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How To Become An Essayist: An Ultimate Guide

Becoming an Essayist

Writing essays is a very popular form of writing in today’s society. It is the process of organizing and writing about thoughts and experiences in a well-organized essay form.

There are many different topics to write about, and there are many different styles one can use when writing an essay. The main idea behind writing essays is to write about something that has personal meaning to the writer.


First of all, you need to understand what it means to be an essayist.

An essayist is someone who writes essays. Essays are usually written on a particular topic, opinion, or experience. They are intended to be read by many people and usually convey the author’s own thoughts and feelings about an issue.

Essayists must capture thoughts and experiences in a well-organized way, such as essays, which is a skill they often learn by taking one of the reputable creative writing courses . They may use any style they like when doing so, but they should also consider what type of audience they want their work to be seen by.

8 awesome tips to start writing essays like a boss

Here are a few quick tips on how you can start writing essays like a boss:

  • Start by coming up with an idea. This can be an intro scene, a question, or even a thesis statement.
  • Come up with a title for your essay early on, this will help you stay focused throughout the writing process.
  • Write an outline of your essay before you start writing it. It will help you stay on track and not write things that don’t matter.
  • Remember, an introduction should tell what your thesis is going to be about and provide some background information on the topic at hand.
  • Next, come up with supporting ideas and facts. You need to know what your essay is about and what points you want to make in it.
  • Use a “hook” or a question that is going to lead you to the thesis of your essay.
  • Now, start organizing your ideas into paragraphs and group them together logically. These paragraphs should be easy to read and well structured.
  • Finally, compile and revise your work into one final draft before submitting it to avoid any disorganized or illogical sentences that might confuse your readers or distract them from the important points of the essay.

nursing essay

What are the benefits of becoming an essayist?

There are many benefits to becoming an essayist including developing writing skills, making money online with your writing, and connecting with people who share your passions.

You have a great opportunity to master the craft of expressing your opinion on different topics related to social sciences, humanities, etc. You also get the chance to network with other professionals in the industry and get published.

nursing essay writing

How to find your voice for writing essays

Your voice is an essential part of your essay. You need to find your voice in order to express yourself and your opinions in a cohesive manner that captivates the reader.

How can I find my voice when writing essays?

This is the first step to writing a strong essay.

Your voice is the tone that you use to write your essay. It is the personality you put into what you are writing about. When you are writing an essay, it should sound like YOU are writing it, not someone else.

Nursing Essay Writing Tips for Women

There are three steps to finding your voice for essays:

1. In order to find your voice for essays, you must first ask yourself what you want to say.

2. Once you have your topic in mind, you can think about the tone of your essay. This will help you to come up with a message that is concise and clear.

3. Finally, write out a list of words or phrases that represent the style of the essay that you are trying to convey.

Essay Tips For Successful Writing

How to cope with all your essays on time

With the pressure of the semester’s workload, it is easy to slip up on one of your essays. But don’t worry! There are ways to cope with all your essays on time.

  • Get organized. Keep a list of due dates and when you plan on writing each essay or research paper.
  • Plan ahead. Start writing your essay way in advance so that you can avoid last-minute panic.
  • Hire an essay service. Feel free to get professional academic writing assistance from an essay writer service with all your paper deadlines and requirements.

nursing essay writing tips

How to express your essay in a clear and concise manner

Writing essays can be challenging due to various reasons. They require skills in rhetoric and strong argumentative skills.

There are several ways to express your essay in a clear and concise manner:

  • You can start by choosing appropriate keywords that will guide the reader through your essay.
  • You can use transitional words in order to guide the reader through your points.
  • You can use quotes in order to support your point.


How to be successful as an Essayist in the digital age?

The essay has been a popular form of writing from the early 16th century onwards. It was used to write about a variety of subjects, usually with a specific stance or argument. The essay has been used to take up social and political themes or topics that were controversial at that time.

In the digital age, essays have become an increasingly popular form of writing and can be found everywhere in our digital media. There is an increasing interest in the essay as a form of artistic expression and in academic circles, there is also renewed interest in its use for research purposes.

Becoming an Essayist

The future of the digital age and essays is looking bright. To be successful as an essayist in the digital age, you need to write regularly. You need to write a lot.


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So you’re wondering how to become a writer. The short answer is: anyone who writes is a writer. However, becoming a writer who’s serious about their professional career requires lots of work, and if you’re wondering how to become a professional writer, you’re here to start your journey towards a productive and successful literary career.

How do you become a writer? You don’t need a degree to be a writer, nor do you need to be a certain age. Becoming a writer simply requires an admiration for—and a longing to create with—language. So, don’t worry about becoming a writer later in life or lacking a formal education. (That’s what Writers.com is here for!)

No one can teach you how to admire the written word, but the instructors at Writers.com are experts at turning longing into language. That’s why this article covers everything you need on how to become a writer. From the personal to the professional, let’s dive into everything writers need to build a successful literary career.

How to Become a Writer: Contents

How to Become a Writer: Anyone Can Become One

It’s never too late to become a writer, how to become a writer: where to begin your writing journey, how to become a professional writer: what “professional” means, how to become a writer: resources for becoming a professional writer, how to become a writer: developing a writing habit.

Even today, there’s a persistent myth that writers are elite, born-with-it Ivory Tower folks who possess some ineffable gift of the Muses. Yes, some great writers were born with greatness (and plenty were born with wealth and privilege), but anyone who calls themselves a writer does so because they labor with the written word.

Becoming a writer simply requires an ardent exploration of language.

In others words, you don’t need an MFA from the University of Iowa to call yourself a writer. Becoming a writer simply requires an ardent exploration of language. If we had to boil a writer down to three requirements, it wouldn’t involve age or degree. The 4 traits for becoming a writer are:

  • Passion for the written word,
  • Desire to expand the boundaries and possibilities of language,
  • Persistence and patience, bordering on stubbornness, and
  • Willingness to grow and learn continuously.

Many writers who have these traits stop themselves from writing, maybe because they’re wondering how to become a writer without a degree, or simply because they don’t believe in themselves without the privilege and connections writers seem to have. Now, writers certainly benefit from a university education or a family legacy in literature, but countless writers have acquired respect and success without a degree or name recognition.

Ernest Hemingway never went to college, but he still won a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize; neither did Maya Angelou attend university, yet she’s celebrated as the “black woman’s poet laureate” and later accepted a professorship with Wake Forest University. Degrees are just paper; it’s words that matter.

Degrees are just paper; it’s words that matter.

Becoming a writer has no age restriction; the act of writing is rated G for the General Public, and those aforementioned traits are found in writers from ages 2 to 99+.

Many writers discover their writing talents in their later years. Why, exactly? Neurology reveals there are two types of intelligence : fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. “Fluid” refers to creative and adaptive thinking, including activities like writing and problem solving. “Crystallized” refers to the solidified body of knowledge people draw from—all the words, definitions, and experiences that build a foundation for the world.

Generally, younger adults have more fluid intelligence, whereas life experience builds one’s crystallized intelligence over time. The two intelligences tend to converge in a person’s 40s, since this is an age where the faculties for fluid intelligence haven’t declined, and crystallized intelligence abounds. Not-so-coincidentally, many writers see their careers flourish in their 40s and 50s!

Many celebrated writers didn’t put pen to paper until middle age or later.

In fact, many celebrated writers didn’t put pen to paper until middle age or later. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t start writing until her 40s, and her Little House series didn’t start printing until she was 65. Likewise, Most of Wallace Stevens’ work was published after he turned 50; despite being a poet, he worked at an insurance company, and most of his coworkers were shocked when he won a Pulitzer at 75. Nobody knew that he wrote!

Finally, many university students return for a writing degree after establishing a career elsewhere. BFA and MFA programs around the world educate students in their 30s and beyond; in 2017, the average age of a low-residency MFA student in the U.S. was 35.4, according to LitHub and AWP .

Whether you’re 19 or 90, you’re never too old to write. The best time to write is yesterday; the second-best time is today.

Rather than an If-Then structure, the writing profession follows a Became-Because structure.

How do you become a writer? Where do you begin? The writing profession is unlike most professions, which follow an If-Then structure. If you get a bachelor’s degree, Then you can work as a nurse, computer scientist, or accountant; If you join a worker’s guild or apprenticeship program, Then you can find work in a number of trade jobs.

The writing profession follows a Became-Because structure. Zora Neale Hurston became a writer because she obtained degrees from Howard University and Barnard College, encouraging her to dissect the African American experience through a literary and anthropological lens.

Conversely, Haruki Murakami became a writer because of a baseball game .

The qualifications for becoming a writer are unique to the individual, and every writer is formed by personal interests and experiences. As a result, no one can tell you where to begin your writing journey; however, if you’re wondering how to become a writer, you’ve already started your journey by thinking about it.

If you’re wondering how to become a writer, you’ve already started your journey by thinking about it.

One distinction to help you think about your writing journey is the difference between amateur and professional writers. If you’re not sure what you want to become, start with the following question: what does “professional” mean?

There are, generally, two classes of writers: amateurs and professionals. Before describing the professional writer, let’s be clear: “amateur” is not derogatory, and professional writers are not “better” than amateurs. Amateur comes from the Latin amator , “lover.” An amateur writer loves the written word just as much, sometimes even more, than the professional; amateurs simply have less pressure, deadlines, and financial dependence on writing. It’s a pastime, not a career.

If you want writing to be a significant portion of your income, then you aspire to being a professional writer.

If you want writing to be a significant portion of your income, then you aspire to being a professional writer. Professional writers have to approach their writing as a business, building a literary audience and keeping a regular writing schedule. Professional writers need to understand the ins and outs of the publishing industry—which they often learn through obtaining a university degree—and it also helps to have formal training in the publishing world and experience operating literary magazines.

How do you start to work toward becoming a professional writer? Below are resources to get you started.

At some point, the professional writer needs to know the ins and outs of writing as a business. This list covers the essentials of how to become a professional writer.

How to make money as a writer

  • Explore freelance writing opportunities (updated weekdays at F.W.G.)
  • 6 writers explain how they make money (NY Mag)
  • Self-publishing versus traditional publishing (Self-Publishing School)
  • Writing to market (Funds For Writers)

Taxes as a self-employed creative

  • Taxes on freelance writing and royalties (TurboTax)
  • Tax tips and unique situations (The Balance Careers)

Resources on publishing

  • Poetry journals
  • Fiction journals
  • Creative nonfiction journals
  • How to get published in a literary journal (Reader’s Digest)
  • Book: What Editors Do by Peter Ginna ($25 at UChicago Press)

Becoming a writer online

  • Basic guide to each social media platform (Kindlepreneur)
  • Building an author’s website (The Write Practice)
  • Free website template for authors (Copyfolio)
  • Running a mailing list (Your Writer Platform)

Things to know before taking writing classes

  • Poetry courses
  • Fiction courses
  • Creative nonfiction courses
  • Why take a writing course?

Additional resources for learning how to become a writer

  • Setting SMART goals
  • Reading like a writer
  • The golden rule: show, don’t tell
  • Overcoming writer’s block
  • Becoming a poet
  • 8 tips on learning how to write
  • Best online creative writing classes
  • Creative writing programs (answering the question: should you get an MFA?)

