Things to Consider When Starting a Writing Career as a College Student
– by Jessica Fender –
Becoming an author, a copywriter, or a blogger all fall into the category of “writing”. However, many people underestimate just how difficult it is to become a writer and develop a writing career. No matter which literary genre or blogging niche you choose, there are dozens of other writers out there who are already established.
Competition is fierce, but as a college student, you have the opportunity to carve out a career of your own if you choose to. Let’s discuss some of the things you should consider once you decide that writing will become your professional vocation.
- Don’t Box Yourself in – There are Different Types of Writing
It’s easy to fall into the trap of misconception when it comes to being a “writer”. There are many different styles of writing and genres you can explore. Some of the writing types worth looking into as a novice writer are:
- Essay writing
- Blog writing
- Poetry writing
- Short story writing
- Novel writing
- Writing with audiobook content in mind
- Freelance writing for online clients
- Script writing
Each of these categories will lead you down a different career path as a writer. That means that simply choosing to be “a writer” won’t suffice – you should specialize as soon as possible. The sooner you choose a niche to devote yourself to, the more time you will have to develop a truly unique writing style.
- Research your Subject Matter Properly Before Writing
Nothing is stopping you from writing a story about a musician, an astronaut, or an engineer – except for diligent research. Stephen King outlined his research style in his memoir “On Writing”, in which he stated that while important, research should not take center stage in writing. Writing about a subject you are unfamiliar with will require you to check your facts, reach out to professionals and ask for second opinions.
This is why many contemporary authors have beta readers who, under NDA, read their stories and offer critical feedback before publishing. You can order research summary writing on various topics when you are short on time and need professional writing or editing assistance. Before you jump into any form of writing, make sure that you have your facts straight on whichever subject you are about to tackle.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone – You are a Unique Writer
You mustn’t become a copycat by accident. You might be inclined to write a novel inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, but be careful – he was unique in what he set out to do. Tolkien’s work is heavily inspired by the events of WWI, which he participated in.
Just like Tolkien, you are a unique author with original thoughts, passions, drives, and ambitions. It’s great to have an author or three whom you admire, but you should never aim to replicate their work. This will lead to your voice being lost in translation and result in mediocre writing at best.
- Routine Leads to Progress – Learn to Write on a Daily
The best way to get ahead in building your writing career is to put in the hours to do so. As a college student, you are in the perfect position to dedicate some free time to develop your writing voice. Make it a habit to write for an hour or two each day until you get into the routine. Even 10 minutes before bed or when you wake up is better than skipping a day. Afterwards, you can write even more each day until it becomes second nature.
Going back to the example of Stephen King, his writing routine involves writing for several hours each day in which he is completely focused. While King is in a league of his own when it comes to his volume of writing, checking out his memoirs is a good way to learn some techniques honed by an expert in the craft. The only way you can move forward with your writing career is to dedicate the time it needs to blossom into something worthwhile.
- Invest Some Time into Online Courses and Exercises
Thanks to the internet, you are not limited to college courses and writing seminars for education. There is a wide array of platforms and online services which can help you develop your writing career. These range from actual writing courses to those which will teach you how to navigate the publishing world. Some of the platforms you can check out right now to learn more about writing are:
Of course, you can also reach out to your favorite authors and ask for feedback on your writing if you are inclined to do so. Many authors, such as Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie, love interacting with people online via email, Reddit, and social media. Learning about writing is an important part of developing your writering career – be patient and learn how to become a better writer tomorrow.
- Network with Likeminded Writers Online and Off
As we’ve mentioned, becoming a writer today is very different from becoming one only a decade ago. The internet has made it easier for aspiring writers to connect with their colleagues for networking and collaboration.
There are also plenty of examples of authors working together under pseudonyms such as in the case of Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham. The pair set their pseudonym as James S.A. Corey and are most famous for their work on the sci-fi book series The Expanse. For you to find like-minded writers to network with, you will have to look for them in the right places on the web. Here are a few social media platforms dedicated to the art of writing:
These social media networks will allow you to chat with other aspiring authors, get feedback on your work, and otherwise learn how to write better. Take some time to set up your presence online, and it will be easier to spread the word about your writing portfolio down the line.
- Learn to Accept a “No” – Not Every Client Will Like your Work
The most difficult part of starting your writing career is learning that not everyone is happy with what you’ve written so far. Publishers can be ruthless when turning down new writers simply because there is too much risk on their part. Expect to be turned down 99.9% of the time.
Take Brandon Sanderson as an example, a man who wrote 13 novels before a publisher gave him a chance at hitting big. While it’s easy to look at Sanderson as the giant of fantasy literature he is today, he too had to start somewhere and work his way up. Once you start asking for feedback on your writing, be it online or from agents and publishers, be prepared for negative feedback.
This doesn’t mean your writing is bad – it means that the person you presented it to doesn’t like it “personally”. Writing is extremely subjective. When you overcome the difficult process of reaching out and asking for feedback or publishing opportunities, your writing career will hit its stride shortly thereafter.
Making the Most Out of Your Writing Career (Conclusion)
When starting your writing career, you’ll be your own best friend and your own worst enemy. It’s very easy to get discouraged and try your hand at a different calling simply because you hit a particularly nasty bump.
As we’ve discussed, there is a plethora of writing niches for you to explore before you call it quits, from content writing to literary poetry. Don’t give up before you’ve tried your best, and the right creative spark will go off before you know it.
About the Author – Jessica Fender
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