3 Things to Do Right Now If “Become a Professional Writer” Is On Your Bucket List

You might not be a professional writer yet, but here’s what you can do today to take a step or two closer to getting there.

writing goals

If writing professionally is one of your goals, getting from where you are to where you want to be can seem like nothing more than a faraway hope. You don’t have to – shouldn’t – wait to “figure things out” or “see what happens.” There are steps you can take to making this happen, and you can take them today.

So you want to be a writer. Now what? Here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to start making your ambition a reality.

Choose a project and decide on a publishing “deadline”

All throughout high school, all I wanted to do was publish a gosh darn novel. I wrote more often than I did homework (oops). For the record, I still haven’t traditionally published a novel (aka, “old-fashioned” going through the query process, as opposed to self-publishing). But I started and finished the majority of the novels I’ve ever written during that time period, because I didn’t have any other writing projects “distracting” me, like I do now. For a long time, I had a five-year deadline from the time I graduated. It was a major motivator for the fiction writing I did in college.

It’s great that you want to be a professional writer, whether that means you want to work for a magazine, get paid to blog, start a freelancing business, publish a novel, etc. But the first question I’m tempted to ask when I hear people talk about their writing ambitions is: when? When do you want to get published? When are you going to start looking for clients? What’s your deadline? If you don’t have one, you’re only going to keep putting it off. I can guarantee it.

Find a local or online writing group

It’s very difficult to recruit individual people to give you constructive feedback on your writing, especially people close to you. They either end up doing it because they feel obliged to or they’re “too nice” because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Seek out feedback from people who genuinely want to help you grow as a writer, and aren’t afraid to critique you on your strengths and weaknesses. How do you find it? By finding fellow writers also looking for feedback, of course.

It’s likely there are writing groups in your area for this exact purpose. If not, you can either start your own (talk to your local library or bookstore) or search online for writing groups (there are some good ones on Facebook). Online you might be able to find some strangers willing to form a virtual critique group with you. You’re very rarely going to get feedback without giving it in return, so expect to do some work on others’ behalf to get helpful critiques in return.

Create a writing schedule and find a way to stay consistent

I know, I know – you’re a “write when I feel like it” kind of creator. I’ve been there. The problem is, stuff will always come up. There will always be things that get in your way and excuses you can’t talk yourself out of. It’s very easy to live by an “I’ll get to it when I get to it” mindset, but this just doesn’t work when you have an outstanding goal you really care about it. Days will turn into weeks, weeks into months … before you know it, you’re having a quarter-life crisis and nightmares about your unfinished novel coming to life and kidnapping you in the middle of the night …

What was I saying? Oh, right. Goals. Schedules. Lots of words.

If this is really something you want, you’ll be able to get used to writing on a schedule. Yes, this might mean training yourself to write even when you don’t feel like it. Welcome to professional writing! May I take your sanity? It’s good practice for when you do start getting paid to do that very thing. Writing professionally means you’re going to be writing a lot. Possibly every day. You might as well get used to it now. Seven days a week is a little much, but I’d suggest shooting for a consistent Monday-through-Friday writing schedule if you can manage it.

Everyone’s journey, and process of getting to where they want to be, is different. It might take some time. Years, even. But as long as you take action and start getting those ideas down on paper, with a timeline in mind of when you want to have those ideas published, you’ll get there. Small, careful, consistent steps are the way to go. Are you ready?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Passion Is Where it Starts; Passion is How it Continues

You cannot be good at something you do not, at least remotely, enjoy.


Writing is what I do. It has always been what I do. There is some kind of misconception circulating that says because I have been writing for a long time, because I have experience, because I am relatively good at what I currently do and have always done, I for whatever reason “have” to do it.

I certainly don’t. No one is making me write. It’s my choice. But not because I’m good at it; that’s only half of it. I also enjoy it. I have always had a passion for writing. But that was only the beginning. At some point, passion either gets you to where you want to be, or you have a revelation that it never will.

Writing is not usually a glamorous job. Getting a new idea, watching it come to life, filling a blank page with words that somehow emerged out of your own head – these are all wonderful things, and many of us wouldn’t be writing without these promising glimmers of worth. But a career in writing is also a lot of doing what other people tell you to do, and watching other people change your words around and force your creativity to follow a specific set of guidelines. Contrary to what many apparently believe, writing is just like any other job. Writing, as a profession, is mostly doing what you do because you are good at it.

But that does not mean you do not, cannot, enjoy writing just because someone is paying you to do it.

You cannot be good at something you do not, at least remotely, enjoy. You are not going to spend the time, the energy, the finances, to develop a skill you have no interest in developing. For the most part. I’m pretty sure all writers start out writing simply because they love to write. Becoming a writer, transitioning into a position where you get paid to create words for a living, is in my opinion, from my personal experience, one of the hardest things a writer will ever do. Because in going from writing because you are passionate about it to writing because you have to, you have to learn to love what you are good at, even when it is anything but glamorous. Even when it sometimes feels like you are always being used, and never appreciated.

Successful writers are good at what they do because they find joy in it, even when it’s hard. Even when it’s nothing like they thought it would be. Even when their hard work and dedication has gotten them to where they are, but the only questions they ever get about writing are how to find a quick and easy way to “make it.”

I’ll be completely honest with you. This journey, this balance between doing what you are passionate about and doing what you have to do, I’m still on it. All journeys like these have low points, and I’m at the lowest point I’ve ever been. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit. That doesn’t mean I’m “settling” for work that doesn’t make me happy just because my skills are in demand. It just means, for now, there are going to be rough days. And I’m going to have to put on a smile when people ask me how I’m enjoying my career as a writer. And I’m going to have to write about things I’m not particularly interested in, and do things the way other people want them done, even if I don’t always agree.

I have yet to earn any other kind of writing life. And that’s okay. I can accept that. Nothing worth having is ever handed to you. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be so proud of all I have accomplished so far this year. I do what I do because I’ve trained, long and hard, to get here. That practice, that effort, never stops. But deep down, I love it. That passion for creating things, it never goes away. I wouldn’t put myself through this if I didn’t care enough about what I might someday be able to do with it.

When it comes to writing, passion alone isn’t enough to turn a dream into an achievable goal. But it is still necessary. Passion is where it starts. And passion is what keeps it going. Passion is what transforms “I don’t want to do this anymore” into “I’m doing what I need to do, and for now, that’s okay.”

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Image courtesy of pexels.com.