Starting At Zero
So you’ve decided to become a writer, but it feels like you’re at zero … You have no idea where to start!
It might seem like a difficult to journey to pursue but don’t let the fear of the future scare you out of doing it. Sometimes you just have to cast your net and take a chance! Here are some of the tips I used to build my own writing career from zero …
1) Build your social skills
It is known that many writers are introverts and love working by themselves. There is a whole world out there though and you are going to have to become some type of social butterfly as a writer. Start by registering some profiles on popular social media platforms, so people can find you – simple!
Already on these sites? Then find out how to ‘break in’ as a writer, whatever that means to you.
It’s very difficult to make it on your own without some support. Be involved on these forums and build relationships with other writers. You will receive a lot of advice and tips to help you build your career.
TOP TIP: Networking will require you to build relationships with others. Clients are not going to magically find you. You have to go out there and let them know that you are available for hire and collaboration. Yes it’s intimidating, but having a strategy for your social media will help you build your career from zero.
2) Improve your writing skills
Practice is the one things you can count on to improve your writing. That said, there are resources out there to help you too, like semi colon checker. Also, remember you need to identify mistakes early and learn from this. There are some online resources that can help you improve your writing …
Also, the best writers write even when they are not in the mood or uninspired. Set a minimum number of words you would like to write daily and stick to it. ANY number (other than zero!) is a win.
TOP TIP: Writing daily will help prepare you for days when you have work due and just don’t feel like it. Create this habit early on. Also, make sure identify those elements of your writing that need work!
3) Create some samples
Once you’ve brushed up on your writing skills, it is time to write some samples. Clients will usually ask for this during the interview process. Two or three samples is more than enough. The client really just wants to see you writing style so make sure these samples reflect that.
Freelance writers, make sure you write about a topic you enjoy, so that the flow is good and makes for a good read.
If you’re a creative writer like an author or screenwriter, make sure you have a good portfolio and lots of pitches, polished and ready.
TOP TIP: You will need samples to show your clients your skills. Create these before you start pitching so you have it ready.
4) Start pitching
You may not think that you are good enough to actually get out there. But you have to be in it to win it and there is always a possibility that you will be chosen and land your first writing top writing job!
There are also events – IRL and online – that you can attend to pitch your story, as well as sites that will host your screenplay. Here’s just a few …
- London Screenwriters’ Festival
- Scriptfest (USA)
- Hollywood Field Trip
- Virtual Pitchfest
- Stage 32
- The Black List
- Greenlight My Movie
- Enter a screenplay competition
Prepare a good pitch and cover letter where appropriate and take a chance. Everyone had to start at zero. The submission process is usually very simple.
TOP TIP: Be sure to look at the submission guidelines as every producer, website has their own way of doing things. You might have a great idea and miss an important step, so get rejected or overlooked.
5) Stay motivated & keep on keeping on!
There are many great writers like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and Jack London who had to endure rejection after rejection. They were all broke at the time they decided to give writing a shot.
The success reached by worldknown writers is built on their ability to stay motivated. I am sure they also had moments of doubting their writing abilities after every rejection but they used this to push forward. They were not content to stay at zero!
TOP TIP: Writing is a tough industry and very competitive, it’s true. But always remember, there are people out there who’ll accept you and your voice. Keep pushing and never give up even after rejection, but instead, let it motivate you.
BIO: Michael Nix works as a content manager and writing is his hobby. He also writes poems and short stories and dreams of publishing his own book. Michael travels a lot and enjoys his life.