Today I’m thrilled to introduce Alice Feltch, a career and productivity copywriter, who’s kindly put together an insightful post on some of the best ways to kickstart your creative writing career.
Alice will take you through some tips below, but first I wanted to share some of my own thoughts and experiences on starting out as a creative writer.
Deciding You Want To Build A Creative Writing Career
For me, deciding that I wanted to be a creative writer was the first step in me taking steps to achieve that goal. And I even went as far as quitting my job as a lawyer to do that. Let me tell you a bit about that process.
I studied law at university. Let’s just say it was a sensible choice. I enjoyed aspects of the subject but wasn’t in love with it. I did however like the challenge of writing about the law—essays and whatnot. When university ended I went into law. And again I enjoyed aspects of it, but I more endured it than anything else.
While it was clear that this path I’d forged for myself wasn’t that enjoyable, I didn’t know what else to do. In my spare time, I began to write. Comedy at first, with my good friend Ant Campbell, and then I got the idea for a fantasy novel and never looked back. I fell head over heels with writing. Now, it’s part of my daily routine. I actually get angry when I don’t get to write.
So back then when I was struggling on with my job, I decided that writing was what I wanted to do. It made me happy, and that’s how I wanted to spend the rest of my life—happy and writing.
So I quit my job and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
It was by no means an easy decision, however. For a long time, I agonised over it, and fought against the voices in my head telling me it was folly. But from somewhere I found the courage to ignore the voice of fear. And if you’re feeling hesitant too about kickstarting your creative writing career, then I urge you to be brave and do what your heart desires. For there’s no greater vocation in the world than creative writing—bringing joy into the lives of others, not just now, but forever.
And while you struggle through those early days of your career, fight the urge to give up. Ignore those that tell you you’re wasting your time. What do they know? Use their doubt to fuel your own determination. It took me years to get to where I am now. Just trust that if you put the work in, results will follow. And above all, enjoy the journey.
Over to Alice.
How To Kickstart Your Creative Writing Career
Writing is an amazing career. However, very few people get down to actually writing. That’s mainly because they believe someone could criticize their writings or because they don’t have a proper command of the English language. Let me assure you, such fears are all misplaced.
Writing as a Skill
At the same time, writing is an innate skill. It means most writers are born to be one, though you can learn and develop skills if you work hard. But one thing’s for sure. You need the drive and determination to be a writer, and some of us, we’re born with that.
Unfortunately, most born writers too never get down to actual writing because they don’t know where to start or go looking for other careers.
Therefore, if you’re an aspiring writer, continue reading. Because in this article, I will be discussing eight great ideas to kickstart your creative writing career.
Let’s begin by understanding the different types of writing skills that are always in demand. This would help you select the right creative writing career.
Types of Writing Jobs
The term ‘writer’ broadly defines all kinds of writers. In reality, though, writing is a skill that can help you make a career in different fields. You can select any of these creative writing skills to kickstart your career as a writer.
Broadly speaking, journalists such as reporters and feature writers are writers that cover news, current affairs and lots of other stuff for their employers. This writing skill requires a nose for news and a flair to present the news accurately and without bias.
A critic is a writer who reviews everything from books to liquor, food, movies and restaurants. To make a career with this creative writing skill, you’ll require a good sense of analysis and in-depth knowledge about the field. They generally work for news media and other specialized websites.
A content writer generally creates content for blogs, business websites, social media, emails and other platforms. To work as a content writer, you’ll require superb writing skills combined with a drive for researching complex topics. Working as a content writer isn’t easy since website owners and bloggers will demand various kinds of content from you.
A job as a copywriter is very attractive to some people because it can be done remotely, meaning you can work anywhere you want in the world. If you’re interested in remote copywriting jobs, you can find them here.
As the term signifies, a travel writer writes about amazing places where people can go during their holidays or for a trip.
Just like with some content writing roles, the beauty of being a travel writer is that you’re exploring the world as you work, and getting paid to do it in the process.
Travel writing is a specialized type of writing, however. It also requires a curious and inquisitive mind so that you can go out into the wild, meet and talk to new people and find those little golden nuggets that can make a travel story unique.
On top of that, you need to gain an understanding of the local culture and traditions, taste local food and tell people why they should visit a particular destination.
