Sharing a Chair
How to become a writer and get paid for it.
There is a very real difference between writing for pleasure and getting paid to write for pleasure. The difference is - motivation. If you want to get paid for what you love you need to be willing to put in the work and push yourself to promote your skills and meet those deadlines because working for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always the boss.
1. Get writing.
This is pretty obvious, but I hear a lot of people talking about how they’d love to write when the only thing that stops that from happening is the fact they aren’t actually writing. You don’t have to start a blog and give yourself a theme i.e. ‘lifestyle blogger’, ‘fashion blogger’, ‘photography blogger’ etc just write about anything and everything you love, people constantly talk to me about my ‘blog’ but I don’t have one and I’m definitely not a blogger, I just write stuff. For example, if you love to read then write a review of the book you’re currently reading when you finish — this will get you used to taking notes and jotting things down, to then compiling it all together into a legible and useful piece of writing.
2. Find a niche.
Ok so this may sound like I’m contradicting myself, it’s not necessary to only write on one subject but most writers do have a subject they feel more confident writing about and if you’re not sure then use some time to just write some pieces about your own life experiences and interests. This should then flag up a few subjects you could use as your niche to earn some money for what you love; for example I’ve written about my fitness and body transformation story as other people’s stories like this inspired me to start mine. I also write about my life as a parent and the one key thread in all my writing is complete honesty — I don’t hide myself behind words that aren’t me, and this has provided me with my niche which I am constantly shaping and refining.
3. Get Paid.
Now you’re getting to know yourself as a writer, and you are a writer now by the way, there are a few ways you can try and make some money from it.
- Register for a few freelance sites, set up a profile and start sending off some proposals to projects that take your fancy. A site I recommend is Upwork. The way this works is, because I have a niche (parenting stuff) which is clearly tagged on my profile, clients can easily search for me if they need help writing guest blogs or ghostwriting for parenting sites or articles. This is why I say it is handy to have at least one niche to use to your advantage because it enables those looking for a specific skill to find you and you may not even have to look for work (I haven’t sent one proposal yet as I’ve been sought out by clients). If you are successful and invited to interview you will most probably be asked to carry out a test article to see if you fit with the voice and specifications of the client. Another good site to check out is People per hour.
- If you are good at proofreading or have experience of doing this for other people this can be a great way to earn some extra pennies, it will also help to improve your own writing and ability to proofread and edit your own work in greater detail. You could find this work independently or these kinds of jobs can also be found on freelance sites.
- You could offer tutoring in your local area which can be especially sought after if you are in possession of a degree level qualification as potential clients are drawn to this, qualifications means academic experience of writing to a high standard.
4. Don’t be put off.
All the above is a really great opportunity for practice and should never be frowned upon if it doesn’t lead to full or consistent employment. At this point you are looking for the experience to build up a portfolio and there will be plenty more knock backs, so it’s time to grow a thick skin and believe in what you are doing. Clients will pay you for carrying out test articles and it really gives you a chance to get a grip on the process and refine your writing and time keeping to hit mini deadlines. Even if you never get work on freelance sites it will keep you working and you will earn a little money here and there for trying — more than you’d get if you were still just dreaming of being a writer, right?
5. Write some more.
Ok so maybe this is a cheat tip but it’s true. Once you’ve started writing just keep it up, maybe find some local publications or websites that would let you practice by submitting some work for free. I am all for getting paid, hence this post however, sometimes it pays to put yourself out there for free, at least just in the beginning when you are trying to find out what you enjoy writing about and how you want to go about it. Any work experience is experience and networking is invaluable to you at this point.
So if this has motivated you to get started in fulfilling your dream to become a writer then great! If you still don’t think you can do it then just write for you, that’s the most important thing because the moment you don’t enjoy what you are writing it defies the point anyway. Good luck!