Keys to Becoming a Professional Writer

By Liternauts posted August 12, 2013

Entrepreneurship is on everyone’s lips these days. The current economic crisis along with the high percentage of unemployment and job insecurity make some people consider self-employment. If you’re in this situation and you’re passionate about writing, why don’t you become a writing entrepreneur?


Think about it for a moment – working from home, doing what you love, being your own boss, and becoming a professional writer. Does that sound like your dream job? If the answer is yes, the following list of tips might help you turn that dream into a reality.

Become a professional writer and get the job of your dreams!

1. Start today.

First and foremost, you must start today – not tomorrow, not next Monday, not next month. If you really want to become a professional writer, start now! Well ... you can finish reading this guide first.

2. Schedule your writing time.

No matter whether you’re a full-time writer or you have another job that pays the bills, you must create a writing schedule and stick to it. If you leave it for the end of the day, you’ll be too tired to write anything. Remember – now it’s your job, not a hobby.

3. Don’t get obsessed with the idea.

Expert entrepreneurs will tell you the idea isn’t as important as you think. Don’t get obsessed with coming up with an absolutely original idea for a novel because you might get stuck in the process. Think about how many novels are based on the same topic, but they are different because of the way they have been written. What really matters is that you have SOMETHING to tell, and you do it right. The most important thing is to write.

4. Develop a writing plan.

A writing plan is very similar to a business plan. It’s a road map that helps you go through the long (and sometimes hard) book writing process. Once you know your novel’s main topic, analyze whether you need to document it yourself, read similar books to the one you want to write and ask yourself why they are (or are not) successful, think about your potential readers, and study the publishing market (publishing houses, agents, self-publishers, etc.).

It’s very important that you have a deep knowledge of the publishing world and are able to calculate how many weeks it’ll take you to complete each step of your project. Short- and mid-term goals will make the process feasible and much more manageable.

5. Know yourself.

Look inside yourself and analyze your own writing. Discover your strengths and make the most of them. Find your weaknesses and fix them (or avoid them). If you have trouble doing this analysis for yourself, seek the help of other readers or hire professional services.

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6. Invest in training.

Learning how to write well takes a lifetime, so never stop training. Do whatever you need to do – read books on the craft of writing, attend lectures when you have the chance, and explore different genres. Read fiction, nonfiction, and magazines. Watch films, and go to exhibitions. Fill yourself with stories and experiences, and you’ll become a better writer.

7. Surround yourself with positive people.

This is very important. You need people who will support you and your project. This doesn’t mean they should constantly tell you how wonderful you are or how well you write. Criticism, if constructive, can be very useful. However, you must avoid the company of those you can’t rely on and those who make you feel insecure for they’ll hinder your progress. Stay away from them.

8. Look for investment.

Regarding the previous point, you need emotional support, but you also need financial help if you want to devote yourself exclusively to writing. A novel will take at least six months to a year (and after that, you’ll need more time to promote it). However, bills don’t wait for money to come in. If you don’t have any savings to help you survive as a full-time writer, ask your family and friends for support or try to combine your writing with another job.

9. Believe in yourself.

You’re a writer because you write. Whether right or wrong, you put one word after the other. So look at your reflection in the mirror and say out loud, “I am a writer!” Say it with conviction. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Why should they help you or respect your schedule? Why should they read or buy your books? This is now your job, and you must believe in it unconditionally.

10. Make yourself known.

This may sound like the most difficult part, but that’s the way life is. You must promote your own books – especially if you have chosen self-publishing. You need to make yourself known. Once you have started writing your novel, consider creating a blog or at least a social media profile where you can publish information about your work. This doesn’t mean you must sacrifice writing time for the sake of networking. Being active on the internet can be something you do to have fun and relax at the end of the day.

11. Don’t give up.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. Just find out where you have failed, and try again. This is an endurance race. When it comes to writing, you need to remember that perseverance is even more important than talent. If this is your dream, go for it!

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