How do professional writers spend their workdays? Perhaps the trickiest part about becoming a writer is establishing a writing habit. For example, Haruki Murakami runs a 10K every morning to support his writing, and Charles Dickens wrote (and slept) facing north to improve his creativity.

Perhaps the trickiest part about becoming a writer is establishing a writing habit.

What works for one person rarely works for another, so experiment with writing habits—and when you find one that works, stick with it.

Generally, you can parse the writing business into 3 separate components:

  • The writing life—putting pen to paper at regular intervals.
  • Scheduled time for “the business of writing”—literary submissions, applying for grants, etc.
  • An active media/marketing presence—blogging, tweeting, emailing, etc.

You’ll want to schedule time for each of these elements in your daily writing habit. Of course, this is easier said than done. Budding writers often overestimate their ability to work: they think they can spend 3 hours writing, 2 hours replying to emails, and 2 hours submitting work to journals. Then they spend the afternoon watching reruns of BBC quiz shows. (Yes! I did do this recently.)

That’s why forging a consistent writing habit is essential—for amateur writers as well as professionals. Writing at the same place at the same time encourages your brain to write every day. And, if you can’t keep yourself focused on writing, try experimenting with different writing rituals. If a 10K helps Murakami write, something equally unique could help you, too.

How to Become a Writer: Take Your Next Step with Writers.com!

The classes we’ve curated in our upcoming schedule will take your writing life to the next level. Whether learning a new writing style or mastering the business of writing, becoming a writer feels a whole lot simpler with Writers.com.

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Sean Glatch


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Brilliant review Misty

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I hope, I can be a better writer with your support.

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Yeah. Same thing as with all other fields. Practice, practice, and once again, practice! It’s like a sport, you should always find new ways to practice.

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This really helped me out. Thank you so much!

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I’m 14 and i hope to become a writer someday. Thank you so much for the info.

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Thank you for the information About to start my writing journey and thus really helped.

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I’m a senior that would like to turn my love of writing into a profession. The information you have presented here has inspired me to continue moving towards that goal.

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I live in a rural area of Uganda with very little education but always aspired to write a book on families. I am much encouraged. started it but got stuck ..

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I love writing and thank you for information you have given meand am obliged to say thank.

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i am very eager to become a writer be that script know how or fiction. i am a sponge for knowledge so i learn as i work. i treat everyday as a school day. i want to learn every single part of the writing career-be that if the editor drinks tea or coffee and how they like there papers folded. i soak information as i do a task. i love to build the bullet points for a story because everything needs a beginning. if you are baking a cake the eggs and flour are needed before you think about putting anything in the oven. to prepare a cake you need a tray to put it in-before you build a story you need a starting and then ingredients to put in along the way. i really love to build a story from different snippets of things. i have a thirst for many different aspects of life having spent a majority of time in hospitals and then being taken advantage of my my family because of my brain injury. so i know more than most in a lot of different subjects and matters in life, i have lost more than most in life but i am here telling my version of it to the big bright world. 0874762400 is my contact number

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Discovering the path to becoming a writer is both exhilarating and daunting. It requires a blend of passion, persistence, and honing one’s craft. From mastering the art of storytelling to navigating the intricacies of the publishing world, the journey demands dedication and resilience. Embrace every word written, every rejection faced, for they are stepping stones on the road to literary success.

[…] Writers.com: A comprehensive guide covering personal and professional aspects of becoming a writer1. […]

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The Young Writer

Yes, You Can Make A Living As A Writer: Here’s How

Many people say you can’t make a living as a writer. here’s why they’re wrong..

Most young writers I talk to want a writing career. Or to put it another way, they want a career built around their writing. But that goal feels… elusive? Unrealistic? Far-fetched?

The path forward is murky. The outcome is far from guaranteed. And let’s just say there’s not a lot of support or guidance out there — especially for young people.

Tell someone you plan to pursue writing as a career and they immediately try to discourage you.

“There are only a few hundred people in the entire world who make a living through their writing.” 

“You’d have a better chance of winning the lottery than making a living as a writer.” 

“Dreams are nice, but you can’t pursue your dreams if you can’t eat.”

Today I would like to help set the record straight by providing hard numbers, real examples, and careful reasoning to show why people think you can’t make a living as a writer and why you actually can.

Can you make a living as a writer?

Writing is a viable career if you treat it like a viable career. Writing is NOT a viable career if you treat it like it’s NOT a viable career. Like Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Our expectations matter. Our beliefs matter. If we think it’s possible to make a living doing what we love most, we will be willing to make the sacrifices and investments and put in the time necessary to achieve that goal.

If we don’t think it’s possible… we’ll never make the sacrifices and investments and our expectations will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The reality is that writing professionally is a career that, according to the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 165,000 people are currently doing in the United States alone. And like any other career, it requires a complex and refined skill set, years of training and practice, and involves navigating a constantly evolving industry.

But we don’t treat it like any other career.

As a culture, we have a horrible double-standard when it comes to writing as a career. We deny that it can be a viable career, while simultaneously starving it of all the time and investment it requires to be viable. We treat writing as a hobby and expect to get paid for it. Then, when we don’t get paid for it, we declare confidently that it’s not a viable career.

If people took the same approach to studying law we’d have cultural stereotypes about the “starving lawyer” instead of the “starving artist.”

But we don’t treat law like a hobby. We spend four years in high school striving after the right grades so we can get into a good college. Then we spend four years in college pushing ourselves so we can get into a good law school. Then we spend three years studying law and doing legal internships. And then we cram like nuts to pass the dreaded bar exam so we can finally start practising law after 11 years of hard work and $188,500 invested (on average) .

What if we invested even half the time and 1/10th of the money into writing? How many more successfully published authors might there be?

So, we need to shift our perspective on this. A writing career should be pursued like any other career. But to do that, we’ve got to make peace with the double-standard and expect opposition.

Think about this…

If you are 16-years-old and decide to become a lawyer… you’d have to finish high school, attend four years of college, then three years of law school. That’s a nine-year process before you’d make one penny as a lawyer.

But no one would say to you two years into the process, “Hey Chloe, you’ve been talking about being a lawyer for two years now and you still haven’t passed the bar to become a lawyer. This is just a childish fantasy. You need to grow up and pursue something more realistic.”

No one would say that because… You’d only be a senior in high school! Everyone knows to become a lawyer you still need another seven years of higher education.

But, tell someone you’re going to become a published author and watch out… People will come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey Chloe, you’ve been writing for over a year now and you still don’t have a book published. You really need to grow up and find a backup plan.”

This is because most people have no idea that it takes on average six years from starting to seriously pursue publication to having your first book traditionally published, according to a survey we did of 119 popular published authors. That’s not much different than the seven years it takes to become a lawyer. It’s way faster than the 10-12 years it takes to become a doctor.

And if you think about it, six years is a reasonable amount of time given all the various skill sets you need to learn, the time it takes to really become an excellent writer, as well as the time it takes to really learn to navigate a complex publishing industry and build the kind of relationships you need to break-in.

So, can writing be a viable career? Yes, if you treat it like one.

But can writers really make money?

Of course, the primary concern for people who counsel against writing as a career is the idea that writers don’t make any money. It seems like everyone has a cousin who tried to become a writer and now is living under a bridge and burning unsold copies of his books to stay warm at night. (Okay… that may have been a slight exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying)

Everyone knows that writers don’t make any money, just like everyone knows that Christians are judgmental, teenagers are rebellious, people with chronic illness are just looking for attention, and police officers love donuts. These are cultural stereotypes… and even though you can find examples of them being true, they are not true in most cases. Yet people believe them anyway.

In addition to cultural stereotypes about “starving artists” and anecdotal reports from the one published author someone has actually met — occasionally people will cite one of several poorly designed, widely publicized, and  thoroughly criticized  surveys that claim the average writer makes $2,345 per year or some other number well below the federal poverty line.

I can’t get into all the reasons why these surveys are misleading and flawed (or else this article will turn into a book), but for now let me simply paraphrase a  common critique : “If you conducted the same kind of survey for lawyers, using the same methodology, the resulting number would also fall below the poverty line. The survey design is that bad.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on questionable surveys and random anecdotes to know whether writing can be a viable career, because every single year writers and authors have to report their income to the government and that information is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Imagine that? Actual hard data, not just people’s assumptions, opinions, or personal experience.

Below are a few highlights worth sharing with anyone in your life who thinks writers can’t make a living. These numbers may be hard to believe given how thoroughly ingrained the idea that writers don’t make any money has become in our culture.

But this is not some narrow sampling of writers and authors who volunteered for an informal survey. This is mandatory reporting of annual income for tax purposes from everyone who claims “Writer and Author” as their primary occupation. And as you know, there are very strong incentives to be absolutely truthful when reporting your income to the government for tax purposes.

With that in mind, here are the actual numbers from the federal government (as of 2019):

— There are 167,000 people in the United States who claim “writer and author” as their primary occupation, which means there are more full-time writers and authors than there are dentists, according to the US Census Bureau. ( Source )

— Those 167,000 writers and authors earn an average annual income of $62,070, which is $6,546 higher than the average national salary of $55,524.

— The median wage for “Writers and Authors” is $30.39 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Source ), which is $11.06 per hour more than the national median, according to the Economic Policy Institute. ( Source )

— “Writers and Authors” earn nearly as much as “Computer Support Specialists” ( Source ) and “Occupational Therapists” ( Source ).

— The average “Writer and Author” earns almost as much per year as the average college professor ( Source ) and nearly $6,000 more per year than the average high school teacher ( Source ).

— “Writers and Authors” make far more money than other artists, earning nearly $16,000 more per year than “Actors” ( Source ), $26,000 more per year than “Musicians and Singers” ( Source ), and $28,000 more per year than “Dancers and Choreographers” ( Source ).

— 23% of “Writers and Authors” earn less than $20,000 per year ( Source ), compared to 20% for “College Professors” ( Source ), 19% for “Real Estate Agents” ( Source ), and 50% for “Musicians and Singers” ( Source ).

— 15% of “Writers and Authors” earn more than $100,000 per year ( Source ), compared to 19% for “College Professors” ( Source ), 24.5% for “Real Estate Agents” ( Source ), and 6.5% for “Musicians and Singers” ( Source ).

In other words, writers and authors earn a decent, middle-class income with the potential to earn a great income. They may not be earning as much as doctors and lawyers, but they certainly don’t belong in the category of “starving artists” who can’t put food on the table.

That said, it’s important to clarify that “Writers and Authors” include people who are employed in writing-related jobs or self-employed offering writing-related services and not just people writing books. These numbers don’t prove that you can make a living just by writing books (though some people do), but they do prove that you can make a living as a writer through a combination of books and getting paid for your writing skills in other ways.

These numbers should give you the confidence to pursue a writing career, knowing that strong writing skills can earn you a job or provide opportunities for self-employment that generate a decent income. If 167,000 people are doing it right now, there’s no reason you can’t do it too, especially if you are starting young.

Five Career Paths For Writers

Now that we’ve established that you can make a living as a writer, it’s time to start unpacking exactly what that can look like.

To keep things simple, I am assuming that you eventually want to publish books and make as much of your living as possible from being an author. There are five main approaches to accomplishing this that each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Depending on your personality, level of family support, and how quickly you need to generate an income, certain approaches will make more sense. Keep in mind that you are not stuck with the approach you choose first, but can move between approaches over time.

