche and learn how to pitch an editor with good ideas. That said, you're unlikely to earn a good full-time living by writing solely for magazines. It's much easier to earn a good living writing online.

A magazine writer usually gets paid by commission, per piece or by word. Rates range from ten cents upwards.

9. Become A Technical Writer

Technical writing involves writing up procedures, informational articles, checklists, documentation and other literature products, services and internal company processes.

As writing careers go, it pays relatively well as a subject matter can be complex if dry.

A technical writer understands how to break down complex ideas and tasks into step-by-step processes, checklists and procedures that anyone can follow.

Thanks to the proliferation of software as a service and working from home opportunities, an aspiring technical writer can easily build a lucrative career from their home office.

Technical writing is good springboard into other types of writing, for example, copywriting, content writing, and writing for experience design.

A technical writer's salary starts at under $40,000 but experienced senior technical writers can earn six figures a year.

10. Become A Children's Book Author

Becoming an author of a thriller or mystery book or contemporary fiction involves writing thousands of words over the course of several months, to say nothing of revising and reworking the manuscript prior to publication. But, a good children's book usually isn't longer than a few hundred words.

These authors rely on a captivating hook to gain readers' attention and on compelling imagery that illustrators can turn into pictures and other graphical elements.

If you enjoy reading children's books, have kids or like simple but memorable stories, writing a children's book is a good way to become an author without necessarily quitting your day job.

11. Become A Ghost Writer

Many of the bestselling titles you see on bookshelves by celebrities, entrepreneurs, politicians and public figures aren’t written by the person on the cover. A ghostwriter interviews the author and turns their life story and key ideas into a book in many cases.

Or they take a manuscript or early drafts created by the public figure or celebrity and rewrite it until it’s publishable. Becoming a ghostwriter is a lucrative career.

Still, it involves understanding how to interviewer people, translate life experiences into stories without losing some of the tone of voice and knowing how to write a book.

According to Salary.com, a ghostwriter can earn anywhere between $23,834 to $61,704 per year.

12. Join The Medium Parter Progam

How to make money on Medium
Medium pays writers for self-development articles and other niches

The Medium Partner program pays writers each month for writing and publishing articles about entrepreneurship, personal development relationships, and other topics. Anyone can join.

About 6.4% of writers on Medium earn over $100 per month. That is a small percentage and those are full-time writers. They get featured on the homepage.

Read our guide to Making Money on Medium

Listen to advice from a top Medium publication owner

13. Start a Newsletter

Newsletters are a tried and tested monetisation method for content creators. They're ideal for writers too. You don't need to worry about any of the technical parts of running a website, assuming you're comfortable promoting your newsletter to attract subscribers.

Learn how to start a newsletter readers love.

Listen to an interview with Substack founder Hamish McKenzie

About Us

Bryan Collins headshot

My name is Bryan Collins, the founder of Become a Writer Today. I work with other writers to publish content that will help you earn a living, make an impact and share your stories with the world.

How to Become a Writer: FAQ

What Does It Take To Become A Writer?

Learn how to tell compelling stories that readers find inspiring, entertaining, educational or informative.
Write every day and work on improving your craft. If you want to get paid to write, spent part of the day working on your business.

Also, consider what type of writer you want to become. Do you want to write fiction or non-fiction? Would you like to get paid for freelance writing, copywriting for blogging? Or perhaps you want to self publish books on Amazon?

It's all possible with focus and hard work.

Do You Need A Degree To Become A Writer?

Some aspiring writers wonder if they need to get a bachelors degree or even an MFA in English for creative writing.

Take it from a professionally trained journalist: an academic program can certainly help you improve your English and storytelling skills, but it's not a replacement for doing the work.

Anyone can become a writer, no matter their education. Many authors, like JK Rowling and Roald Dahl, didn't pursue formal training, like a creative MFA, and they still found success as a writer.

How Can I Get Started As A Writer?

Sit down at a desk and eliminate all distractions and interruptions. Open up your word processor or even get a piece of paper and a pen.

Now, get a timer and start writing about whatever is on your mind for 15 minutes or until you produce 300-words. Don't stop to question yourself or edit your work.

Your job is to get words out of your head and onto the blank page. (Hint: Use the Pomodoro Technique to Write). The following day, repeat this process. Keep going for several days, gradually building up your word count and time spent writing training.

By turning up consistently, you'll learn more about the types of writing you're good at and cultivate the discipline it takes to create regularly.

Once you've created a consistent writing routine, you can take the next step: writing stories, building a freelance writing career or blogging.

Join over 15,000 writers today

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