by Edie Melson, @EdieMelson
Despite news to the contrary, I believe this is the best time ever to be a writer. Writing for a living isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but it is possible to make a reasonable income. Becoming a professional writer takes hard work. But if we’re willing to learn the industry and the craft of writing, we can find success. Today I’m going to share my tips that will help you find that success.
10 Foundational Tips to Become a Professional Writer
1. We must realize that it’s a journey and not a destination. This industry is constantly changing. There’s new technology to keep up with, new trends, and even new grammar rules. We do get more experienced, but we never arrive at the point where we know everything.
2. We need to be ready to make writing a priority. As I said, in the early stages of becoming a professional writer, we do a good bit of writing for free. Because we’re not getting paid, it’s tempting to think what we’re doing isn’t valuable. We let other requests and commitments get in the way.
3. We must invest in learning. This means we commit to spending time reading books and blogs. We also need to invest in classes, workshops, and conferences.
4. We shouldn’t expect to get paid for everything we write. I don’t recommend working only for free, but in the beginning, it’s the way we prove our ability and gain valuable experience. Think of it as unpaid internships.
5. We have to recognize that learning to write is just part of the equation. Just like any other profession, the publishing industry has a specific way of doing things. It’s important to learn how things are done and the standards that are expected from industry professionals.
6. We must not neglect networking. Networking is vital in the publishing industry. We get to know editors and agents because they may one day buy and sell our works. We build relationships with other writers because we need the support and encouragement of those who know our struggles and our joys. Beyond that, other writers are a valuable resource for publishing leads.
7. We cannot rely on talent to get us where we want to go. Talent CAN be a starting point, but it isn’t the most necessary component of a successful writer. Diligence, determination, humility, and a teachable heart are things that will get you where you want to go.
8. We have to have the courage to try new things. To earn a viable income as a professional writer, we’ll have to step outside our comfort zone. We’ll need multiple income streams and be willing to change as the industry changes.
9. Learning new technology is mandatory. Technology isn’t an enemy, it’s a tool. And it’s one that we must each learn to use.
10. The path to success is different for each of us. Falling into the comparison trap can be fatal. Becoming a professional writer takes time and hard work, but there’s no magic formula.
These are the things that I believe can put you on the road to becoming a professional writer. Many of you out there also have some valuable insights. I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.
Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has a passion to help those who are struggling find the God-given strength they need to triumph through difficult circumstances. She’s written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers.In addition you can find her sharing articles on the military family blog at Guideposts.org. She’s also the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.