The five main approaches are:

1) Living The Dream

You write books and collect royalty checks. Your books are successful enough that you have no need for other income sources. This is what the average person imagines a writing career to be like and what many people are referring to when they say it’s unrealistic to make a living as a writer.

Pros:  This is what every writer dreams about. Cons:  Requires you to publish prolifically and sell a crazy amount of books.

2) The Authorpreneur

This is where you build a business around your books that allows you to maximize your income from everything you publish (even if none of your books are runaway bestsellers). This usually involves offering additional products/services related to your books.

Pros:  Everything you do for work relates back to your writing. Cons:  You are your own boss and need to be self-motivated.

3) The Classic Day Job

This is where you get some sort of regular job that pays the bills while also allowing you sufficient time and mental energy to consistently work on your personal writing. Your day job may not be your passion, but it puts food on the table while you work towards your dreams.

Pros:  Making money while still having time and mental energy to write. Cons:  May not pay super well or provide a lot of opportunity for advancement.

4) The Professional

This is where you get paid for your writing skills or knowledge by working for another organization (e.g. a publisher, university, or business) while also working towards publishing your own books. This is a writing-specific variation of the Classic Day Job.

Pros:  You are getting paid for your writing skills and knowledge. Cons:  The best jobs (e.g. teaching at a university) can be highly competitive.

5) The Comeback Kid

This is where you choose a more intense career (often unrelated to writing) and wait to publish books until later in life. Unlike a Classic Day Job, your chosen career does not allow sufficient time and mental energy to consistently work on your personal writing.

Pros:  Great if you have another passion you want to pursue as your first career. Cons:  Potentially putting your writing career on hold for a while.

Hopefully, these five categories have expanded your sense of what’s possible.

Too many writers believe that “Living The Dream” is the only way to succeed as a writer or that “The Classic Day Job” is the only way to earn money and still pursue writing. For those writers, “The Professional” or “The Authorpreneur” strategies mean they can build a profitable career around their love for writing and eliminate the pressure of needing to be a mega-bestselling author just to provide for their family.

Others believe that if they choose a different career path they have shut the door on writing forever. For those writers, “The Comeback Kid” approach means they can actually pursue multiple passions in their lifetime… like Andrew Peterson who pursued music first, got well-established as an artist, and then branched out into writing fiction and non-fiction books.

Also, keep in mind that these are general categories with room for incredible diversity. For example, “The Professional” approach would include someone like C.S. Lewis teaching at Oxford as well as a self-employed copywriter getting paid to write landing pages. “The Authorpreneur” approach would include non-fiction authors like myself, but also  New York Times Bestselling  fiction authors like Joanna Penn.

Regardless of which approach you choose to take, you’ll need to avoid six common mistakes people make when trying to pursue a writing career.

Five Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Pursuing A Writing Career

Simply believing that a writing career is possible and choosing to pursue it, doesn’t guarantee success. Often writers fail because of one or more of the following six mistakes.

1) Not being willing to work hard.

Those of you who have been writing for a while know the truth. Writing is fun, but it’s not easy. Becoming an excellent writer is hard. Building an audience for your writing is hard. Getting published is hard. Learning how to actually sell books is hard.

The important thing to remember is that this is not unique to writing. Every career that pays decently requires tremendous effort and dedication to gain the relevant skills and then put yourself in a position to get paid.

At the end of the day, as someone who loves writing, your career choices come down to either working hard at writing or working hard at something else. There’s no easy option.

2) Not being willing to be different.

If you choose to pursue writing, you must accept that some people won’t understand and may question your sanity. That just comes with the territory.

You also need to accept that pursuing your writing goals may involve charting your own path in areas like education and employment. Depending on your specific goals, you may choose to delay college or forgo higher education entirely. You may decide to be self-employed rather than getting a conventional job. You may take a hybrid approach.

The point is… if you can’t handle being different, writing may not be a good fit.

3) Ignoring the business side of writing.

Writing is an art, but it is also a business. One of the biggest reasons writers fail is because they refuse to embrace the business side of pursuing a career. As Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, shares in her book,  The Business of Being a Writer :

“Most serious writers take for granted that art and business are antithetical to one another. Before a word is published — before they’ve encountered any aspect of the business of their art — they assume that they are bad at business or that attending to business concerns will pollute their creative efforts. Too few are open to the possibility that the business side calls for as much imagination as the artistic process itself.”

Many writers mistakenly believe that if they can only get published, their publisher will take care of selling their books, and they will be able to make a living as a writer. Those writers are in for a rude awakening and may never get traditionally published again.

4) Taking forever to finish projects.

Too many writers spend years wrestling with their first full-length project, which dramatically slows down their growth as a writer, and renders them completely unprepared to write under deadline for an actual publisher.

This is often where first-time authors fail. They spent 10 years writing their first novel or series and now they have 4-6 months to write something just as good or better. This is called the dreaded “Sophomore Slump” and destroys many writing careers.

Writers who succeed tend to focus on completing as many full-length projects as possible, so they can practice crafting a good story from start to finish. This gives them more projects to pitch as they attempt to land that first book contract but also means they won’t have to go through the typical “Sophomore Slump” that many authors deal with.

5) Rushing past the fundamentals.

Some writers get caught up in building a platform, finding an agent, and getting that first book contract when their stories still have unsympathetic characters, no stakes, serious plot holes, etc. Or where their message is basically just regurgitating what other people have said.

Instead of ignoring the business side of writing, these writers are ignoring the craft side. They are pursuing a career but may have only ever received critique from peers.

Not only will these writers struggle to find a good agent or publisher, but they may eventually decide that the system is “rigged” against them and never realize that it was the quality of their work that held them back.

You  Can Make A Living As A Writer

It’s not in your best interest or mine to convince you that a writing career is easy or that the outcome is guaranteed. But I do want you to know that it’s possible and that with hard work and dedication, you can build a career around what you love most.

The incredible thing about writing is that you always have another shot. There’s no artificial deadline like, “If you haven’t made it by 25, you’re done.” Many first-time authors are in their 40s, 50s, or even 60s. Francis Schaeffer published his first book at the age of 55, and went on to publish over 20 books before he died.

As I like to say, “The only way to fail at becoming an author is to give up or die.” This is important to remember when you’re dealing with discouragement from a bad grade on a writing assignment, harsh feedback from a reader, or rejections from editors or agents.

If God has placed a love for writing inside of you, it’s there for a reason. The road ahead may be as daunting as Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mount Doom, but it will be worth it.

What Do I Do Next? Following the Right Strategies

After reading this post so far, though, you may be wondering how to make sure you avoid these five common mistakes that too often prohibit writers from becoming successful authors.

That’s why I want to give you the five strategies I coach our Author Conservatory students to use so you can make sure you avoid those pitfalls.

These five key shifts have given many other young writers the clarity and confidence they need to move forward. Several of them may seem counter-intuitive at first. But for writers who use them, you will gain a major advantage over every other writer (young or old) and overtake people who are years ahead of them.

If you want to learn the strategies you need to use to follow one of these different six career paths, click here to sign up for the free training and learn how to successfully pursue publication and beyond.

I want to give you confidence in your author career plan and the ability to support yourself at the same time.

how to become a essayist writer

Article by Brett Harris

Brett Harris is the bestselling author of Do Hard Things and co-founder of the Young Writer’s Workshop, which has trained thousands of writers since 2017. He is a personal mentor and coach for many of the world’s top young writers and authors and his mission is to raise up the next C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Become a Writer Today

13 Ways To Become A Writer (2024)

It’s easier than ever to become a writer today. Here, we feature the skills you need to acquire and the most profitable careers paths available.

The writing advice and resources on this page apply to writers across various industries, niches and all types of writing. You can find resources for improving your writing skills , earning more money, and making an impact.

Writing Advice You Can Apply

If you need specific craft advice that will help you become a good writer, fear not!

On Become a Writer Today, I offer practical writing tips and advice for aspiring writers, authors, storytellers, copywriters, freelancers and more. Here’s a round-up of some of our best resources so you can express yourself clearly and accurately.

1. Pick A Genre Or Niche

Perhaps you want to write thrillers, science fiction, self-development or thriller books?

Start with one.

Most writers begin in a particular genre or niche. This approach gives them confines within which to create and also helps them determine who their ideal reader is.

Read the work of other successful writers in your niche of choice, study their work and then write a piece with your take.

Writing within a specific genre or niche and for particular audiences isn’t a bad thing. It increases your chances of finding more readers and earning more money as a writer.

Later on, when you’re comfortable with a specific genre or niche, you try another. Neil Gaiman started as a graphic novel storyteller. Now, he writes across many genres and media for adults and children.

2. Use The Right Writing Tools

Whatever type of writer you are, we profile the writing tools all types of creatives, including authors, bloggers and novelists, need to achieve their writing goals.

If you’re writing online for the first time, we also profile some of the best writing apps from across the internet, one of which will suit your creative workflow.

Discover the writing tools you need.

3. Beat Writer’s Block

Beat writer's block

Many new writers worry about turning up in front of the blank page and not having anything to write about. However, professional writers have more trouble determining what to spend time on than searching for a good idea.

You can quickly solve creative problems like writer’s block by reading great writing books, taking writing courses, journaling, and creating a system for capturing ideas as you come across them during your daily life.

Learn how to beat writer’s block .

4. Improve Your Storytelling Skills

Whether it’s an article, blog post or book chapter, the best writing informs, educates, inspires or entertains readers. Good writers and authors understand the art of storytelling. And they regularly use techniques like the hero’s journey .

If you want to become a good writer, it’s not enough to convey information on the page. You must be able to do so in a way that the reader finds memorable and engaging. That’s why we tell stories, and that’s why people read them.

Read our storytelling guide

5. Use A Grammar Checker

Grammarly graphical user interface

Many people you want to become a better writer worry about expressing themselves in the English language.

They also worry about publishing work – grammatically incorrect, unclear, confusing for readers.

You can become a better writer by publishing early and often and gradually improving your skills.

It’s easier never to improve your skills as a writer today by taking online writing courses, studying the basic grammar rules, and learning practical skills that authentic writers can use, including storytelling and writing persuasively.

Read our guide to the best grammar checker .

6. Treat Your Writing Career Like A Business

If you want to write on the side of the busy full-time day job or personal family commitments, that’s fine. Writing is a fun, creative, and rewarding way to spend free time.

But if you want to quit a dull day job and get paid full-time as a professional writer, it’s easier than ever to leap.

You can get paid for publishing books on Amazon, working as a freelance writer, copywriter, or creating content that readers, clients, and business owners love.

Compared to years ago, it’s easier never to build a lasting, profitable writing career. The trick is to become a successful writer is to treat it like a business.

Work on your craft and improve your writing skills every day by taking online courses for writers, reading the best writing books and more. Also, work on your business every day by building your brand and pitching for new writing jobs.

7. Master Self-Editing

Revise Edit And Proofread

Good writers know how to edit their work. They also separate writing and editing into tasks they perform at different times of the day. You can edit your own writing with the help of Grammarly or ProWritingAid. A good self-editing checklist helps too.

We also recommend following Robert A. Heinlein’s 5 Rules For Writers:

1. You must write. 2. You must finish what you write . 3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order. 4. You must put the work on the market. 5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold. Robert Heinlein

That said, for longer pieces of work, it’s always best to enlist the help of a professional editor.

