Five Tips for Aspiring Writers

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By Write On Network intern Leah Saycich

How do you make it in the tough world of copywriting? Being an aspiring writer, I’ve often asked myself this question. Here are some tips I’ve learned to help you land a writing job as well as continue to improve as a writer.

  1. Write constantly. The more you write, the better you’ll become. Like many things, writing takes practice. In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. It sounds daunting, but it is very much possible. Spelling and grammar mistakes can also be lessened with practice. These mistakes can detract from your writing and stand out A LOT to those accustomed to looking for them.
  1. Show your best work. A portfolio can be viewed as one of the more important aspects of an aspiring writer’s job application. Don’t assume you should include everything you’ve written in a portfolio. I was given this brilliant advice from Kim Grob, co-founder and senior copywriter at Write On Network, “Only include your best work in your portfolio. It’s better to have a great portfolio with a small amount of samples than an okay one with a large amount of samples.” Bottom line: if a piece doesn’t showcase your best writing, then don’t include it.
  1. Do your research. Thoroughly research the topic, business and client before writing. Especially starting out, an assignment might be thrown at you about a topic you’ve never heard of, this is when research comes in. Jen Jackson, co-founder and senior copywriter put it well when she said, “Let the client be the expert, while you become the expert researcher.” Your writing will be far more convincing when you let the client’s expertise inform your writing.
  1. Cultivate your sweet spot. Be open to all sorts of writing when you’re starting out to really discover where you thrive the most. While exploring different types of writing, you may also discover the line you don’t want to cross, whether it’s big tobacco, big oil or something entirely different. You aren’t always able to pick and choose your jobs, but knowing where your line is can help you say no to things outside of your comfort zone and yes to things that help you develop your sweet spot.
  1. Don’t give up. Writing is difficult and you won’t always receive the encouraging feedback you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean you give up. Remind yourself why you started and what you love about it as well as the encouraging words you’ve received in the past. If it’s something you feel passionate about, keep trying and something good will come of it.
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