I’m going to answer the question, “What is professional writing?” This is one skill that is extremely valuable in today’s world of ever-shrinking attention spans – and it is a skill that will help you stand out from the crowd when trying to land a job.
What is Professional Writing?
Professional writing is writing; for some is a reward (like lots of money). OK, that’s it. That’s all there is to it.
All kidding aside, there’s a lot more to being a professional writer than that.
Writing is all about communicating information in the workplace. It is different from creative writing, like novels, which are meant to entertain. The professional paper seeks to inform, persuade, or instruct others in a workplace and business environment.
What Tools Do I Need to Know in Professional Writing?
Various tools are used to become a writer that gets your message across to your targeted audience. Here is a couple of things you will need to know to be a truly skilled writer.
You are going to need to know your grammar and punctuation in and out. If you can’t memorize all the rules – you should at least have a reference blog (like this one!) bookmarked so you can refer back to the rules when you need them.
You need to know when to use commas, use a colon, what a participle is, how to keep it from dangling. You also need to know the best use for adjectives and adverbs and how to effectively use the three cases of pronouns. There’s nothing less professional in writing than bad grammar and punctuation. Don’t let that happen to you!
How to Get Started, Writing Style
Have people dreamt about becoming a writer? A professional writer is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction, a bestselling book, articles in magazines, newspapers, blogs for companies, technical produce manuals or procedure manuals, copies for catalogs, and newsletters. However, some people write for sheer pleasure.
Let’s say the primary interest is gardening, but you may need to broaden what you write about to earn a living. Well known gardening writers often do other things as well (e.g., writing about travel, home renovation, interior decorating, or something that may share some common ground with gardening)
Some people have an enthusiasm for writing and a dream to earn their living from writing; the reality is that many professional writers struggle to achieve their vision. Even famous authors had to self-publish their work at the beginning.
Some self-published authors like Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Anais Nin, Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allan Poe started self-publishing.
Finding a publisher can be challenging as well. To get published is a question of talent AND perseverance. At times it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time and offered a writing job, having some established knowledge, and a passion for writing.
Pathways to Writing
When considering that people are making a living from writing in today’s world, most have inadvertently come to their current position. They didn’t start planning to be a writer, but they grew in their careers and progressed, their career paths developed; the need to write became apparent.
There are many different ways to get from where you are now to where you want to be when writing. Some people follow a set pattern or study a career to become writers; others become writers by “accident.”
- Studying a course in media, writing, or journalism, and once they graduate, get a job with a publisher.
- Some people establish themselves as a guru, then become experts in gardening, landscaping, or organics, and then move into writing as they are experts writing about what they learned.
- They are developing skills and a reputation as an illustrator – such as photography, drawing, and IT graphics, which leads to illustrating publications and writing content going along with their illustrations.
- They were doing some study on how marketing or advertising work, developments of their ability to convey through writing, leading to writing media being released, promotional materials, and then eventually on other subject matters.
- Some start as an educator and move from teaching how to write textbooks of course materials.
- Some start as scientists or technicians and then move from working in the industry to technical writing, reports, manuals, texts.
- Experience things in their life, reading, then creating s a story of that experience opening up the door to break into professional writing. Considering politicians, sports, celebrities, or someone who has come to you with an experience such as traveling around the world.
- Some are just writers. They write as part of their employment. It may be that they write textbooks or technical documents as part of their job. Or write blogs, press releases, newsletters, or magazine articles.
- Writing may be a hobby. They are writing for their pleasure, for their family to read or perhaps write articles for their local gardening club newsletter, newspaper.
How Much of the Job is Writing?
Professional writers do a lot more than write, only earning a small proportion of their income from writing, while others earn all of their income from writing.
- Teachers who write textbooks earn anywhere from 5% or 10% of their annual income in royalties on books they write, while most of their revenue comes from wages paid by the school they teach.
- Novelists spend 30 or 40 hrs weekly writing novels, but unless they sell well, they need to work an additional 20 hrs a week working on something entirely different from writing to make enough money.
- Business people may spend 20% of their time writing content for newsletters, online blogs, marketing materials in the marketplace.
- A gardening writer for magazines or newspapers may spend more than half of their time doing research and less than half the time writing about it.
- TV or radio broadcasters may be writing things to broadcast and spending much time delivering the broadcast.
- Teachers are writing lesson notes but spending more time delivering the lesson.
- All so often, different organizations are also getting convoluted in writing and presenting podcasts, online resources. Schools now offer lectures online on websites such as YouTube. This requires the report of the study, research, and then the preparation of the podcast or video to go online. We see fitness organizations that will offer advice on doing different exercises, nutrition techniques. Health care professionals may advise on looking after yourself. Animal health care professionals may show online how to care for their dog, cat, or any other pets they may have. Often this is a way to broadcast a product or service; it can also be an informative and educational service.
Where Can You Get Paid for Writing?
Writers get paid in many different areas. These might include books, magazines, newspapers, TV, film, stage plays, newsletters, advertising and pr, social media, websites, blogs, reports, and resumes/cover letters.
We have already discussed many careers in writing. But there are more that you may not think of, such as
• Greeting cards writers – Cards have poems or verses and quotes in them.
• Travel writers will write about different places. Informing others about a specific place, historical events, the environment. They can write about terms of tourist opportunities.
• Ghostwriters are someone who writes for someone else. An example could be a celebrity wanting to write their autobiography but lack writing skills. They hire a ghostwriter to write their story; then, the ghostwriter will present the story in a more suitable form.
• Songwriter – Artists write their songs but will use a writer to write lyrics for them.
• Creative writing from teachers may be authors or writers who also have moved into the teaching field. They may teach and write as well.
•Freelancers writers may query contracts out to write about an array of subjects. And usually, only receive work for a specified case. Freelance writers may only get occasional work; others can gain a good income as freelance writers. Writers wish to maintain their role as a freelance writers while enjoying the flexibility of the job.
• Game writer – many complex computer games are available today that may tell a “story” that the player works through until the end. Characters are developed with their personalities, skills, and expertise.
• Legacy writer is a person who writes family history or biographies for people.
• Poetry is not popular such as a bestselling novel. Poetry books sales do not usually don’t reach the heights that the sales of books can. Nevertheless, some poets can work as professional poets. There are over twelve countries that have poet laureates. These poets write about particular state occasions; an example of this is an investiture, a new parliament.
• Personal poet – writing poems for special events, birthdays, people.
• Columnist – A columnist may write columns about their opinions or specific topics, perhaps once a week in a newspaper or a magazine. For example, a specialist in the economy may have a regular column writing about the economy in a newspaper. Columnists may need a specialist in other areas, such as celebrity, fashion, current events.
• Many people do blogging today. A blog is a combination of web and log. It can be a person’s log of a person’s life. Some may do this for their interest. Others may do this as a way to attract attention to their business. To inform their students – for example –some teachers might write blogs about topics for their students. There are also professional bloggers. If you look on the internet, many bloggers write professionally. They produce a large number of blogs, then sell advertising on their website. There are different types of blogs – photoblog, art blogs, microblogs, concise blogs.
• Like a creative writing teacher, a creativity coach may incentivize students to open up and become creative in writing and perhaps other fields.
• Comic book writers turned in one mid as less than a writer. But with the tremendous rise in popularity of superhero films, such as Superman, X-Men, Spiderman.
Earlier, we said, writing can be the main cornerstone of a person’s employment. Them being a novel writer, journalist, textbook author. Or maybe do writing as part of their primary job – writing reports, website content, and writing consultancy reports.