Get a self-editing checklist

8. Listen To Writing Podcasts


Years ago, many of the most successful writers and authors were inaccessible. As readers or lovers of their writing, we can only learn from them and their creative approach by reading their books. These days, many successful writers run their podcasts to build better relationships with their readers.

You can become a better writer by either starting a podcast aimed at your ideal audience or listening to popular writing podcasts and practising some of the lessons and writing advice you discover on these shows.

Listen to the best writing podcasts .

9. Pursue Creative Writing

Quotes about creative process

Not every creative wants to get paid for their work. Some people prefer exploring creative writing because they like playing with words and expressing themselves on the page.

You can quickly improve your creative writing skills through lecturing and free writing. Creative writing can take many different forms, including journalling and poetry.

Practicing creative writing is also an excellent way to improve your craft, translating into meaningful work later on.

Learn how to master the creative process .

10. Practice Short-Story Writing

Writing short stories is a great way to improve your storytelling skills and practice different genres.

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree or creative writing MFA either. It’s a good approach if you want to learn how to write without investing a lot of time or resources.

11. Conquer Your Writing Fears

Many aspiring creatives are afraid of what people think of their work, that they’ll make mistakes in public, and face rejection.

If you want to become a professional writer, the biggest problem isn’t what people will think of you or your work, and it’s getting their attention in the first place.

Chances are an editor or even a reader will call you out on a typo or a mistake in your work at some point. But, the days of mistakes set in print permanently are over.

You can easily find, fix and rewrite these stakes and then move on. It’s better to learn from your failure than be held back by a fear of writing.

Editors of popular publications will reject or even ignore your pictures, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to gain a foothold in the market. Everyone has to start somewhere. Twelve different publishers rejected the author JK Rowling

Learn how to your writing fears .

12. Abandon Perfectionism

When I started writing, I spent hours every evening for months revising the same sentences. I wanted them to sound perfect, but no matter how many times I edited and rewrote them, I always found room for improvement.

If you want to find success as a writer, abandon pursuing perfectionism. It’s simply procrastination in disguise.

By all means, write and publish something you’re proud of, but if perfectionism is holding you back from pitching an editor, publishing an article or writing a book, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

It’s better to get feedback about a piece of finished writing from an editor and readers about your craft than working on a single story endlessly. That way, you can improve as a writer, and you can also take on more writing projects.

Learn how to beat procrastination

13. Learn How To Use Jobs Boards

how to become a essayist writer

If you want to find paying work fast or to see what opportunities exist for professional writers, browsing jobs boards is a great way of getting a feel of the market.

You can see the different types of publications and websites looking for writers, what type of niches they operate in, and potentially how much they pay.

UpWork and The ProBlogger jobs board are both good resources for aspiring content creators, bloggers and anyone who wants to break into a particular market or niche.

If you’re ready to take your writing career more seriously, you consider signing up for premiums jobs for service like FlexJobs.

Apply for many different writing jobs as editors can take a long time to get back to you, if at all. Plus, supplement your job applications by building relationships directly with editors on Twitter.

Find the best writing jobs .

The Most Profitable Writing Careers

Writers can pick from a variety of career paths. You don’t need to confine yourself to one either. For example, an indie author can easily supplement their income by blogging or freelance writing.

We cover some of the options available.

1. Try Freelance Writing

What is guest blogging

The easiest way to earn money as a professional writer is to become a freelance writer.

If you’re comfortable working the written word, it’s relatively easy to find clients and produce content for them.

You can find work as a freelance writer and earn a couple of hundred dollars each month while working another day job. Many new writers find it’s relatively easy to make money on Medium.

When you’ve an established profile, more opportunities than ever exist for freelance writers today like Writer Access or UpWork.

Become a freelance writer .

Listen to the story of freelance writer Zulie Rane.

2. Become A Content Writer

The internet thrives on content. A content writer produces articles, ebooks, guides, PDFs and even social media posts for clients. They also understand the basics of search engine optimisation, and they get paid well for doing it.

If you want to become a content writer, pick an industry or niche related to your hobbies, skills, or interests.

Then, start related informational articles on a website you own. Alternatively, set yourself up as a professional content writer and work with clients. A content writer gets paid anywhere from two to ten cents a word.

Want to get started? Practice these content writing exercises .

3. Become A Copywriter

A copywriter writes words that sell products and services and usually for business owners or clients.

Copywriters are paid more than traditional freelance writers because it’s a particular skill set requires understanding what customers want and translating their needs into persuasive copy.

Copywriting is an excellent skill to learn because even if you move on, knowing how to write effective copy will help you sell more of your digital products, courses and books. A good copywriter can easily earn over six figures a year writing sales pages, email funnels and other content.

Become a copywriter

4. Start A Blog

Start a blog

If you’re comfortable with the written word, start a blog.

Blogging is a long-term project, and it takes many months to pay off.

You can make a name for yourself by guest posting on popular websites in your niche and by building an email list.

Then, when your blog starts to attract website traffic, start blogging on your site and cultivate a loyal relationship with readers. Starting a blog is also a good approach if you plan to go from blog to book.

Start a blog

5. Write Fiction

Fiction writers can get paid to write by entering writing competitions or by publishing books.

Indie novelists earn a good living by writing a series and building their back catalogue. Some of the bestselling genres include romance, mystery, and thrillers.

Even if you’re going down the traditional publishing route, it’s still a good idea to learn the basics of book marketing as book promotion is up to the author.

So, get comfortable with approaches like advertising on Amazon, email marketing and building an author website.

6. Self-Publish A Book

The Art of Writing a Non-Fiction Book

Years ago, writing and publishing that first book meant finding a book agent and getting accepted by a book publisher. Even then, success wasn’t guaranteed.

Now, it’s easier than ever for anyone to write and self-publishing their first book, thanks to Amazon Kindle and other self-publishing options for creatives.

Once you understand the costs of self-publishing a book , you can get paid as an author of fiction or non-fiction books.

If you learn the basics of advertising, expect to earn between $250 and $1000 from your first book. Publish on Amazon and you will earn up to 70% royalties on your book. Traditionally published authors make between 10% and 12%.

Learn how to write a book .

7. Turn Your Non-Fiction Book Into A Course

If you want to earn a living writing non-fiction books, it’s certainly possible. However, many successful non-fiction authors don’t rely solely on a book to make a living writing.

Their non-fiction books build credibility for their work as a coach, teacher or creative entrepreneur.

Creatives can turn many of the ideas inside of the non-fiction book into an online course. Alternatively, if you enjoy blogging, try going from blog to blog to earn a good living from your writing. Online course sells for anywhere between $49 and $2000 plus, depending on the audience and niche.

Learn how to turn your writing into a course .

8. Write For A Magazine

Writing for a magazine is considered a prestigious writing gig. It’s appealing to see your name in print in a magazine in the shop.

Up until a few years ago, many magazines paid their freelance writers enough to live on. Thanks to the internet, it’s much harder for a magazine to break even. As a result, many magazines cut rates for freelance writers and magazine gigs are drying up.

What’s more, many readers are more likely to read articles online than in a traditional magazine. If you still want to write for a magazine, establish a personal brand.

Build up a portfolio of writing articles, and put them on your website. This approach may mean writing for free for a short period.

Next, find a few magazines in your niche and learn how to pitch an editor with good ideas. That said, you’re unlikely to earn a good full-time living by writing solely for magazines. It’s much easier to earn a good living writing online.

A magazine writer usually gets paid by commission, per piece or by word. Rates range from ten cents upwards.

9. Become A Technical Writer

Technical writing involves writing up procedures, informational articles, checklists, documentation and other literature products, services and internal company processes.

As writing careers go, it pays relatively well as a subject matter can be complex if dry.

A technical writer understands how to break down complex ideas and tasks into step-by-step processes, checklists and procedures that anyone can follow.

Thanks to the proliferation of software as a service and working from home opportunities, an aspiring technical writer can easily build a lucrative career from their home office.

Technical writing is good springboard into other types of writing, for example, copywriting, content writing, and writing for experience design.

A technical writer’s salary starts at under $40,000 but experienced senior technical writers can earn six figures a year.

10. Become A Children’s Book Author

Becoming an author of a thriller or mystery book or contemporary fiction involves writing thousands of words over the course of several months, to say nothing of revising and reworking the manuscript prior to publication. But, a good children’s book usually isn’t longer than a few hundred words.

These authors rely on a captivating hook to gain readers’ attention and on compelling imagery that illustrators can turn into pictures and other graphical elements.

If you enjoy reading children’s books, have kids or like simple but memorable stories, writing a children’s book is a good way to become an author without necessarily quitting your day job.

11. Become A Ghost Writer

Many of the bestselling titles you see on bookshelves by celebrities, entrepreneurs, politicians and public figures aren’t written by the person on the cover. A ghostwriter interviews the author and turns their life story and key ideas into a book in many cases.

Or they take a manuscript or early drafts created by the public figure or celebrity and rewrite it until it’s publishable. Becoming a ghostwriter is a lucrative career.

Still, it involves understanding how to interviewer people, translate life experiences into stories without losing some of the tone of voice and knowing how to write a book.

According to Salary.com, a ghostwriter can earn anywhere between $23,834 to $61,704 per year.

12. Join The Medium Parter Progam

How to make money on Medium

The Medium Partner program pays writers each month for writing and publishing articles about entrepreneurship, personal development relationships, and other topics. Anyone can join.

About 6.4% of writers on Medium earn over $100 per month. That is a small percentage and those are full-time writers. They get featured on the homepage.

Read our guide to Making Money on Medium

Listen to advice from a top Medium publication owner

13. Start a Newsletter

Newsletters are a tried and tested monetisation method for content creators. They’re ideal for writers too. You don’t need to worry about any of the technical parts of running a website, assuming you’re comfortable promoting your newsletter to attract subscribers.

Learn how to start a newsletter readers love.

Listen to an interview with Substack founder Hamish McKenzie

Bryan Collins headshot

My name is Bryan Collins, the founder of Become a Writer Today. I work with other writers to publish content that will help you earn a living, make an impact and share your stories with the world.

How to Become a Writer: FAQ

What does it take to become a writer.

Learn how to tell compelling stories that readers find inspiring, entertaining, educational or informative. Write every day and work on improving your craft. If you want to get paid to write, spent part of the day working on your business.

Also, consider what type of writer you want to become. Do you want to write fiction or non-fiction? Would you like to get paid for freelance writing, copywriting for blogging? Or perhaps you want to self publish books on Amazon?

It’s all possible with focus and hard work.

Do You Need A Degree To Become A Writer?

Some aspiring writers wonder if they need to get a bachelors degree or even an MFA in English for creative writing.

Take it from a professionally trained journalist: an academic program can certainly help you improve your English and storytelling skills, but it’s not a replacement for doing the work.

Anyone can become a writer, no matter their education. Many authors, like JK Rowling and Roald Dahl, didn’t pursue formal training, like a creative MFA, and they still found success as a writer.

How Can I Get Started As A Writer?

Sit down at a desk and eliminate all distractions and interruptions. Open up your word processor or even get a piece of paper and a pen.

Now, get a timer and start writing about whatever is on your mind for 15 minutes or until you produce 300-words. Don’t stop to question yourself or edit your work.

