Seven Steps to Becoming a Writer

Becoming a writer feels like a dream job for many people, but like everything it takes a lot of work, perseverance and a bit of luck.


Credits: Bywire News (Canva)
Credits: Bywire News (Canva)

(Bywire News)- Feel like becoming a writer? You’re not alone. Everyone has a book in them these days and with the rise on blogging sites, independent news sites, and the fact that many of us have more time than usual on our hands thanks to lockdown and there are opportunities aplenty. So, if you’re looking to unlock your inner Hemmingway, here are a few steps to get started. 

1. Write something 

Writers write. Whatever you want to be, whether you’re a budding newshound, novelist or poet, get something down on paper. It will help you overcome the inertia of getting stated and help you practice your skills. It may not be very good, but it will get better over time. For now you’re just trying to find your voice. 

2. Decide what kind of a writer you want to be 

A lot of people will put this first, but step one is often more crucial in helping you find yours style and work out the best kind of writing for you. Then start looking at people who are already writing in the areas you want to and start reading. A good writer is a great reader. Every word you read can be a fantastic learning experience. 

3. Browse opportunities 

There are lots of opportunities for budding writers. If you’re a novelist, for example, you might enter a short story competition. If you want to write articles have a search for websites or magazines looking for submissions. You might struggle to get heard at a top paper, but these days there are plenty of independent sites out there offering opportunities including us. 

If you’re a novelist, your first step will be to find an agent. You can use the internet to search for literary agents in your area or use a book such as the Writer’s and Artists Yearbook. This is full of the contact details for agents, publishing houses and much more.

4. Blog: The internet offers many blogging sites such as Medium where you can get writing and find an audience. This can be good for practice and may also help you build an audience. Many writers, these days, got started blogging. The most successful perhaps was EL James who started writing fan fic online which became Fifty Shades of Grey. She is also living proof that you don’t necessarily need to be classically very good at writing to be successful. 

5. Join writing communities: There are a number of writing communities out there. This can be a good place to chat with other writers, get tips and sometimes find new writing opportunities. 

6. Research: Good writers produce good stories and these might not always fall into your lap. You’ll have to get out there and find stories. If you want to get an article published, for example, you’ll need to find a newsworthy story. Keep your eyes on the news and spot a new angle on a story others might not have thought about. 

7. Writing a pitch: Whether you’re writing novels or articles a good pitch is crucial. This is where you sell your article. Book agents tend to want a one page synopsis of your story. This can feel intimidating but think of it as being similar to a trailer for a movie. You want to show them you know how to craft a story and that it will be worth their investment of time and effort.  

If you’re pitching for a magazine you need a short pitch of one or two sentences to give them a flavour of your article, how you’ll research it and any interviews you might need. 

That’s it, you’re ready to go. However, now comes the tricky part. Writing is all about rejection. It’s hardest in the earliest stages when you’re new to the game and have no profile. Your first pitches may well meet with rejection. 

If that’s the case, don’t worry. As they say in the Matrix: ‘Everyone falls the first time’. JK Rowling shipped Harry Potter round countless agents before finally striking gold. Becoming a writer takes time, effort and resilience. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get. 

 

(Written by Tom Cropper, edited by Michael O'Sullivan)

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