It is time for another article for beginners. If there is one question I get asked more than any other, it is “How do I get started as a writer?” The good news is that there is so much work out there it is often overwhelming, and that there does not seem to be any slowing in this area…you just need to be prepared, know where to look and how to approach people. Today I am going to talk about preparing to write professionally.
Step One: Preparation
Almost every business manager or owner that you might talk to, whether in person, on the phone, or over the Internet– will want to see some samples of your writing work. Your number one priority if you want to “write and get paid” is to put together at least five writing pieces that you can use for marketing. Make them about different topics to appeal to a wider audience and show your versatility.
What to write about?
Business issues, marketing, social media, travel, autos, home, design, making money, starting a business are always popular topics. Look around a little bit on the Internet, do a few searches and see what people are interested in that you know a lot about— and write about it. If you have a blog, you already have lots of articles written; look it over and pull out your best pieces, polishing them up if needed.
Everyone has something to tell others— maybe you can teach somebody how to make graphic design logos, bake a cheesecake, make a bedroom look fabulous or give them something interesting to think about. Whatever it is, make it interesting and something people want to read; we know from studies that readers decide in about a minute whether or not to finish reading something they started… so give them good reasons to do that!
Is your righting gud?
Make sure your writing is good, and error-free. It should flow from beginning to end, and have a purpose in mind from the outset. I still remember our basic English classes from middle school– your articles should follow an easy pattern. Introduction– tell your readers what you are going to tell them. Body– tell them! Give them the information. Conclusion–Tell them what you told them, reinforce the important points.
Check your Work
Have someone with good spelling and grammar knowledge that you trust look it over and suggest improvements if you are not sure of yourself. Use your software’s spell check tool and take note of any issues that it points out. You could also check it with a tool like Grammarly that will point out grammar or spelling issues you and the processor may have missed. Of course, nothing beats having someone read over your work. Have your work proofread by another writer; I do a lot of proofreading and editing and charge a nominal fee per page. ($5 per page, or each 500 words.) If you want my help and more personal feedback, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improve your Skills
There are lots of great websites on the Internet that can help with your writing. Grammar Girl is one of my favorites as they go over a lot of the common problems that we all have. If you have issues with spelling, try this quick quiz: Spelling Quiz . To enhance your vocabulary, check out a great site called Free Rice. The site tests your vocabulary in a fun way, while also contributing to world hunger the more you use it. Win-win!
If English is not your native language, you might have some additional challenges with your grammar. See this post I wrote for help: 15 Tips for Improvement for ESL Writers.
You can also review some of the articles here on the blog about improving your writing skills and getting started writing. Try to put together at least one or two full-page articles in the next day or so. Do not agonize over what to write about at this point— just find something interesting and get it down on paper.
There you have it– the first step to beginning to make money as a writer is to write! Put together some articles, check with software, have someone read them over and critique them, and polish them up. Improve your skills, and polish them some more till they are perfect. This might seem pretty simplistic, but the writing I am discussing here and that you will find most abundant is informational writing for businesses. This type of writing doesn’t need a plot, or character development…just the facts, Ma’am!
Tomorrow, I will post the next step– Marketing, or finding outlets for your writing skills that will pay you:) We will be using those polished gems that you put together to show people just what you can do!