Your job is to get words out of your head and onto the blank page. (Hint: Use the Pomodoro Technique to Write). The following day, repeat this process. Keep going for several days, gradually building up your word count and time spent writing training.

By turning up consistently, you’ll learn more about the types of writing you’re good at and cultivate the discipline it takes to create regularly.

Once you’ve created a consistent writing routine, you can take the next step: writing stories, building a freelance writing career or blogging.

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Public Books

What Essays Are, and What Essayists Do

how to become a essayist writer

T here are no good books about essays, only essays. The first practitioner of the form, the 16th-century French politician and minor aristocrat Michel de Montaigne, never said what an essay was. He just said what he was doing. And he did it. Likewise, the Irish writer Brian Dillon, in his new book Essayism: On Form, Feeling, and Nonfiction , wisely declines to offer a potted history of the form. Instead he shows us glimpses of his subject from all sides, uncovering bit by bit what this way of writing is all about: he essays the essay itself.

Sensitivity, tenderness, and a measure of slyness characterize Dillon’s opening essay, “On Essays and Essayists,” in which he writes, in one of the most astute observations on the form, that essayists “perform a combination of exactitude and evasion that seems to me to define what writing ought to be.” Summing up his own method and, in a way, Essayism itself, he identifies the essay as “a form that would instruct, seduce and mystify in equal measure.” An essay tells the truth, but it tells it “slantwise,” with a difference—sometimes subtle, sometimes extreme.

Diversity is the essay’s reason for being, and its principal theme. Every essay has something original in its approach, paradoxical in the root sense of going at least slightly against the grain of popular opinion, showing the way a single person thinks and a single person writes. One of the founding fictions of the form, in Montaigne’s Essais , is that the essayist simply can’t write in any other way: his form is necessarily as idiosyncratic as his mind and his body, and to write a different kind of book would be not only dishonest to himself and to the reader but also on some level impossible.

An essay tells the truth, but it tells it “slantwise,” with a difference—sometimes subtle, sometimes extreme.

Like Montaigne, Dillon writes essays because he has to. It’s somehow in his literary DNA: “I will have to write, can only write, in fits and starts,” he admits. Recounting his abysmal performance in a required logic course at university, Dillon admits that, like Musil’s protagonist, “I was and remain quite incapable of mounting in writing a reasoned and coherent argument, never mind describing to myself, as the study of logic required, the parts and processes, more or less persuasive, of that argument.”

The essay, according to Dillon, isn’t simply a means to an end, even though, without an end (usually stated in terse titles—“Of Practice,” “On Consolation”—that gesture toward the Greco-Roman precursors of the form), an essay has no motion. Unlike an instruction manual or a polemic or a speech, the essay isn’t merely a technology for informing or persuading an audience. It has much more to do, at least at first glance, with the writer; the work it may do on the reader is secondary to the intellectual or emotional itch it scratches for the essayist.

In its independence, it’s something closer to a poem—or, to use a metaphor Dillon hints at, a photograph. The presence of Roland Barthes, like that of Joan Didion and Elizabeth Hardwick, suffuses Essayism, and in the chapter “On Vulnerability,” Dillon dwells on Barthes’s distinction, in Camera Lucida , between two planes of the photograph: the studium , which is the explicit subject of the image, the information we learn from it; and the punctum , “that aspect (often a detail) of a photograph that holds our gaze without condescending to mere meaning or beauty.” The punctum exists only in the gaze of the viewer; it may change, as it does for Barthes, and as it does for Dillon in his rereading of Barthes.

Any given essay has some theme—a Borgesian catalog of which opens Essayism —but also some distinct, idiosyncratic, and often changing view of that theme. To use one of Dillon’s examples, we read Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia Epidemica , a point-by-point refutation of commonly held misconceptions, not because it’s fascinating to consider, for example, the widespread belief that a badger’s legs are shorter on one side than the other or that a dead kingfisher can be used as a weathervane, though these things are entertaining. We read Browne because we want to know how he thinks about these curiosities. We read for the punctum : that peculiar way of seeing, or writing—in a word, the writer’s style.

how to become a essayist writer

Are Sharp Women Enough?

If something seems quaint about Essayism, it’s Dillon’s emphasis on style, the part of writing that, in contemporary conversations about literature, may seem to be the most superficial. But essayistic writing begins, as Adorno once noted, not with the simplest thing but with the most complicated: the richest form of reality explored by, and within, the essayist. 3 This concern for the concrete, for realistic complexity rather than rationalistic reduction, is why an essay, like a poem, ultimately is its style—and why essayism is itself a style.

In one of several Whitmanesque moments, Dillon writes that the essay “is diverse and several—it teems ” with topics and perspectives as various as the people who write about them. We read to experience, and sometimes, as in the case of Dillon’s melancholy, to be reminded of the teeming diversity of the world and, at the same time, of human experience, “the halo of affinities and correspondences” that surrounds everything; to be reminded, quite simply, that there are others out there who are as particular and peculiar and strange as ourselves, whose feelings are as motile and contradictory as our own, each with her own style—the way she reshapes the world through her language. He writes, “‘I like your style’ means: I admire, dear human, what you have clawed back from sickness and pain and madness.” We read an essay not simply to learn something but to see through someone’s eyes, to follow the traces of their mind on the page as they come to terms with a theme or an idea or an experience.

It’s impossible not to like Dillon’s style. His essays are a remarkable mixture of fine-grained criticism and literary memoir, much of which is not only beautiful but also genuinely useful for the study of a form that, because of its non- or even antigeneric nature, falls between the cracks of literary criticism. It should be read by all critics examining nonfiction writing. That said, a book like this is neither scholarly nor comprehensive, and doesn’t set out to be.

The absence a historically minded reader will feel the most is antiquity. Except for one allusion to Augustine, there is no mention of classical literature, which, in its polymathic variety, forms the foundation of the tradition in which Dillon inscribes himself. The motley histories of Herodotus, the philosophical life writing of Plutarch, the essayistic letters of Cicero and Seneca, the lyrical prose of Apuleius, the encylopedism of Pliny the Elder, and the vivid letters of Pliny the Younger—all of these, and more, are the roots of the essay’s family tree. Montaigne, its trunk, does get a few good pages: Dillon homes in on “Of Practice,” the story of Montaigne’s nearly fatal fall from a horse, which is in itself a kind of allegory of how the writer’s “‘I’ travels out from the seat of consciousness and dissipates itself at the extremities” of thought and feeling.

Dillon is best on the authors he knows well, namely 20th-century writers like Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Hardwick, Maeve Brennan, Cyril Connolly, and Roland Barthes, though he also offers some startlingly insightful commentary on Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy and on Thomas Browne’s “idea of the essay as collection or repository—or an idea of the museum as essay.” His short chapters on fragments (“spines or quills whose owner evades us and attacks at the same time”) and aphorisms (a form of “sublime ambition that is at present in a kind of disgrace”) would interest and instruct even a seasoned literary historian.

Essayistic writing shows what is at stake when we say “you”: another “I.”

Although it’s almost perversely Anglocentric (all writers are referenced in English, with no allusions to the originals or the problems of translation so relevant to questions of style), Essayism ’s bibliography alone is almost worth the price of the book—fitting since, as Dillon teaches us, essays are like encyclopedias, existing in and around other texts, and essayists bring things together in lists, channeling the associative impulse. It’s only a shame the book is so short. Dillon’s take on contemporary writers like Teju Cole and Rebecca Solnit, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Leslie Jamison, as well as writing in the digital age, would be fascinating. But of course Dillon can only write the way he writes.

Yet there is one blind spot in Essayism that is harder to explain away and harder to forgive: politics. Early on, Dillon excuses himself from the subject.

I find myself allergic to polemics, and so in the pages that follow some partisans of political essaying, or boisterous critical opinion, may find that their exemplars are absent. It’s not that I dislike a certain violence in the essay, but I can’t believe in a writing that is forcefully only itself—I want obliquity, essays that approach their targets, for there must be targets, slantwise, or with a hail of conflicted attitudes. This too may be political, even radical. It will often look like something else: what used to be called formalism, or dismissed as aestheticism.

I don’t mean to dismiss Dillon’s welcome book as formalism or mere aestheticism. These are in fact virtues, even necessities, when writing about a literature that is constantly reminding the reader of its own status as writing and of its difference, its peculiarity—Montaigne’s musings on the transience of pain and sexual desire, Brennan’s microscopic attention to the “tiny, interstitial moments” of the city, Barthes’s punctum . But, as Dillon himself begins to say, formalism and aestheticism are also the basis of an ethical stance toward the other, in which difference—in writing style; in politics, the historical, situational aspects of our lives that inform each of our identities and complicate mutual understanding—is a primary characteristic of human life. In a community of infinitely particular members, communication is the central problem of living together. Witness the way identity influences our contemporary political conversations: it is often unclear who can and should speak for whom.

how to become a essayist writer

Great Liberations: Writing Beyond the Academy

The essay is a marginal, even trivial form, yet it is also deeply and seriously engaged with the weightiest questions of how a philosophical and political subject can be constituted out of a particular body and mind. Essayistic writing—as opposed to strict autobiography, which may simplify and explain a life through narrative—shows what is at stake when we say “you”: another “I.” If the essay has a politics, it’s nothing so ideological as conservatism or radicalism, or any other ideology. In fact, it’s a kind of anti-ideology, couching politics in human terms: since I’m a black box and you’re a black box, how can we live together?

In its last chapter, “On Starting Again,” Essayism seems to know this, even if its author never makes it explicit. Dillon ends by turning away from himself and his “melancholy essayism,” toward another person. “Do you remember when you quoted The Waste Land— ‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins’—and I was absolutely sure, without checking, that it ought to be ‘ruin’? That is how I have heard the line in my head for more than half my life, and I was awfully sure of myself. I was wrong, of course—it is ‘ruins.’” That “you,” quoting the lines of yet someone else, saves Dillon from his solitary and self-destructive misreading and brings him back into a community of language and thought. And then Dillon invites the reader to join him, calling her “Dear essayist” and asking her to remember a curious metaphor from William Carlos Williams and consider it with him. Both see themselves and the other reflected on the page. Reader and writer essay together; they rely upon each other. The sociability of the essay, its civility, means something in these troubled times, and we have something to learn from this humane book.


  • Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities , vol. 1, translated from the German by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser (Picador, 1982), p. 301. ↩
  • Ibid., p. 297. ↩
  • Theodor Adorno, “The Essay as Form,” translated from the German by Shierry Weber Nicholsen, in Notes to Literature (Columbia University Press, 1991), p. 14. ↩
  • The classic exposition of the Renaissance crisis of skepticism is Richard H. Popkin’s The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle . ↩

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Blog • Perfecting your Craft

Posted on Feb 11, 2021

How to Become a Better Writer: 20 Hacks and Tips

Practically speaking, writing is just about putting one word after another. But as anyone who’s struggled with the question of how to become a better writer will tell you, there are sometimes entire worlds of frustration compressed in the seconds between setting each word down. If that sounds familiar, or you’re simply trying to improve your craft without the existential writerly despair, we’ve got 20 essential tips to share with you.

