4 steps to becoming a writer in 2022

You’ve no doubt heard the terms ‘online presence' and ‘author platform’ floating around of late. But what do they mean, exactly? And are they really vital concerns for writers? Shouldn’t we be focussing solely on the writing itself? While concentrating on writing and writing alone does sound like a dream scenario, unfortunately, it’s just that: a dream. In today’s diverse, competitive publishing landscape, writers need to be on top of their online presence almost as much as they need to be on top of their writing.

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1. Decide on Your Writing Niche 

You have many writing careers to choose from. But too many choices breed decision paralysis. To narrow down your options, ask yourself: do you want to primarily do nonfiction or fiction writing? You can always do both and change niches later on. But you have to channel your efforts into one lane to make progress faster. Next, think about a narrower writing specialty, also known as your niche.

A writing niche is your area of expertise, where you are familiar with the subject matter, content requirements, and popular formats.

Each type of writing — medical, UX, or technical writing — requires knowledge of the industry’s best practices. For example, technical writers need to know the industry jargon, have a sharp, instructional tone of voice, and understand technical documentation formatting requirements. You can develop these skills both on the job or via formal training.

You can select your writing niche based on:

  • Type of writing. Journalism, academic, fiction, or industry-specific.
  • Content format. Blog posts, emails, web copy, eBook, and business reports.
  • Industry. Law, marketing, healthcare, retail, etc.
  • Your background. Personal or professional. 

By selecting a writing niche, you concentrate your effort on understanding the market better. This helps you develop the right knowledge and skill set, do better work — and earn more money eventually.

2. Practice Writing Every Day

Good writing isn’t just talent, it’s tradecraft. You need to continuously practice your ‘technical’ writing skills — sentence structure, narrative flow, tone of voice — and build your core skills to advance your career.

A good writer has:

  • Impeccable grammar
  • Rich vocabulary 
  • Strong research skills 
  • The adaptable tone of voice 
  • Editorial and fact-checking skills 
  • Interviewing skills 
  • Business acumen (in their niche)

theory alone isn’t enough to produce good writing. You also need regular practice. The point of writing regularly is to build your writing muscle. The ability to produce good writing even when you are not inspired, face writer’s block, or battle your impostor syndrome.

3. Find Paid Writing Opportunities 

As a professional writer, you have plenty of options.

At the basic level, writing jobs can be:

The first two usually come with an official employment contract, fixed annual salary, and extra benefits or perks.

Contract-based and freelance jobs assume self-employment. You are hired as an independent contractor, meaning you get to set your rates (mostly), but also pay income taxes and social security contributions.

You can also double as a freelance writer on the side while having a regular job. That’s a good way to supplement your income and progressively transition to full-time freelancing (which often pays more!).

Also, full-time in-house roles may be hard to get as a newbie. So you can try to combine writing internships with gig-based work to build out your portfolio first. 

4. Work on Your Brand

Develop a personal brand, a promotion strategy for cultivating a certain perception of yourself. The main elements of your personal branding includes- Portfolio or personal website, Social media accounts, and Online appearances.