Learning how to become a writer can introduce you to many different career paths. Becoming an online writer is different from becoming a journalist. You can also become a creative writer, book writer, or another type of writer.
The steps to become a writer will likely be similar for some types of careers. However, others will have different requirements. Let’s look at some of the types of writers and some of the steps for how to become a writer.
Common Types of Writing Careers
1. Freelance Online Writer
As a freelance online writer, you will likely provide blog posts, web page copy, and other online forms of content. This type of writer doesn’t need a degree or even experience to get started.
You can become an online writer with a few good samples. It’s not hard to find clients with many different freelance sites offering work for decent writers. With a strong understanding of the English language and good conversational writing skills, you can become a freelance online writer.
2. Creative Writer
A creative writer will likely provide stories in a specific genre. While you can certainly self-publish your work, you might also provide short stories for publications.
Creative writers will likely need a degree, but not in every case. You will want to focus on one or two genres. Most creative writers work in science fiction, fantasy, romance, literary fiction, horror, or action and adventure.
With so much self-publishing happening today, you can become a creative ghostwriter, too. Some writers offer this type of service online through freelance websites. You will do the writer and get paid upfront or once the work is done. Then, the purchaser of the content will publish it under their name.
As a ghostwriter, you won’t have to worry about selling books or stories. You get paid to write the story. Your pay isn’t dependent upon how many copies are sold.
If you want to work as a journalist, you will need a college degree. This type of writer will provide newsworthy stories and articles for publications. You might provide stories for online publications, newspapers, magazines, or other types of publication.
Many journalistic writers work freelance. They might provide articles for a few magazines or publications regularly. This type of writing position can also lead to an editing position or a supervisor type of role.
4. Grant Writer
As a grant writer, you will help those seeking funding get the funding they need. You will likely work with non-profit organizations and help them write their applications.
This type of writing career will likely require a college degree. You will need to develop technical writing skills to become a grant writer.
As a copywriter, you will work with providing content that will help sell a product or service. Copywriters often work online and provide the copy for landing pages. They will also provide copy for sales pages.
This can be a very lucrative field if you can write strong copy. While some copywriting positions will require a degree, others won’t. You can also become a freelance copywriter, which won’t require a degree.
A columnist is similar to a journalist as you will write for a magazine, newspaper, or online publication. However, you may write a regular column on many different topics. Columnists often provide opinion pieces for the fashion industry, politics, or sports.
You will need a bachelor’s degree and experience to become a columnist. A higher degree may help you land a better job as a columnist.
7. Proposal Writer
As a proposal writer, you will provide proposals for businesses. These proposals will help your employer secure contracts. They will need to be persuasive documents and show how your employer can benefit the client.
A bachelor’s degree is often required for this type of writing career. You may work in healthcare, politics, for a non-profit, or for a business as a proposal writer.
As a novelist, you will create nonfiction or fiction books. You will likely write in a specific genre. Some novelists write biographies, while others come up with fictional stories. This type of writer may need to find a publisher, or go the self-publishing route.
How To Become a Writer in 5 Steps
Step #1 – Develop Good Writing Skills
Regardless of the type of writer you want to become, you need to develop good writing skills. This may be done through gaining the right education, but also through regular practice. No matter the type of writing you want to go into, work on it regularly.
For example, if you want to become a creative writer, start coming up with your own stories. Even if they never get published, developing your skills can be done by writing stories regularly. Those looking to go into journalism can write for a school newspaper or start a blog.
Step #2 – Read Often
While reading may seem like the opposite of writing, it’s important to develop better writing skills. When you read different books, articles, and stories, you will start to pick up on writing styles. This can help you to develop your own style of writing.
Step #3 – Get a Degree (optional)
You will likely need to get a degree to enter some of the more common writing careers. Even if you work as a freelance online writer, a degree in English, journalism, or writing can help give you credibility.
A bachelor’s degree is necessary for some writing careers. You might need a master’s degree to reach the top of your career as a writer. It will depend on the type of writer you want to become.
Even if you don’t get a degree, taking writing classes can help. This can be a good way to develop your writing skills.
Step #4 – Create Samples
It’s hard to land a writing gig without some type of portfolio. You need published work to land writing jobs. This could include work you’ve written for your own blog, as a guest blogger, for your school newspaper, or for any other publication.
If you have no writing samples, create a few. Those trying to become online writers should create a few samples in the niches they want to write about. For example, if you want to write about real estate, create a few samples about different real estate topics.
Your samples are the start of your portfolio. As you write for paying clients, you can add even more to your portfolio.
Step #5 – Join Writing Communities
There are several online writing communities you can join. These communities can help you find paid writing work and help you develop your skills.
Look for Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, forums, online message boards, and other writing groups. you might even find some networking events or local writing groups to join.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Writer
How much can I make as a writer?
If you learn how to become a writer, you can make a good salary. Your pay will be determined by the type of writer you become, your experience, and who you work for. Freelance writers tend to have the opportunity to set their own rates and determine how much they make.
Some of the types of writers and their salaries, according to Indeed.com include:
- Author – $18.25 per hour
- Content writer – $17.55 per hour
- Freelance writer – $19.43 per hour
- Grant writer – $43,204 per year
- Technical writer – $33.57 per hour
- Journalist – $39.09 per hour
While these numbers might be accurate, to some extent, the online world makes it possible to earn quite a bit more as a writer.
Should I create a writer’s website?
A website for your writing is a great way to host your portfolio and market yourself online. You may want to create a writer’s website if you plan to do online writing of any sort.
Profiles on websites, such as LinkedIn and Contently can help, too. A website gives you the flexibility to market yourself and show off your writing, however.
Can I work from home as a writer?
Yes, many writers work from home. Whether you work as a freelancer or for an employer, you will likely be asked to work from home. Even if your employer doesn’t ask you to work from home, this is a career you can likely get permission to do from the comfort of your home.
There are many career opportunities if you learn how to become a writer. Many writers work from home and provide blog posts, web page copy, and other online content. They might work for one client or employer, or they may work freelance for many clients.
If you want to become a writer, it’s best to figure out the type of writer you want to become. Then, create your own set of steps to follow to enter that career. Some writing careers require a degree, while others you can start with just good writing skills.