In this post, we’ll be sharing writing advice for everyone, but you can head to our more specific guides on starting from scratch, writing novels, nonfiction, and children’s books if that’s what you’re after:

  • How to Start Creative Writing: 7 Ways to Fast-Track Your Writing
  • Reedsy's guide to novel writing
  • How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 6 Steps  
  • How to Write a Children's Book in 7 Surprisingly Simple Steps  

1. Start by spending more time writing

How to become a better writer | Malcolm Gladwell quote about practice making you better

  • You’ll get to know your own writing habits better, e.g. the time of day when you’re most productive, or the location where you’re most inspired to write;
  • You’ll develop writerly discipline (an essential skill if you ever hope to write a book or another long form project); 💪
  • You'll work out what you really like to write, whether that's literary fiction or epic fantasy;
  • You’ll stick around long enough for new ideas to occur to you (especially helpful if you’re a pantser, not a plotter ).

2. Practice reading books by other authors

How to become a better writer | Stephen King quote about how important it is for writers to read widely

On the level of vocabulary, sentence structure, and rhythm, the “ease and intimacy” King talks about occurs subliminally, beneath the surface of your consciousness, quietly sharpening your perceptive skills. On the level of plot or structure, you actively discover the creative strategies of other writers. Now aware of what others are doing with their words, you become a native to that “country of the writer”. 

Ultimately, the more wonderful things you feed your brain, the richer the pool of knowledge your creativity will be able to draw from.

📚 If you need recommendations, we’ve compiled reading lists for every taste here:

  • 25 Creative Writing Examples to Inspire You Today
  • The 115 Best Books of All Time
  • The 60 Best Nonfiction Books of the 21st Century
  • The 125 Best Children’s Books of All Time
  • The 30 Best Memoirs of the Last Century
  • The Best Short Stories and Collections Everyone Should Read

3. Pick up writing skills from other texts

Okay, enough with the subconscious magical learning — you also need to put in serious, active effort. That means taking apart passages that impress or move you and dissecting another writer’s methodology. 

This will be most helpful if you focus on texts in your genre or form: read respected newspapers or magazines if you’re hoping to submit to such publications, poetic collections if you long to publish poetry , academic papers by reputable academics if you’re a budding scholar. 

How to Become a Better Writer | Alexander Chee extract, annotated to show how you can learn by analyzing other writing

Read each sentence carefully, asking yourself how you would have gone about writing it. Notice the differences between each version: look closely at how the other writer avoids repetition and regulates sentence length, and become aware of all the words that could’ve gone into the sentence, but were trimmed out. If you remember the lessons you draw from this exercise, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better writer. 

If you struggle to write consistently, sign up for our How to Write a Novel course to finish a novel in just 3 months.  



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4. Study examples of writing theory

Time for some homework: aside from picking up other writers’ tricks by reading their work, you can also study up on basic writing theories . Learning about structure within stories and the different models that dramatists and fiction writers rely on, like Freytag’s pyramid or the classic structure divided into three acts , is valuable for any aspiring writer. These models are guides to centuries of storytelling tradition: demonstrations of how you might apply a structure onto a story.

How to become a better writer | Freytag's pyramid

When it comes to expressing yourself, brushing up on your literary and rhetorical devices is also helpful. After all, as much as people like to pretend writing is a mystical art, divinely bestowed upon one by magical inspiration, a lot of it comes down to active effort on the writer’s part.

Head to these guides to literary and rhetorical devices if you’re ready for school:

💡 45+ Literary Devices and Terms Every Writer Should Know

💡 30+ Rhetorical Devices Everyone Must Know



Literary Devices Cheatsheet

Master these 40+ devices to level up your writing skills.

5. Create your own voice

Some people’s advice for learning improving your writing skills is to stick to templates. These can be wonderful if you’re writing something meant to be plain, like a legal document or a freelance proposal . (If this is the case, all you need to do to become a better writer is be accurate, precise, and grammatically correct.) For everything else, by all means inform yourself about things like story structure, but never adhere to templates to the point where your personality is extinguished.

If you’ve got a sense of humor, interests, opinions, or possess literally any other quality unique to human beings (as opposed to bots), you can channel that personality into your writing, and lift mundane subjects up with the buoyancy of your voice.

💡 Need an example? Check out this post on the best reading chairs written by Savannah, one of Reedsy’s writers. You might not have a passion for chairs, but you’ll stay for the engaging tone of her writing voice. 

6. Experiment with your writing style

How to Become a Better Writer | Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones writing at his desk

Hit a plateau? If you don’t feel like you’re improving, it’s time to switch things up. Try writing something completely different to cleanse your palate with the literary equivalent of pickled ginger in a sushi restaurant. Experimentation seems to be working for George R.R. Martin, who has for decades been writing short stories , novellas and even reference books between instalments of his novel series A Song of Ice and Fire — evidently, switching between different forms has helped this author of epic fantasy stay inspired and motivated. 

We’ve got over 1,000 creative writing prompts you can browse for inspiration, as well as an interactive plot generator if you need someone to establish plot parameters for you. We know writers struggle to set themselves deadlines, so you could even join our weekly writing contest — we’re happy to provide you with some external pressure, and $250 if you manage to win!

7. Outline your book 

K66Km2r4Njw Video Thumb

Openings and endings don’t just matter in fiction. Inherent in all good writing is story: a narrative with a full-fledged arc that must start and end in places that make sense and add value to the entire text.

Writing students commonly struggle with slow or delayed story openings — where the writer takes too long to clear their throat. They can fill two or three paragraphs, several pages, or even an entire chapter before they get to something interesting. 

To sharpen your beginning, try deleting parts of it to get a feel of your work without them. You may find a later passage is more gripping to your reader — you’ll then know you’ve found your true opening.

Endings are similarly crucial. As editor and former publisher Jasmin Kirkbride points out, “Every subplot and all the different strands of your main plot should reach satisfying, clear conclusions. If they are meant to be left ambiguously, ensure your reader knows this, and create something out of that uncertainty.”

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8. Write with a clear vocabulary

As you edit your work , you’ll be thinking of what you intended to say at the time of writing. For that reason, you’ll need to maintain a level of mental alertness that enables you to evaluate whether or not what you ended up writing actually does convey what you wanted to say. This is particularly important if you’re writing nonfiction. 

How to Become a Better Writer | Example of wordy sentence before and after editing

9. Self-edit for errors in your prose

While we’re discussing lazy, unmemorable writing, this is a reminder that fillers are another literary ‘bad habit’ to actively resist. Cluttering up your prose, these short words sneakily crawl into your writing and distract your reader from the essence of your point. 

In her free Reedsy course on self-editing, Lisa Lepki identifies the most common words in the English language as the culprits of literary clutter. Lisa advises writers to avoid “meandering around [their sentences’] meaning”, and offers this sentence as a wordy example:

“Andy went over to the far end of the playground to see if there was a rake that he could use to tidy up all of the leaves that had fallen down in the night.”

Lisa offers this distilled alternative:

“Mountains of leaves had fallen overnight, so Andy checked the playground for a rake. ”

Sign up to take the rest of this free course here:

Free course: How to self-edit like a pro

Rid your manuscript of the most common writing mistakes with this 10-day online course. Get started now.

10. Cut the repetitive sentences

One practical way to become a better writer is by consciously analyzing your writing to identify repetitive patterns. This is hard to do during the drafting process, especially if you write your first draft quickly , but it’s mercifully simple in retrospect. So dig out some past writing samples ( creative nonfiction , poems, short stories — anything will do), grab some coloring pencils or highlighters, and mark every instance of repetitive language.

Study your words on multiple levels:

  • The lexical level, i.e. specific verbs, adverbs or adjectives you might be repeating (are your characters constantly grinning?);
  • The sentence structure level, like if all your examples come in threes;
  • The narrative structure level, like if you unwittingly but consistently lapse into new flashbacks.

The point of this exercise is to identify your personal linguistic reflexes — known in linguistics as your “idiolect”. In terms of language use, it’s your fingerprint, and familiarizing yourself with it can help you identify repetition and edit it out of your writing.

💡 If you want to learn more about idiolects, check out this post by one of Reedsy’s writers.

11. Avoid clichéd language  

Clichés are every writer’s stumbling block, ever an uphill battle — though the battle has its ups and its downs, and what matters most is not the destination, but the friends we made along the way. You get our point, hopefully: clichés are lazy, overly familiar, platitudinous, and often boring. Every time you use a cliché, you’re wasting an opportunity to be original and authentic. 

Primarily, our issue with clichés is no moral qualm about authenticity. It’s the simple fact that they completely drain your writing of its ability to be memorable. Lifeless, it falls to the ground, faceless and forgotten.

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12. Understand the ideas behind your work

You’ve already taken the first step toward seeing the bigger picture by honing your opening and ending. Now it’s time to look at all the extraneous stuff outside your text: in other words, situate your writing within a wider framework of similar work. 

How to Become a Better Writer | Alan Lightman quote, to show the importance of providing context

13. Respect your reader’s attention 

Don’t lose sight of the fact that there’s a person on the other end of the line. Be a compassionate writer by imagining yourself as the reader: is that fourth paragraph detailing the history of a secondary character’s nomadic tribe really necessary? It’s certainly great world-building , but if it puts your reader to sleep, it’s got to go. 

Similarly, do not manipulate your reader. Pointless plot twists or clickbait will erode your readers’ trust, and hollow hot takes will impress no one. Stick to substance, and skip the paratextual circus act.

14. Get feedback from an editor

Nobody writes flawlessly. Most published writing undergoes significant editing both by its author and professional editors. For example, Raymond Carver’s classic short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is known to have been extensively shaped by Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish. 

No matter what you’re writing, give your work time to cool before stepping back into it with the fresh eyes of an editor. Assess the clarity of your meaning, expressions, overall structure, your tone, and the mood of the piece, and compare these to the vision you had when you were writing.

Any writing intended for publication should also be professionally edited — and lucky for you, you can hire some of the most experienced fiction or nonfiction editors in the publishing world, right here on Reedsy.

how to become a essayist writer

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15. Be open to constructive criticism

How to become a better writer | Professor Bhaer from Little Women

Becoming a writer means releasing your work into the world, and with that comes both praise and criticism. But neither will help you become a better writer if you shut all feedback out. Though some of the criticism you’ll receive may not be helpful, some of it will be, and you’ll struggle to improve your writing if you refuse to see that. Open your heart up to constructive criticism, and you’ll see your writing flourish.

16. Invest in your career with a writing course

While we’re on the topic of learning: there’s plenty of classes and courses you can take, if you’d rather study in a more structured way. If you’re serious about becoming a better writer, whether that’s an author, journalist, ghostwriter , or freelancer , a class can give you access to the wisdom of more experienced professionals — and a real-life class also means meeting mentors and kindred spirits. 

You can check out writing courses online — we’ve got a bunch of completely free courses you can take:



Author and ghostwriter Tom Bromley will guide you from page 1 to the finish line.

👩‍🎓 How to Write a Business Book —  taught by business coach Alison Jones

👩‍🎓 The Non-Sexy Business of Non-Fiction — taught by author coach Azul Terronez

Still hungry? Consider pursuing a writing degree. These aren’t just for people looking for creative writing classes — MFAs also focus on nonfiction, so if that’s what you see yourself writing, there are plenty of options. Only you know which program and school would be the best fit for you, and the Internet will be your friend as you work the answer out.

