Talking about writing career path, we have lots of options out there, don’t we? Such career as writer or journalist. But the question is how to start it. Well, no matter which path within the writing career you would like to take, the approaches are the same, for at the end of the day, all you need to do is to improve your writing skills and show your employer that you have experience. So here are some ways for you to get it started:
Keep on reading
You always learn something from reading, for example, a nice phrase about the weather or a nice description of someone. Well, don’t just read and memorise them only. Note them down as well because you can never remember things after a glance. Plus, learning from them – NOT copying. You can apply some certain phrases and the ways in which authors handle with their words or long sentences to your own writing and improve yourself from there. In doing so, you can avoid plagiarism and at the same time, have a chance to develop your own unique writing style.
Don’t just read, time to write
Of course, reading is a good habit. But if you want to be a writer or a journalist and the only thing you do is reading, you will never become one, will you? So you need to know when to put the books down, and start your own ones! Exciting, isn’t it? Always start with short stories first – that’s what I do. Be patient, don’t rush because a long novel requires lots of experience and practises. However, if you feel confident about it, by all means give it a go.
Next, set goals for yourself. Say 500 words per day and at the end of a week you complete a short story? After you finish your work though, don’t keep it to yourself and be embarrassed about it – you will never improve yourself that way. Give it to your friends and ask them for their opinions – I’m sure they will have 10 minutes or so to read your stories. Mine always do! And it’s better to give it to someone who has experience in writing or good at it. Some lecturers would be happy to help you so it won’t kill you to contact them and ask if they’re available. If not, social media is there! Make the best use of them – Wattpad and your own blog are all good examples. After that, learn from the feedback and fix your mistakes in your next writings – trust me, mistakes never look good.
Now, after a certain amount of time, guess what you will have got? A collection of your writing. So, the next step is to look back at them and see how much your writing has been improved. You would be proud of yourself! But why are they useful? The answer is that if you can’t get experience yet, those piles of writings – which might seem to you useless – could be used as proofs of your writing skills and experience, indeed. Your employer will look at your LinkedIn and blog! And your portfolio will tell them how good you are at writing and how long you have been improving yourself. Self-improvement is always crucial.
Try to get good grades
Having a good academic performance is also essential especially when you apply for jobs in a field like this. Writing always requires lots of academic learning such as critical and analytical thinking. However, not only do good grades demonstrate that you have a firm academic background but it also indicates that you have valuable experience shown in your reading, writing and even communication skills. And isn’t it not encouraging and motivating every time you get a high mark?
I know, I know money is important. But you won’t earn a penny if you don’t have experience – no one would straight away employ you as a journalist or writer unless you apply for an internship. But that’s a different matter, which will be discussed right after this.
Okay, volunteering will of course take up your time and energy, perhaps even neurons since it requires a little bit of thinking as you start writing. But it’s not totally a waste of time is it when what you will earn back from it is the work experience that will appears nicely on your CV. Here I am – currently volunteering as a student blogger for StudentJob UK to gain experience and widen my network. More importantly, if you spend enough time on your articles, they will even get published. Come on, published articles must be good – and therefore, they will surely impress your employer. Also, at the end of day, is writing not your passion? If you think every minute you spend on writing, in which you don’t earn any money, is a waste of time, you’re looking in the wrong place!
So, it turns out that volunteering actually gives you lots of benefits, doesn’t it? – It helps you get a foot in the door when it comes to getting a real job.
On the look-out for a placement or a real job
This is surely the final step towards your career. Yay! Not really though since it is a dire process. Why do I say so? I’m not trying to frighten you because you already know that jobs are always competitive – but they are not quite so when you’re an outstanding person. However, how to become that person? Of course by having experience and skills! And I think there is no need for me to repeat myself because the tips are all up there.
In short, trying to get as much experience as you can but don’t forget to focus on your studies to gain more academic skills and good grades. Learn to keep balance and you will be successful.
It will be hard now – all the trying and doings – but what you will gain later on is happiness and success. They’re worth it, and as long as you try and don’t give up on your dream job – your dream career, you will be paid off. So good luck!
Trang Dang is a StudentJob blogger, and is currently in her second year at Oxford Brookes University studying English Literature. Check out her LinkedIn profile here!