Make yourself Into a Writer

by Chris Jackson

So you want to be a writer? Not a bad idea. Writing for a living can be lucrative, creatively fulfilling and even fun. But, how do you become a writer?

We'll take it for granted that you can read and write. We'll assume you know about punctuation, grammar and spelling. So now what?

The best way to start a writing career is by writing. Seems obvious, but the real question is, "What do I write?" -- Write anything!

When you're watching TV and you see a commercial that is unbelievably stupid, rewrite it. If you're reading a magazine or newspaper and come across an article you think is poorly written, rewrite it. Make up your own advertising slogans and jingles. Rework junk mail brochures before you throw them away. All of these examples will help improve your skills and build your portfolio.

Remember that most people hiring writers are looking for someone who can create different "voices", or write from different perspectives. Write a sales letter describing a new product to men. Imaging they're between 25 and 35. Now rewrite that letter to sell the same product to women who are over 40. The ability to tailor your writing style to a variety of audiences will make you much more employable.

With every piece you write, you should know who you're writing to and what you want them to do before you start writing. You would be surprised at how effective you can make your writing by remembering this tip. Your clients will be paying you to get their customers to do something, so your writing needs to make clear what your readers need to do.

Writers who have been working for a while will always have examples of projects they started writing which were never used. Think of your own early work like this. It is not important whether or not your writing is actually used by a client. You just need to have examples of your skills to show prospective clients.

If you begin to look for them, you'll find a million projects that will increase your writing skills and build your portfolio. Then you can take that portfolio with you to agencies and interviews and get a writing gig. Then suddenly, you're a writer!

Chris Jackson - Communication Specialist