17. Keep company with other writers

Everything’s better with company. Whether your choice is to join a local writing group, critique circle , or an online Facebook group, having friends who are writers means you’ll have someone to bounce ideas off, someone to support you if you feel insecure about your writing, someone to inspire you to work harder, and someone to offer you advice and opinions about your project. All important aspects of improving your skills! ✊

18. Write content consistently

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Writing takes a lot of determination and discipline, especially when you’re working on a longer work like a book or a series . Sometimes things won’t work out, and you’ll be frustrated, impatient, demotivated, and temporarily hopeless. All of this is fine, and an entirely normal part of the process. When you get to this stage, be gentle with yourself, but do not give up. 

Writers are often the most stubborn of people: so go ahead and keep writing in spite of yourself, in spite of your insecurities or personal failures, and in spite of what anyone else might think. If that doesn’t earn you the ‘badge’ of a writer, we don’t know what does.

19. Don’t give up on your words

Your ideas will be exciting, but they won’t always be masterpieces. Some you can fix with a zealous edit. Others, not so much. Accept this as a reality and let them float down the river of oblivion. 

We know this sounds contradictory to our last bit of advice, but trust your intuition to decide whether it’s worth persevering with a particular project. For example, there’s no point in trying to resurrect the passion you had for a project you started long ago, if the inspiration has long since left you. There is also little point in pursuing something you began simply because you felt it was what you were supposed to be writing. If it doesn’t speak to you anymore and you see no way to revive the spark, cut your losses and move on. 

20. Embrace failure to become a better writer

Finally, just as you’ll have to handle criticism, you’ll also undoubtedly face rejection and failure. Whether you’re rejected by literary agents , fail to get a publishing deal, or have your stories, pitches, or poems rejected by literary publications, you must remember that failure is an inescapable and inevitable fact of life, and does not determine your worth as a writer. 

How to Become a Better Writer | CV of Failures

Be assured that others fail, too, even if they only fail in private. One of our favorite reminders of how common failure is is the famous CV of failures published by Princeton professor Johannes Haushofer , where he lists every program, award, and position he was rejected from, as a reminder that everyone experiences failure. And if you need a writer-specific example of success despite failure, remember that Douglas Stuart’s novel Shuggie Bain , winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, was rejected 32 times before it received a publisher’s offer.

You don’t need anybody to officially ordain you as a writer — you’re a writer if you believe you’re a writer and write anyway. 

We hope these tips help you figure out how to become a better writer. Your quest is noble, and we believe in you! 

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Essay writing jobs: Become a writer with EssayHub

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Advantages of partnering with EssayHub

Join the EssayHub crew and dive straight into a world without the hassle of sifting through countless platforms, hoping to find the right fit. With us, you handpick orders tailored to your expertise and timetable. Plus, no need to risk resources on a personal website.

Our platform is buzzing with students searching for the "get paid to write my essay " solution. So, why search elsewhere when you can optimize your time, boost your income, and craft essays precisely here? Welcome to the smart writer's haven.

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Expand your professional circle, boost your expertise, earn online by crafting essays, set your own rhythm, craft genuine content from your chosen spot, find out if you are the perfect fit.

Here are the four essential criteria we prioritize, determining if you're the perfect match to collaborate with our dynamic team.

English proficiency required

For the optimal results everyone expects, an essay writer must master all integral elements of the English language.

Recognized educational credentials

We require our essay writers to hold at least a BBA in their specialization. More credentials mean more writing opportunities.

Prompt response essential

For our online writing jobs, timely communication with customers is essential. Promptly address their questions to ensure a positive experience and uphold our service standards.

Experience matters here

For our online essay writing jobs, we recommend candidates with 2-3 years of educational writing experience. This ensures high-quality work with minimal revisions needed.

Our freelance writers saying a word!

Explore EssayHub more deeply by reading reviews of our freelance writing services and understanding why our platform stands out.

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Fill out the form and provide your email if you wish to become a writer for EssayHub

Earn by writing papers for others.

In today's competitive landscape, we recognize an increasing number of talented individuals attaining higher academic credentials, potentially making them suitable candidates for our essay writing jobs. However, increasing numbers don't always translate to a consistent rise in quality. As we prioritize excellence, we urge all applicants to diligently follow our assessment process, which evaluates not only writing acumen but also efficiency. Those who navigate this process effectively will swiftly transition into our team and start their journey to get a writer career, earning remuneration for crafting papers for our esteemed clients.

Begin your journey with us by submitting a well-organized professional resume that underscores your educational qualifications. To strengthen your application, provide a concise rationale explaining why you're the right fit for our platform. Should your profile resonate with our requirements, we'll reach out to discuss the subsequent phases of our comprehensive assessment. Please note a segment of this evaluation gauges psychological well-being, given the significance of mental health in ensuring consistent quality.

Ready to become a writer with us? Proceed with the form provided below.

Embrace this golden opportunity to merge passion with profession. Don't merely write, but flourish in a role where your expertise is valued and rewarded.

Experiencing freelance writing at EssayHub: What's it like?

Dipping your toes into the world of freelance writing jobs can feel a bit overwhelming, right? Trust us, you're not alone in feeling that the industry sometimes doesn't give writers the love (or the paycheck) they truly deserve.

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Why not start that dream with us?

We like to think of ourselves as a cozy little bridge connecting talented writers like you with students who need a hand. Our platform? Super user-friendly. And because we know the freelance life can have its ups and downs, we've got a dedicated manager on standby, ready to help you make the most out of every gig.

Steps to start freelance writing

Venturing into the world of freelance writing jobs can be both exciting and slightly nerve-wracking. Here's your roadmap to becoming a writer with us:

Step 1: Fill out our detailed application form. The verification process is streamlined, ensuring we collaborate with genuine talents.

Step 2: Your diploma isn't just a piece of paper. It's a testament to your dedication and hard work. Please upload it, letting us acknowledge your educational prowess.

Step 3: Demonstrate your expertise and previous successes. Send us your top-notch writing samples along with your CV. This step is crucial in proving you're a seasoned professional, ready for diverse online essay writing jobs.

Step 4: Every stellar writer has been through it - the test assignment. Embrace the challenge, showcasing your unique voice and impeccable skills.

Step 5: Last but not least, set up your payment account. With everything in place, you're ready to earn for your exceptional writing.

how to become a essayist writer

How to Become a Writer in 9 Simple Steps [2024]

by Sarah Lentz

on Jan 3, 2024

You’re here because you want to learn how to become a writer.

A quick Google search led to mountains of advice, leaving you with more questions than when you started!

But you’re determined to figure out, once and for all, how to grow your talent on a career path that not only puts food on the table but changes your life in ways you can’t put a price on.

In the simple steps below, you’ll learn how to decide what kind of writing to focus on and where to find the best writing jobs once you do.

Ready to take those first steps toward becoming a professional writer ?

Let’s dive in.

How to Become a Writer in 9 Steps

Who doesn’t love a step-by-step approach to making great things happen?

No one’s saying it’ll happen overnight. But, by giving each of the following steps your full and patient attention and taking action every day, you’ll make steady and measurable progress.

This is how you go from being an aspiring writer to landing a great writing job.

1. Choose a Path

Your decision to become a writer is just the beginning. When it comes to professional writing for an income, you have several rewarding paths to choose from:

  • Blogging : Build an audience by writing on your own platform (or guest post on other blogs)
  • Freelance writing : Write high-quality content for clients and publications
  • Copywriting : Write marketing copy and assist with branding
  • Writing nonfiction books : Share knowledge and earn royalty income
  • Fiction writing: Tell stories and earn royalty income
  • Ghostwriting : Merge your skill with another’s voice to write books or create viral content
  • Journalism: Write for a newspaper and/or magazines
  • Technical writing: Write technical manuals, instructions or reports

Some of these probably excite you more than others. And you wouldn’t be the first writer to try more than one path before settling on the best fit.

How do you decide where to begin?

  • Learn as much as you can about the paths that interest you.
  • Talk to experienced bloggers, journalists, ghostwriters, etc.
  • Try your hand at writing jobs for different paths (part-time).

Whatever you try, be honest about your inclinations. When you’re writing what you love (or what you don’t), it shows.

2. Get Over Yourself and Just Get Started

how to become a writer woman writers block

You’re sitting there in front of a blank page, wondering, “Why did I think becoming a writer would be easy? How do I start a writing career if I can’t think of what to write?”

Both are fair questions. The first step to writing more easily, though, is to stop self-editing in your head before the words get a chance to come out.

Get over the idea that every sentence you write has to be perfect. Your fear of making mistakes, or of making something less than perfect, is the monster behind writer’s block and procrastination.

But to be a great writer, you need something stronger: R esilience .

It’s in there, I promise.

And it’s what makes it possible for all types of writers to face harsh criticism, to get back up, and to keep on writing .

3. Write Every Day

Writer’s write. And professional writers write every day.

That might sound inflexible. But those who take their writing seriously make time for it in their daily routines.

If it’s something you only do when you feel inspired, it’s a hobby, not a career.

Unless you’re nocturnal, you probably have more energy in the morning than you do in the evening; carve out some of that time for your new writing habit.

Here are some ideas on what to write:

  • Journal entries
  • Blog posts and ideas
  • Emails or letters
  • Freewriting with prompts
  • Creative writing exercises

Along with using a habit tracker app (like this one ), many writers find it helpful to set a minimum word count target for the day – or a minimum number of minutes spent writing.

Apps like PomoDoneApp use the Pomodoro technique to help you accomplish more in manageable chunks of time.

how to become a writer pomodone app

Start with something you know will be manageable for you, even when you’re tired and your brain just doesn’t wanna (because those days will come).

But a year from now, if you stick with your daily practice, you’ll have sharpened your writing skill and learned how to keep going when the going gets tough. And both will serve you well.

4. Focus on “Deep Work”

In order to do your best work, you need a writing space that’s free of distractions. Only when you immerse yourself in your writing can you enter a flow state, where the “deep work” happens.

It isn’t so much about working “smarter, not harder.” It’s working smarter and harder to get the best possible results. And that doesn’t happen when you multitask.

It happens when you take the following steps seriously (including #6):

  • Clarify your goals and prepare. Know what you want to accomplish before each day, each week, each month, etc., begins.
  • Automate what you can. Use project management tools to automate your workflow and free up more time for deep work.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. Choose one task and give all your attention to that for 40 minutes to an hour or two.
  • Create a daily ritual. Create a dedicated space and allocate a specific time period for your daily deep work sessions.
  • Silence social media. It’s a distraction you don’t need. Allocate separate, small blocks of time for this.
  • Quit when you’re done. No points for overdoing it. Your brain needs quality rest to do quality written work.
  • Read the book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World , by Cal Newport, and keep it as a helpful reference and reminder.

how to become a writer deep work book

5. Read More

Being a good reader is essential to being a good writer. And what you choose to read will often influence the way you write.

With that in mind, we’d like to recommend a few good books on writing :

  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser (best book on the mechanics of the language)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (best book on story structure)
  • Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (storytelling and novel writing)
  • CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman (structure and mechanics for copywriting)
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (best book on being a writer)

You don’t know what you don’t know yet. And you’ve yet to discover how the books you read will change your path as a writer.

