Three tips if you want to write professionally (or semi-professionally)

Today’s article is short and sweet and was inspired by a discussion at a recent session of the London Writers’ Meetup. I hope you find these suggestions useful if you want to write professionally.

Writing is a craft

It takes a while to master it, so don’t expect success from just one piece of work.

Keep writing, keep honing your craft, and build up a portfolio of work. However, if you only have one piece of work, don’t use this as an excuse to not share it. Sharing your work is all part of the process. It helps you build confidence and resilience, which we need to succeed. So start sharing immediately. 

Develop a social media presence

Don’t wait until you’ve finished your work in progress. And don’t panic – this doesn’t have to take over your life! You can start small (with just one social media platform at first).

Sign up for Twitter (or Instagram), join writing groups on Facebook or Linkedin, connect with writers, publishers, producers, agents – see what sort of things they tweet and share. Pay close attention to the ones who share useful content. Have a look at their bios, be brave – and start sharing things of your own. It may feel weird at first but ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’ It does get easier with practice. 

Image by Gerd Altmann

Develop a track record

This is easier than it sounds. But you do need some sort of reputation if you want to write professionally and be taken seriously by agents, publishers and producers.

What do I mean by a track record? Get shortlisted for competitions. You don’t have to win, and you don’t have to enter the most high-profile competitions. Start where you are right now and build up. Getting shortlisted, even for a small competition, is a real confidence booster – it will give you the courage to keep writing. And it’s something to put on your CV!

Also, try and get some of your work published or produced. If you’re a screenwriter, start by writing short films and sketches and then seek out producers and directors who might want to make them. For those who write prose, try to get short stories or poems (if you write them) published anywhere you can. 

If you’ve started out in the self-publishing field, but now want to get traditionally published – ask for reviews of your work and share the good ones. Reach out to relevant bloggers (or even podcasters), and try to persuade them to write about/review your work.

Also, take a look at Wattpad – an online writing community where you can find readers for your work. If you have a lot of followers, this will impress agents and publishers.

Any of these things will help you build your track record – and take you a step closer to writing professionally. It all adds up. 

That’s all for now

I hope these ideas help you get into the right mindset to succeed at writing professionally.  Consider picking out one of these tips and turning it into a New Year’s Resolution. 
By the way, do you have a writing-related question? Get in touch as I might be able to offer a useful suggestion in a future blog post.

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