The universe of writing is as big as any other. Perhaps even a little bigger, considering that what you’re doing when you put this particular set of skills to task, is learning how to manoeuvre and manipulate, relay and filter everything about every other school of thought. Language is, after all, what they all use to get their points across. And that’s the ballpark of the wordsmith; the near-absurdly powerful position you’re put in when physics and philosophy, mechanics and medicine, politics and polynomials yield to the authority of reading and writing. With that in mind, here’s how to become a writer.
How to be a writer in 4 steps
Step 1: Take a writing course
The first thing you’re going to want to do is learn from those who came before – by taking a course. There are various options in that vein, depending on the kind of writer you want to be, from creative writing for prose, to screenwriting, blogging and digital marketing courses. You just need to choose which niche feels most like home to you.
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Step 2: Read, furiously
Once you’ve started your first course, the best course of action to supplement it is to read as much as you can. If you can diversify that reading, even better. This will help in many ways. Firstly, it allows you to observe all the techniques you’re learning in action. Secondly, it bolsters your sense of perspective when it comes to who you’re writing for. Thirdly, it provides a constant source of inspiration that you can always turn to for motivation.
Step 3: Write, ardently
Remember that writing is, and always will be, for everyone. So, even if you're a complete novice with no sure direction just yet, the only way you’ll ever become the writer you want to be is by actually writing. So, get to it. Whatever that looks like, whether it be journaling, freewriting, or creating a short story, just keep going. There are growing pains you can get out of the way, even right at the beginning.
Step 4: Share your work with the world
This is, arguably, the most crucial step of the process, as well as one of the scariest. But remember, a book isn’t finished until it has been read. So, share your work with people you trust, or better yet submit shorter pieces to online platforms for publication. Remember, your work may be rejected initially. But the feedback you get will prove priceless as you continue to hone your craft.
One of the most practical applications for a 21st-century writing course is to use it as a way into the fast-paced world of journalism. Here, word counts tend to be shorter and writing is all about efficiency and eloquence. So, if you find that you have a knack for carrying your point across quickly and are the kind of writer who enjoys an ever-changing array of stimuli, journalism just may be the way to go.
2. PR writer
While often incorrectly grouped in among the journalistic arts, the arena of public relations is quite a bit more than that. As a PR writer, what you’d be doing is something a lot more business-angled, working closely with bodies like advertising agencies, publishing houses, or even businesses like hotel chains, motoring companies and the like. All this in the vein of writing pieces which serve as promotional materials – ones which benefit the business interests of your employers. This is an incredible power position with much upward mobility if you expertly hone your craft.
This is the writer’s writer: the mentor and teacher of the professional writing environment. Within this role, your job would be to vet either another writer or group of writer’s works – making sure that it meets the standard of whichever working environment you find yourself in. And that working environment can take on any definition, within journalism, corporate spaces, or within the world of fiction. But whatever the habitat, this is a job that requires a keen eye and a proclivity for attention to detail.
4. Novelist or author
This is the writing career we’ve all come to know as the peak version of the artform. But while it is one of the oldest and most revered, it is but one of the many now relevant. That being said, it’s lauded for a reason: it’s arguably the most arduous – the one that takes the most skill and dedication to succeed in – especially in today’s fast-paced world.
The role of the novelist is to look at the world at large, informing their work with all aspects of the zeitgeist they wish to unpack and lever for public discussion, in the hopes of using the thousands of words they bind between two unassuming covers to effect radical change – change which will come to affect posterity in significant ways.
Taking up the mantle as the ultra-modern incarnation of the novelist, this is the kind of artist who seeks to do precisely the same thing as a novelist, but in a manner much more current and multi-modal. Screenwriting is the beautiful enmeshing of prosaic, sonic, and visual content in order to create an immersive work of art that helps move the world forward, and toward a brighter future.
Ready to become a writer?
So, by now it should be fairly obvious that the world of writing is by no means static. It’s an ever-changing, ever-adapting, and unfolding universe that’s probably already birthed new forms of this ancient craft in the time it’s taken you to read this blog post. Shaw Academy’s online creative writing course will help you take the first step into that universe, so, hurry up and get going. The world is waiting to hear from you.