6 Things You Should Know Before Starting Your Writing Career

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Starting a new career in any industry can be a scary endeavor, and that’s no less true for writing. Career writing is filled with uncertainty, more so than most other careers, but being a little more informed can help it seem less daunting. So if you’re a prospective writer, here are a couple of key points you’ll want to know before jumping in.

You Need to Read As Much As You Write
As a writer, you’re going to need to read just as much as, if not more than, you write. Reading is a writer’s way of studying their trade. It exposes you to different styles, new perspectives, and more advanced diction, while at the same time teaching you via the material that you’re reading.

You Need to Be Proficient in Grammar, Diction, and Spelling
Of course, if you’re going to be a writer, you’re going to need to know how to write well. Grammar, spelling, and diction are all extremely important aspects of writing, without which a writer cannot be successful. Luckily, there is software available that will assist you in the spelling and grammar departments; for example: Write!, which will spell check, autocomplete, expose grammar mistakes, count your words, and much more. All of this is necessary for any writer to be successful, as a writer that doesn’t follow conventions or makes many mistakes tends not to get very far.

There Is No Specific Path for Becoming a Writer
Being a writer isn’t like being an accountant, doctor, or teacher. Other careers – with predetermined degree expectations, wages, and hours – all have guidelines to getting started and advancing in that industry. A career in writing is entirely one’s own doing. You can get educated about how to write well, but that’s not going to get your work noticed. You’ll have to market yourself and prove your worth on your own. How you do this depends on what kind of writing you want to do. Every writer’s path is different, and getting to the endpoint – the point of success – is never easy.

You’re Going to Do a Lot for a Little
When you start writing, no one is going to want to invest in your work. You’ve got to prove your worth before people will be willing to spend money on you, and that can be done by offering up free work to small enterprises with the hope that someone will notice your skill. This may come in the form of writing for the local newspaper voluntarily, or starting a blog centered on your writing. You’ll start small, work extremely hard, and get paid little. But if you’re persistent, your hard work may very well pay off.

Research Is a Key Part of Career Writing
In order to write, you’ve got to know some things about your topic. This is true for all types of writing, whether business, creative, or web content. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’ll show through. For this reason, it is important to be willing to research and learn about your topic, especially if you want to be considered an expert in your subject.

You Should Have an Auxiliary Income
A career in writing can be dry, in terms of your income, as you are starting out. You’ll have to prove your worth before people will be willing to pay you anything considerable for your work. That being said, having a part-time job, or other source of income, to supplement your needs is helpful so that you don’t go into debt while trying to break into writing. Family support will work too, if available. When your prose starts making a sufficient profit, drop that extraneous income and focus on writing.

This article was contributed by guest author Daniel Smith.