Learn how to become a writer
Do you want to become a writer? Do you dream of writing the next best-selling book? And you don’t have any idea how to start? Did you ever ask yourself “How to become a writer?” If you ever dreamt of becoming a writer, then this article is for you.
In this article, you will learn the following:
- Who is a writer?
- What do writers do?
- How to become a writer?
- Different types of writers
- Skills required to become a writer
- Tools used by writers
- Books and blogs to read to become a good writer
The dream of becoming a writer
I was a small kid when I first held a book in my hands. And that very moment I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. As I grew up, I had dreams of writing my first novel and selling it. I had dreams of how my book would win The Man Booker prize, and I would be a writer, happily ever after.
That would be my happy ending, a fairytale.
And you know, fairies aren’t real, and life doesn’t give you a happy ending so easily.
I grew up reading books of different genres; I read fiction, non-fiction, phycology, economics, self-help, religion and what not. I was in awe with the way writers wrote their stories.
I was madly in love with the words. The way these words were crafted, the way each word meant so much more than it means. The way they controlled my emotions, controlled my tears and sadness. The way the words made me feel; happy, sad, envy, anger, disgust, and fear.
A book managed my emotions, and I asked myself if these writers can control my emotions, so can I take charge of the emotions of my readers?
And so, I set myself on a journey to be a writer.
It wasn’t easy. And it isn’t completed yet.
No one told me how difficult it is to write.
I didn’t know a damn thing about writing, yet my Facebook profile proudly said I was a writer.
I learned to write; I learned to express myself. I tried to understand people’s emotions and I started to write articles and poems and Facebook statuses.
If Facebook ‘likes’ are a measure of success, then I was mildly successful.
I locked myself in a room and tried to write. I learned a few things, and now I feel the need to share the information that I have acquired after years of struggle.
In this article, I have tried to answer few fundamental questions about becoming a writer. I have mentioned things which you would never find anywhere else on the internet.
Who is a writer?
A writer is a person who uses written words to communicate. – Wikipedia
What do writers do?
Writers dream, writers plan, writers think, and they write.
Writers write different things; they write articles, stories, short stories, novels, essays and marketing material and much more.
Each author writes different things; a novelist writes novels; an essayist writes essays; copywriters write marketing content, and script writers write scripts for TV, movies, and other video content.
To add to the list, bloggers write blogs or publish articles on their blogs.
You can choose to be any form of writer you wish to be, a novelist or a copywriter or a blogger.
The choice is entirely yours. You get to decide what kind content you want to write.
What type of writer do you want to be?
Maybe you are confused; perhaps you don’t know much about the different kinds of writers. Don’t worry; I am here to guide you and help you decide what you want to become.
The bad thing about choosing writing as a career or a hobby is that there are so many different types of writers. And if you don’t have the complete information about what each of these different types of writers writes, then you might get confused and find it difficult to decide what kind of writer you want to be.
Keep on reading this article; I have shared some valuable insights about how to become a writer.
The above examples were just a few examples; below I have shared a more detailed list of different types of writers.
Types of writers
I have made a small list of the various kinds of writers; however it is not a complete list. I am just listing the most popular kinds of writers. For a full list, you can do a search on Google or Bing.
Academic writers are writers who write for scientific journals, university magazines. These writers are researchers who research and publish their findings in different scientific journals and present papers in conferences.
Apart from writing research articles and papers, academic writers also write:
- Academic books
- Conference papers
- Research papers and research articles
Just to make things clear for the novice writer, scientists and researchers including Ph.D. scholars write and publish their findings. If you are not a scientist or a researcher, it might, however, will be tough to get published in such publications.
Novelists are writers who write novels. Novels are long stories which can contain more than 50,000 words. If you go up and check any book, it will most probably contain at least 2,00,000 words. Novels can be both fiction and non-fiction. They can provide real stories or entirely fictionalized ones. It totally depends on the writer.
The best thing about writing novels is that you get total creative freedom and you as a novelist get to create a whole new world with exciting characters.
Copywriters are the authors who write marketing content. Any content that is written to sell or promote some product or service is known as a Copy and the writer who writes copy is called as a Copywriter.
There is always a huge demand for good copywriters. The marketing industry always needs copywriters who can write eye catching, mind controlling, captivating copy.
Journalists are the most popular type of writers. They write news articles for Newspapers, Magazines and Television. Unlike other types of writers, being a journalist requires a college degree. You need to have completed a college degree in Journalism.
Article writers are the writers who write small non-fiction write-ups on different topics such as travel, food, medical, and much more.
Articles are short, mostly between 300 words to 3000 words. But in certain cases, they can be longer. Since there is a word limit, article writers have to write their pieces in a concise and crisp language.
Have you read a newspaper? Yes, of course, you have read. Have you seen a column written by a famous writer? Yes, you might have seen.
A columnist is a writer whose job is to comment on the current trends. The column can be of political in nature or humor; columns often include research and analysis on the matter of discussion.
