How to be a successful writer and make a living from it
Unleashing your creativity and getting paid for it sounds great, doesn’t it? Being a writer is an exciting profession that many people would like to pursue. However, sometimes activities with an artistic component, such as that of writers, are associated with insecurity and uncertainty, so few dare to go down this path.
While some authors write best sellers and sell thousands of books, others are unable to generate enough income to maintain their standard of living. So you’re probably asking yourself the million dollar question: can you make a living from writing? Our answer is yes, as long as you are willing to train yourself in this area and acquire a series of habits to tip the scale of success in your favor.
If you’ve ever been ‘bitten by the bug’ and fantasized about being a writer, read on because we’re going to tell you everything you need to know to make a living from writing.
What does it take to be a writer?
If you wonder if you can write a book without being a writer, the answer is yes. Just think that all authors had their beginnings.
To make a living from writing, the first thing you have to know is what kind of writer you want to be: would you like to write crime novels or maybe you prefer to be a blogger? There are more professional profiles in this area than you think: screenwriters, columnists, journalists… Or maybe you can write the next advertising slogan for a worldwide known brand, and for that you would have to be a copywriter. As you can see, you have many options to achieve your dreams.
If you’re still not sure what kind of writer you want to be, it’s best to take the time to think about it because it can make all the difference. Be honest with yourself and choose what you would really be happy with.
Once you are clear on this point, we can start creating those good habits that will lead you to success, such as reading and never stop practicing. And it goes without saying that a good dose of perseverance and patience will help you a lot.
What to study to become a writer?
One of the most frequently asked questions is: what do you have to study to become a writer? And the answer is not concrete. The first thing is that there is no specific career to be a writer. In fact, anyone who wants to can write and publish a book.
It is true that studies related to philology, language and literature or journalism can help you develop written communication skills, but in no case are they a prerequisite.
Rather than studying one degree or another, what almost all writers have in common is that they have been trained in this discipline, by completing a university degree and a master’s degree, or by enrolling in training programs, courses or workshops. This way you will learn techniques and methods that will help you to write. The possibilities are very broad, so we recommend that you focus on the genre that interests you most, for example, poetry, novels, creative writing, etc.
Steps to be a good writer
Just as there is no specific degree to be a writer, there is no single path. However, there are a number of steps you can take to become a successful writer.
Read a lot and about everything
This is fundamental to be a writer. Reading will not only enrich you as a person and enhance your creativity, but you will also see what resources other writers use. What are the most common plots, what ideas work best, how rhetorical figures are used, etc. To write stories you first have to have them in your head, so the more you read, the more imagination you will have.
Also, depending on the genre you read, you will expand your vocabulary. It’s almost impossible not to learn something new when you’re reading, isn’t it. Maybe you’ll read an idea that triggers a ‘click’ in your head – let yourself explore and discover!
Write every day
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you want to be a writer you have to start writing every day. If you haven’t gotten into the habit yet, you can start with a few paragraphs. Think that 100 words a day is 36,500 words a year. If you find it hard to write a lot, you can start there.
Reserve these minutes for yourself and give free rein to your imagination. For example, you can write while you travel on the subway or train, when you have your first coffee in the morning, or during your lunch break at the office. Any time is good! You may find it more difficult at first, but don’t worry about that, you’ll get better with practice.
Ask for opinions
Have you written a few poems on the subway? Don’t just leave them in your drawer, show them to a friend, family member, co-worker or significant other. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Informed and constructive criticism is the best help you can get, as it will give you another point of view you hadn’t considered.
Don’t wait until you have a great work like that of the literary greats to show it. Any time is the perfect time to find out how people receive that text. If later you consider that it is not good enough, don’t worry, you can improve it or write it again.
Write it all down on your notepad.
How many times have you had a brilliant idea and then forgotten it? This happens more than we think. To be a writer you will need to carry a notepad with you at all times, either physical or digital. Don’t let any idea slip away!
If you find yourself in a place where you can’t write, you can always take out your cell phone and jot down a few words. As an extra tip, file all those notes away for when you need new ideas one day. Don’t let any of them slip away because they can make a great story.
As we said before, training is essential to improve. There are courses and workshops of all kinds. For example, you can improve your grammar and spelling to polish your writing. Or put into practice narrative resources that you have never dared to use before.
There are also courses in which you learn to use techniques and resources to tell better stories. Experimenting with all this will help you to know yourself better as a writer and, therefore, you will be able to evolve.
5 tips to become a writer
Congratulations. If you’ve made it this far, it’s because you really want to make a living from writing. So we’re going to give you some extra valuable tips that will help you become a writer. In addition to the steps we just mentioned, working on these areas will inspire you to write good texts.
1. Practice creativity
In addition to starting to write every day, it is good to develop your creativity and this can be done in many ways. For example, open your mind and don’t close yourself to trying new things, whether it’s a dish in a restaurant or changing your route home.
Surrounding yourself with other people and listening to them is something very easy and enriching because it will give you another perspective on life. It would also be interesting to attend cultural events such as theater, opera or museums.
2. Don’t forget the literary genre
At this point you will already know very well what kind of writer you want to be and what literary genre will allow you to express your ideas better. As an author, feel free to experiment, but don’t forget what category you are writing in, especially at the beginning. Remember that when a reader decides on a particular literary genre, he or she expects to find certain resources in it.
3. Be yourself
It may sound cliché, but being yourself will make your readers fall in love with your writing. Sometimes, authors, especially beginners, are afraid to take a stand (themselves or their characters) on any topic so that the reader does not find themselves in a confrontation. Don’t forget to convey the key ideas you have in mind, and don’t make the mistake of not going too deep or defining your discourse too much because, remember, you can’t please everyone.
4. Publish your book
Publishing a book is usually the most exciting moment for a writer. It closes one stage (writing and revision) and opens a new one (promotion and sale). Once the work is written and reviewed by all the necessary people, it is time to publish. And also to register, which brings us to the last point.
5. Register your book
This time we have left the most important thing for last. Registering a book will allow you to prove the authorship of the work you have written. It is a fundamental step to safeguard your rights as a writer. And although it may seem a very complicated bureaucratic issue, it is much easier than you think. At Safe Creative you can register your literary work in just a few minutes and online.