Have you ever bought an electronic item or an electrical appliance? The user manuals that come with these are prepared by technical writers. Generally, technical writers are engineers that can analyze various specifications and guide you on how to use any particular device. This too is a specialized skill because you’ve got to explain complex technical terms in a simple and easy-to-understand manner for the end-users.
A copywriter is someone that creates content for advertising purposes. Their main job is to write catchy and attractive content that accompanies products and services as well as ads their employers will post online or offline.
Copywriting requires a lot of creativity and superb vocabulary because you’ll have to create content that urges people to make a purchase by attracting them to a product, service or brand.
Ever watched a movie? If so, then all the dialogue between actors and actresses is written by scriptwriters. Sometimes, if a script is adapted from a book, the writers will have the dialogue laid out for them, which can make the task a lot easier.
Scriptwriting is a very complex skill because it entails understanding a scenario and creating dialogue accordingly. If you need more tips and guidance, check out my detailed guide on how to write dialogue here.
An author is a person that writes books. Nowadays, almost anyone with superb writing skills can become an author and have their book published over Kindle Direct Publishing, a service from Amazon.
As a rule, all authors- whether writing real-life stories or fiction – are creative writers. They draw inspiration from real-life events and write books in various genres. This is a superb career as it could make you rich and famous if you’re lucky.
Eight Great Ideas to Kickstart Your Creative Writing Career
Now that you know about the different skills of creative writing that are always in demand, let’s discuss eight great ideas to kickstart your creative writing career. You can adapt these ideas to suit the type of field in which you wish to write.
Read, Read and Read
I always advise people that ask me how to become a creative writer to start reading. And that’s the best way to kickstart your creative writing career too. There’re three main reasons why I ask every budding creative writer to read.
Firstly, reading a lot of books, newspapers and magazines teaches you a lot about creative writing. You’ll learn different styles of presenting an article to any employer or even for your own blog. Secondly, reading increases your general knowledge. Even if you’re reading fiction, it does add something to your understanding.
And third and most importantly, reading helps improve your own vocabulary too. While reading books, magazines and newspapers, you’ll often stumble across words whose meanings you don’t know. In such cases, you could refer to a dictionary to learn what the word means. And of course, use such words for your own creative writing.
Generally, every good writer is also a good reader. That’s because they get ideas and inspiration from the works of others. There are several benefits of reading and hence, to kickstart your creative writing career, get into a good reading habit first.
Do Lots of Research
Always do a lot of research on topics that interest you. That way, you’ll be able to gather as much knowledge as possible about any particular subject. Additionally, research will also acquaint you with spending long hours finding relevant details. And we’re not just talking about simple internet searches; anything from offline sources such as encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, books and other literature should all be considered.
Research is actually the backbone of content writing and all other creative writing. That’s because you’ve got to back up your stories with authentic sources of information. Without deep research, your creative writing skills are worth nothing: whatever you write would be vague and hence, unreliable for the reader.
Doing research on a particular topic or subject might sound boring. Actually, it’s not. Instead, doing research is rewarding and interesting because you’ll learn a lot of things that you’re unaware of. The process can also spark so many new ideas that elevate your novels and stories to new levels. So the simple act of doing research is another great idea to start your writing career.
Here’s a great guide on how to research more effectively by Harvard University.
Select Your Niche
Broadly speaking, every creative writer selects a niche or field in which they would love to specialize. That’s because no content writer or creative writer can be the proverbial jack of all trades.
At the same time, it’s also important to be versatile. For example, if you’re a content writer for an organization, your employer might require content about a field that you don’t know about. In such cases, versatility helps a lot. All you need to do is some research as I mentioned earlier to create content that’s engaging, interesting and relevant while meeting the employer’s requirements.
Refer to Style Guides
As a fresh face in the field of creative writing, refer to style guides. There are various style guides in the world that all writers use. Personally, I prefer the Associated Press Style Book, which I’ve been using since my days as a journalist. There are other superb style guides too such as AFP and Reuters, among others.
A style guide helps you understand how to present an article along with the proper use of grammar for different types of content. Using a style guide is also helpful when you’re suffering from writer’s block and don’t know how to proceed further. That’s because superb style guides will show you how to continue an article or story.
Style guides don’t come free unless you’re going to download an outdated edition online. However, your investment in a style guide would prove worthwhile to launch your career as a creative writer.