Most Newspapers and Magazines hire experts, political or business analysts, and famous celebrities to write columns in their publications. If you aspire to become a columnist, you must have good knowledge about current affairs and be good at analyzing and providing unique insight into the story/news.
Columnists get paid well, and popular columnist’s columns appear in different newspapers and magazines around the world.
Technical writers are the writers who write technical documentation, such as user manuals, knowledge base articles, how-to articles, business proposals, press releases, technical reports, case studies, and white papers.
A Technical Writer’s primary task is to explain a product in a straightforward and easy to understand language so that the user of the technical document can benefit and understand the product better.
Blogging is a new field; it’s just been around for less than two decades. What bloggers do is write articles about the topic of their blog. Some bloggers blog about their life, like a diary, some choose to write about different more relevant or technical issues.
Blogging is one of the most popular forms of writing these days. It is quite easy to start a blog and get readers read your blog.
Was the above list helpful?
Now that you are aware of the different types of writers I think you will be in a better position to choose what kind of writer you want to be.
Think and research and decide. What type of writer do you want to be?
Do you want to be a blogger?
Do you want to be a Novelist?
Or do you want to be a hobby writer and write whatever comes to your mind?
To be a good writer, it takes a lot of reading and practice. As they say, practice makes a man (or women) perfect.
Until this point, I have discussed who a writer is and what writers do. Further, you will read about how to be a writer.
How to be a writer
Over the years I have been getting this question. Many newbie bloggers and writers either ask me how to be a writer or how to be a good writer. And I end up answering their question with a simple answer. To become a writer, you need to start to write and to become a good writer; you need to read good books.
American writer and Noble Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner once said
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
― William Faulkner
If you want to be a good writer, read and read. And William Faulkner is correct when he says “Read! You’ll absorb it” I have been reading books since I was a kid and reading books have made my thoughts clear, and I can easy write what’s on my mind.
Skills required to become a writer
For every profession in the world, some skills are needed. Similarly, to be a writer you need some skills.
What skills you might ask me, skills that make you a better writer. Skills that make your words magic and make you the next best-selling writer.
First, let us see what skills you need.
What does a writer do? A writer writes, a writer communicates using words. A writer is a communicator. A writer’s job is to express ideas and thoughts in a manner that can be understood by the people.
To be a good writer you need to be good at communication. You need to have the ability to put your thoughts down on paper in a clear and concise manner. You as a writer should make sure that your readers understand every word you write.
Thoughts-> Words on paper -> Reader reads -> Understands -> Takes action.
To be a successful and best-selling writer, you need to understand your audience and write in a way that can be understood by them.
What if you write an article, and nobody understands? What would you do then? You need to research your target audience and know them. Learn what their level of understanding and then write.
If you are good at communicating successfully, you can be a successful writer.
To be a good writer, you need to have excellent language skills. You need to master the language you want to write in.
Here are few language skills that you might need:
To improve your grammar skills, you can follow the following tips.
- Read popular books; reading helps you understand the structure, grammar, and it also helps you improve your vocabulary.
- If you have forgotten grammar then you can refer Wren and Martin’s High School Grammar, it is one of the best grammar books available in the market.
- To improve your language skills speak with people who have good speaking skills or you can watch TED videos to understand how the best speakers talk.
- Talk in front of a mirror, I know this is one of the traditional tips, but it works.
As a writer, you will need to research on different topics to write. So researching skills are essential, and you must know how to research using the internet.
The best way to research is by reading a lot of books, articles, and essays related to your field of writing. Successful writers always keep learning new stuff to stay ahead and provide accurate information to their audience.
If you want to stay ahead in your field, then you can start reading research papers, case studies, and books.
Other essential skills
Apart from these skills a writer needs to be creative, critical, imaginative, disciplined, passionate, patient, ambitious, and a good story teller.
If you lack any of these skills, don’t worry you can improve your skills.
Tools of the trade
Every trade has its tools; a mechanic has his mechanical tools like a screwdriver, a power drilling machine and much more. A writer also has his tools.
A pen and paper would be the best tools a traditional writer needs, but this is 21st century and writing is a serious job. Writers these days get to use the best in the market tools to help them write fast and better.
Below is a small list of tools a writer might need.
Note: The tools mentioned here are not necessary, you can write well with just a pen.
And let me remind you that these tools vary depending on the type of writer you are.
If you are serious about writing, a computer or a laptop will be the best tool you can every get.
Many writers love writing on paper with a pen. Writing with pen and paper is cool, but there are many limitations to it. A story written on paper is difficult to edit and proofread. With a computer, you can do a grammar check within minutes.
I know it sounds lame to mention that a writer needs a computer as most people these days own a computer, but this tip is for those writers who feel writing on a computer is wrong and against the ethics of writing. If you are that person, or if you know such a person, do share this article with them to educate them the benefits of writing on a computer.
Word processor/desktop writing tools
Gone are the days when writers used a typewriter to write stories and novels. It was kind of cool; I have used a typewriter while I was learning to type. It does feel good to use it. But writers don’t use them now; writers use word processors.
