Every writer in the world who is making money as a writer once was a writer who had never written. So if you’re wondering how do I become a writer with no experience, please know that you simply have to do what other writers have done before you.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you follow a verbatim plan that another writer has created. Depending on when you start, what medium you focus on, and your knowledge of the market, it’s going to be different for you.
What worked for writers prior to social media won’t work for you.
What worked for writers who grew their platforms online before big algorithm shifts won’t work for you.
What worked for writers who co-opt business and sales terminology and leverage jargon against their audience to sound intelligent won’t work for you.
Every writer, every nook and cranny of the writing industry, and every publication is different. So, no two writers take the same path.
(Well, the writers who go to those fancy private colleges no one can afford and have well-connected parents take a very specific route. But if you’re here, you know that ain’t your life, is it?)
So it may sound like you can’t do what other writers did before you. And no, you can’t follow anyone else’s advice to the letter. But you can still do what they did.
How Do I Become a Writer With No Experience?
The first step to becoming a writer of any kind is to write a lot and create a portfolio. Be aware of what the conventions are for the particular type of writing you’d like to do, though.
Find three to five writers who are doing what you want to do. Whether that’s traditionally publishing novels to writing articles on Medium to working with corporations to write their website copy.
Once you’ve found these three to five writers, scour their websites. Check out how they display their portfolios, if they do. See how they encourage people to contact them with writing opportunities.
Check out their social media. What platforms do they use? How do they engage with their audience? What do they post?
You’re doing this not because you want to create a paint-by-numbers strategy. You’re trying to see how people can have success doing what you want to do. And chances are, if you’re looking at three to five people, they’re going to be different enough that you can pull the broad strokes advice you need to create a strategy.
So take a while, figure out what these writers have in common, and then create a strategy that will work for you. Remember, you’re just starting out so you won’t have the budget or audience they do. So do what you can with the resources you have.
Creative Writing Jobs for Beginners
Look. I love creative writing. But for what it’s worth, there are no high-paying creative writing jobs for beginners. You’re a beginner. You’re going to make sub-par wages.
And while I will acknowledge this is an unethical norm in the industry, it’s an unethical norm all around. As of writing this, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That is the amount the federal government deems is fine to create an acceptable standard of living and protect the health and well-being of the work force.
So basically, exploitation is the standard.
I’m not saying you have to work for free if you don’t want to. But you’re going to spend a lot of time looking for opportunities that pay.
If you’re the sort to make your own luck, though, here are some options:
- Self-publish your fiction on Amazon.
- Reach out to local editors of the free magazines and papers in the lobby of restaurants and let them know what you’d like to contribute to their publication.
- Blog or publish on Medium.
This isn’t an extensive list, but it is a list you can put into play pretty much immediately. For more, check out this post on how to make money as a creative writer.
How to Become a Freelance Writer
One thing I get asked a lot is how to become a freelance writer. And I always jokingly say I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Freelance writing isn’t the hardest gig I’ve ever had, but it’s also not something that you do without a ton of work.
To freelance, you’ll need a writing portfolio housed on your website. (Reputation can also take you far. But you have to build that.) That portfolio is going to need to show that you’ve written for people before. So start reaching out to publications ASAP. Smaller, more local publications will take writers with no experience.
You can also start flexing your writing muscles in the form of a blog. Use your content to show that you understand search engine optimization, and can stick to a regular publishing schedule. If you’re asking how do I become a content writer with no experience, I just outlined it for you.
There aren’t a lot of blog writing jobs for beginners out there for people who don’t actively have a blog. So start blogging on your site or on Medium. And once you have some content under your belt, reach out to blogs that offer paid posts. Read their submission guidelines carefully and get to submitting.
Now, if you feel that there’s a lot to do here, there is. Writing is a job that requires you prove you can do it before people will even give you an unpaid gig.
If you feel you need to do a little research before you dive in, you may consider taking a freelance writing course. Skillshare offers classes on the topic, as well as classes in other areas that you will definitely need as a freelance writer.
It’s a lot, but you can start small. First, start building your platform and portfolio. Create a website for as cheaply as you can. Then, get some publications under your belt.
From there, you can slowly work your way up.
What Else Do You Want to Know About Freelance Writing?
Do you have more freelance writing questions? What is the hardest part about finding opportunities for you? What’s your favorite kind of freelance writing gig?