Create Own Blog
I firmly believe that every person that wants to kickstart their creative writing career should create their own blog. There are two ways to open a blog. One of them is by creating a free blog on websites such as Wix.com or Blogger.com. The other is by buying a domain name and hosting it on a third-party site. Nowadays, you can create your own blog site for as low as $9.99 per month.
Having your own blog helps you in many ways. Firstly, you can post your own writings about a subject which could be anything from a professional skill or your hobbies and passions. This helps in self-branding.
A personal blog can also be useful while applying for jobs as a creative writer. You can direct them to your articles to evidence your writing ability. It’s also possible to monetize your blog through Google AdSense, sponsored posts, paid advertising and affiliate marketing. In fact, if you’re a captivating writer, you can become a celebrity blogger too.
Make a Killer LinkedIn Profile
Creating a killer LinkedIn profile is something very important to kickstart your creative writing career. According to LinkedIn, at least one person in the world gets hired every six seconds from this networking portal for professionals.
Nowadays, employers of all fields look at your LinkedIn profile. They wish to see your academic qualifications, references and other details from your profile. Therefore, having a fabulous LinkedIn profile can actually help you launch a creative writing career.
And more importantly, you can create posts and upload them on your LinkedIn page to attract the attention of decision-makers that require creative writers.
Register on Job Boards
Now let’s discuss briefly finding work as a creative writer to kickstart your career. The first thing to do is register yourself on any top job board offering your skills from any of the eight categories of writers that I mention above.
Some of the top job boards I would suggest include but aren’t limited to Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, ZipRecruiter.com, Monster.com and JournalismJobs.com, among others. Here you can create an attractive profile and leave your contact details. Prospective employers will get in touch if they find your resume interesting enough.
You could also download apps from these job boards to apply instantly for any writing job. Usually, all creative writers have to pass tests to prove their skills. Therefore, prepare yourself to take such tests online or offline.
Look for Freelance Jobs
And finally, look for freelance jobs. There’re several top freelancing portals such as Freelancer.com, Upwork.com, FlexJobs.com and Fiverr.com. It really doesn’t matter if you’re new in the field of creative writing because you’ll have to bid for projects from buyers to get a freelance creative writing assignment. Freelancing can help you earn money on the side and boost your savings account online.
The beauty of freelancing is that once you build up a group of clients that send regular paid work you have the makings of a full-time job. You could even continue to grow and expand into a fully-fledged business by adding even more clients.
By focusing on delivering quality results, you’ll receive lots of positive feedback and reviews which will help you draw in even more clients and customers.
Something to bear in mind is that most freelancing portals charge a small fee, which is payable in advance while registering. Others charge between 5% and 20% of your income as their service fees. Therefore, read the terms and conditions of these freelancing portals before signing up. If you’re new to freelancing and want to take a risk-free approach then opting for a model that deducts a percentage of what you earn would be better. This way you don’t lose money while you’re getting established.
Also, take a look at how other freelance creative writers in your field are pitching their skills to buyers. That would give you a good idea of how to create your own profile for a freelance platform. Price your services attractively to get more buyers.
These ideas should help you to kickstart your career in creative writing with fair ease. As we can see, they are rather simple steps that anyone can follow. Of course, you’re free to adapt these to match your needs. Thanks for reading.
About The Author
Alice Feltch is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. She’s passionate about blogging and writes web content for a variety of clients. She is currently dedicated to Online Jobs Academy as a gig worker. Alice understands the benefits and challenges of the industry. Blogging about education and career regarding ideas to grow is something that she loves doing.
More Creative Writing Guides
Thank you Alice for an informative and comprehensive article. I hope you’ve learned something new! If you’d like to continue reading content of a similar ilk, why not check out my page dedicated to creative writing tips for beginners? You can also read a bit more about how to plot a story here or check out my guide on using the 5 senses in writing.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about creating characters, head here, and here’s another guide on character development. You can also check out these guides below:
- Writing tips
- Hated writing rules
- How to write romance scenes
- How to format a manuscript
- Mental health in fantasy books
- What is characterization?
- How to write strong female characters
- How to edit
- What is StoryOrigin?
- How to plot a story
- What is passive voice?
- 4 ways to begin writing a novel
- How to plan a story
- How to plan a novel
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me or join my online writing group!
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