Word processors are software on your computer that is used to write. If you own a computer, you might find one pre-installed on your machine.
Below I have mentioned few common word processors
- Microsoft Word by Microsoft
- Pages by Apple
- Open Office Writer
If you wish to store your work online, on the cloud and want to use it on different devices then you can consider the following services:
- Google Docs
There are two main advantages of storing your work online.
- You can write from any device and save it. If you have a tablet, laptop, desktop computer, work computer you can access your files from anywhere.
- Your work stays safe and doesn’t get lost if you lose your device or format it. You can always use it from any other device.
All you need to is go and signup.
Distraction-free writing tools
Writing is a lonely job, and writers get distracted very easily. Hence most writers these days use distraction-free writing tools so that they can concentrate on writing rather than other things.
These tools help writers focus on writing.
Below I have shared few popular free distraction-free writing tools
Resources to learn writing
The internet is full of resources; there are hundreds of thousands of blogs about writing. If you are serious about becoming a writer, then you can subscribe to Write-Online.com.
Below I have shared few resources where you can learn to write
- Daily Writing Tips: Whenever I need some information or clarification on grammar, spellings or need tips to write better, I read this blog. It is one of the best blogs to get writing tips.If you ever find difficulty in understanding grammar rules, or if you want to increase your vocabulary, or you want to learn about copywriting, fiction writing or anything related to English just go ahead and read this blog.
- Write to done: Is all about writing and productivity tips. It is a fun place to learn tips about writing and getting a wider audience.
- Writer’s Digest: Have you heard about Readers Digest? Well, writers too have their digest. Writers Digest is one of the best places to learn about writing and getting published. You can find articles related to writing fiction, non-fiction, and everything.
You will find many short stories and long story contests; it is a place for writers, and if you are serious about finishing your novel and need help, you will find the best resources here.
- Goins Writer: I have been reading Goins Writers Blog for about two years now. This blog is all about creativity and motivation. If you ever need the motivation to write, just read or listen to “The Portfolio Life” podcast.
- The Write Practice: I found this blog when I was researching for this post. This blog has some of the best articles and ideas that you can use. Blog posts like “How to learn to write by Reading” and “How to Write Dialogue without using adverbs” caught my eyes and I loved reading these posts.
- Grammarly Blog: Grammarly is an app which helps you with your grammar. They also have a blog, where they post about most common mistakes done by the writer. If you have any doubt about any grammar rule, just search on this blog, and you can find a blog post related to that rule.
- Copy Blogger: Copyblogger is world’s best blog about copywriting and blogging. You must read this blog no matter what type of writer you are.
- AcademicHelp.net: I recently stumbled upon this great resource, AcademicHelp has a beautiful free writing guide called How to Write a Book. If you are serious about writing a book, then this guide from AcademicHelp is a must read.
Below I have shared few books that I found useful. I have shared free as well as paid books in the list.
- Writing Skills Success in 20 minutes a day written by Judith F. Olson: I found this book recently, and it is one of the best grammar books for writers. It is crisp and concise. The no bull shit approach by the author saves time, and you can learn a lot in less time. I recommend this book to ever newbie writer or blogger.Buy on Amazon | Buy on Flipkart
- Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love AND Money by Holly Lisle: I read this book almost 7-8 years ago. Mugging the Muse was my first book about writing. I locked myself in a room for days to read this book and started practicing. The author uses her experience to teach you simple lessons in being a published writer.
This book use to be available for free but I think things have changed, and the book is no longer free, it costs just $2-$3 for a Kindle copy. I still have my free copy, but I am not sure if I can share it, so guys you can either search for the free version online or buy it from Amazon
While searching for best free –books for writers I found this article by Suzannah Windsor on her blog Write it Sideways, she has listed few best books for a writer. Do check it out.
Publish your work online
Most writers are shy. They shy away from publishing their work, and many people are not confident about their write-up. People spend years asking if their content is worth getting published?
I started writing at an early age but never showed my work to anyone. I hid my poems and my thoughts deep inside my books and diaries. Now looking back, I often think it would have been good if I was open and if I had shared my work with other people.
The internet is a good place to share your writing. You can share your poems or stories, articles or even novels. Probably in the next blog post, I will share few websites where you can share your articles, essays, poems, stories and novels.
I have tried to provide every possible information in this article because who has the time to read hundreds of article just to learn writing? Well, I have read many blogs, articles, newspaper features to learn the art of writing. I am not perfect; no one is perfect. We all try to attain perfection, and we can never be perfect. We know that to err is human, but I think to try to be perfect is in human nature too.
Try improving your art, your skills and keep pursuing your passion.
In conclusion, I want to say that if you want to be a writer then do one thing; start writing. It doesn’t matter how well you write; it doesn’t matter how well or how bad your grammar is. All that matters is your passion for writing and getting better.
Develop a habit of reading and writing. Consistency is most important.
And if you find this blog post useful, please do share it with your friends and aspiring writers.
Originally posted 2016-06-25 19:55:49.