One way to make sure you get some quality reading in during the year is to make yourself a monthly reading list with books in the following categories:

  • Books on the craft of writing
  • Books like the ones you want to write
  • Books you read for fun

Your list doesn’t have to look like every other writer’s, but don’t underestimate the value of a sincere recommendation.

6. Always Be Learning and Leveling Up

If you’re wondering what kind of education you need to be a better writer , we have some good news: you don’t need a college degree to earn a good income with your craft (though, it doesn’t hurt ).

What you do need is to keep learning and developing as a writer.

Aside from reading good books, there are other ways to continue your education:

  • Take online courses on platforms like Udemy , Skillshare , or MasterClass.com
  • Level up with certification programs like those offered by Smart Blogger
  • Take a college writing course or earn a writing degree, such as an MFA, a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Communication Studies, or Journalism, or an industry-focused Associates degree
  • Submit your best work to writing contests
  • Set up a writer’s website and learn how to develop it into an asset

As you’ll see in the next tip, you can learn plenty from your fellow writers as well as from readers (particularly those who read the kinds of written content you want to write).

Leveling up your interaction with them should be an integral part of your plan.

7. Join a Writing Community

how to become a writer facebook writing groups

No writer is an island. That’s especially true if you plan on getting paid.

It’s never too early to join a writing community and to start learning from other members and sharing what you know.

  • Facebook groups for writers (Search “writing,” and you’ll find plenty)
  • Facebook groups for your chosen genre or writing path
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Local writing groups (Look up “[nearest city] writing groups”)
  • Online communities like CampNaNoWriMo and Critique Circle
  • Networking events for writers like the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference

Put yourself in situations where you’ll meet other writers, particularly those drawn to the same paths that interest you.

Whatever stage you’ve reached, you have valuable insights to share, and so do they.

Learn what you can to help each other grow.

8. Find Paid Writing Opportunities

Once you’re ready to start writing for money, it’s time to get acquainted with all the best places to find paid writing opportunities:

  • Job boards: Problogger , FlexJobs , and FreelanceWriting.com
  • LinkedIn: in writing or industry-specific groups
  • Facebook: in writing or niche-specific groups
  • Writer guidelines for magazines and book publishers
  • Social media channels like Twitter and Instagram

how to become a writer freelance writing guidelines

Make time for daily checks of job boards .

Look through guidelines for magazines and publishers that interest you. And allocate some time for job searching on social media channels where you’ve built connections with fellow writers, editors, and publishers.

9. Cultivate Credibility

Once you’ve received your first payment from a client, don’t forget to ask for a testimonial. Think of it as a way to ensure you’ve met all their expectations.

Each well-crafted testimonial benefits you in the following ways:

  • Shows client satisfaction, gratitude, and even loyalty
  • Articulates exactly how you benefited each client
  • Acts as a referral to build trust in potential clients
  • Gives you a chance to increase a good client’s visibility
  • Helps you discover areas that need improvement

With that last one, you may have to read between the lines and ask your client for clarification. But none of these benefits come without asking.

And when you’re starting out, it’s an easy thing to forget.

If you’re worried the client will be annoyed by your request, we can tell you (from experience on both sides) if your client is happy with your work, they’ll be happy to write something complimentary about it.

If they’re not sure exactly how to write a testimonial , you can even write one for them to review and approve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do writers get paid well.

It’s not hard to find success stories of writers who earn six figures (or more) with their craft. Famous authors like Liane Moriarty and Stephen King come to mind.

That said, no content writer starts out with the promise of a six-figure income, no matter how good they are. And it’s best not to quit your other job until you’ve met one of the following enviable conditions:

  • You’re consistently earning enough with your writing to replace the income you’d lose, or
  • You have solid evidence your writing income, plus any other household income, will more than make up for it.

how to become a writer freelance writer salary

Do I Need a Writer’s Website to Be Successful?

While you can host your writing profile on sites like Contently or LinkedIn , you wouldn’t own the platforms. With a self-hosted website, you can create a profile on your own piece of online real estate.

But those aren’t the only benefits of owning your own platform:

  • You can start a blog of your own with niche-focused content
  • You can earn affiliate income with your blog posts
  • You can create stylized links to your writing samples and portfolio

Your writer’s website displays your qualifications and gives future clients a taste of your personality, too.

Don’t worry, maintaining an online platform doesn’t have to be a full-time job. And using a site builder like Elementor (affiliate link) makes it that much easier.

The sooner you create one, the sooner you can share your new online address.

How Do I Start a Writing Career When I Still Have a Job?

You don’t need to be unemployed or have loads of free time to get started on building a profitable writing career.

Whatever path you choose, you can set aside time for the following:

  • Daily writing
  • Skimming job boards
  • Creating a writer website
  • Taking an online class
  • Connecting with other writers

Do what you can every day to get closer to your writing goals.

Final Takeaways on How to Become a Writer

Whatever writing path you choose, nothing happens until you take action.

The secret to becoming a successful writer isn’t magic or destiny. It lies in what you do consistently, even when you’d rather do something else.

Take a moment now, look through the steps again, and jot down some ideas for this week to get the wheels in motion.

Then hit the Freelance Writing Hub and read up. Or make time for some of our favorite podcasts for writers .

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is just the beginning . Smart habits are what will get you there.

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Sarah Lentz


Make 2-5k per month, even if you're a beginner . we're seeking writers of any skill level ..

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Written by Sarah Lentz

2 thoughts on “how to become a writer in 9 simple steps [2024]”.

Thanks for the resources listed here and great advice. My favorite:

“You don’t know what you don’t know yet.”

So true! A reminder that learning is a lifelong occupation.

Now, back to writing! 🙂

Hi, Barbara! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment (which has brightened my day), and I’m so glad you found the post useful. I enjoyed writing it. I wish you best in all your writing endeavors. 🙂

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Minneapolis musician-turned-writer laurie lindeen of zuzu's petals dies at 62.

When her memoir hit bookstores in 2007, Laurie Lindeen couldn't complain about the reviews or reception, both glowing.

The singer/guitarist in the Twin Cities' pioneering all-female rock band Zuzu's Petals did have one gripe, though: Her life's story was filed on bookshelves among music biographies and not with women's books or general autobiographies.

"It's shelved in between John Lennon and Marilyn Manson," she groaned in a Star Tribune interview at the time. "It's driving me crazy. I go in one store a day and go: `No woman is going to come back here!'"

Seventeen years after the publication of "Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story" — and 30 years since the band it was based on packed it in — Lindeen died unexpectedly Monday of a brain aneurysm at age 62, according to friends.

She had moved to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., two years ago and she is said to have visited the beach that day.

Close friend and fellow Minneapolis musician John Eller saw her East Coast move as the last in a steady line of bold moves.

Other gambits on Lindeen's list included becoming an author, a New York Times-published essayist, a college and grammar school writing teacher, a mother, and a wife to a rock star, Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg — all after her own 1990s-era music career with Zuzu's Petals.

"She announced to all of us she was moving to Martha's Vineyard, and we thought, 'How are you going to swing that?'" Eller recounted. "She did it, of course, and loved it."

Lindeen showed similar gumption when she left her native Madison, Wis., for Minneapolis in 1987 with the goal of starting a band. Never mind that she had recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and that she and her bandmate, Coleen Elwood, were both music novices.

"She told me: 'All my friends are here, all the best bands are here, you gotta move here,'" recalled Elwood, emphasizing another friend's description of her as "a joyful instigator."

"She was just so fun. How could I not come here to start a band with her?"

Zuzu's Petals, from left, Laurie Lindeen, Coleen Elwood and Linda Pitmon.

Named after the rose petals carried by James Stewart's character in "It's a Wonderful Life," Zuzu's Petals quickly became a fan favorite at venues including the 400 Bar, 7th St. Entry and Uptown Bar & Grill. The trio recorded a debut four-song cassette with help from Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks while Lindeen also worked as a waitress at Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown.

After recruiting second drummer Linda Pitmon — who's returning to the Twin Cities this weekend with members of R.E.M. in the Baseball Project — Zuzu's Petals got more serious, hit the road (and Europe) and released two full-length albums for Twin/Tone Records, 1992′s "When No One's Looking" and 1994′s "The Music of Your Life."

"They just ripped," recounted former Pioneer Press and City Pages music scribe Jim Walsh, who later served as a witness at Lindeen and Westerberg's courthouse wedding.

"When you talk about the '90s grunge thing and bands making all that wonderful guitar noise of that era, you have to save a place for Zuzu's Petals."

American Public Media Group operations director Ali Lozoff, who was recruited at age 20 to help manage Zuzu's Petals, remembered the difficulty the band sometimes faced getting gigs despite being on a reputable record label.

"As much as we all loved the other all-female bands in town," Lozoff said, ticking off a list that included Babes in Toyland and Smut, "a lot of clubs still didn't want to book more than one of those bands on a bill."

Zuzu's Petals' successes and foils alongside Lindeen's steadfast feminism were humorously and bluntly covered in "Petal Pusher," a book that Publishers Weekly called "sharp and sensitive, stoned silly and serious, all in the right places." Lindeen wrote the memoir after earning a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Minnesota while also raising her son with Westerberg, Johnny.

"She loved her years in the band," ex-bandmate Pitmon noted, "but when she walked away from it she was very done. And I don't think she regretted it because it allowed her to become a mother and write her memoir, which were the two accomplishments she was most proud of."

One of her best-loved writing pieces was a 2017 essay for the New York Times, "Johnny Goes to College," which tearfully and humorously recounted driving her son to college in Colorado with her "professional rebel" ex-husband.

"At IHOP he ordered pancakes slathered in whipped cream and strawberries," Lindeen wrote of her son. "This kid is clearly too young to be on his own."

Laurie Lindeen in 1999, the year she put out her

Lindeen still performed occasionally onstage, including at the annual David Bowie feline-rescue fundraiser tribute at First Avenue, shows that were co-led by Eller with Lindeen's former sister-in-law, ex-Current DJ Mary Lucia. First Ave posted a tribute to Lindeen on Tuesday calling her "a dominant force in the '80s and '90s female rock movement in Minneapolis."

She mostly focused on teaching in recent years, offering writing and literature lessons at the University of St. Thomas, St. Cloud State University, the Loft Literary Center and grammar schools. She also led writing retreats at Madeline Island in Wisconsin and other locations and worked as a coach-for-hire helping kids write college entrance essays.

One of her most recent writings, titled "My Third Act" and published by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, detailed her move to Martha's Vineyard with her new partner, Jim Diem.

"After COVID, online teaching, losing my best friend suddenly to heart failure, followed by the decline and deaths of my mother and my best dog," Lindeen wrote, "I decided to take a leap of faith and move toward a meaningful and courageous Act Three of my life."

Said Elwood, "I'd never seen her more happy or more fulfilled. She loved teaching. She loved living on Martha's Vineyard. She had a great boyfriend. That's what makes this so much harder."

Family memorial information has not yet been issued for Lindeen. She is also survived by her father, Lance Lindeen of Northville, Mich., and three siblings, Megan Lindeen of Madison, Hillary Benson of Hilton Head, S.C., and Chris Lindeen of Santa Fe, N.M.

Chris Riemenschneider has been covering the Twin Cities music scene since 2001, long enough for Prince to shout him out during "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)." The St. Paul native authored the book "First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom" and previously worked as a music critic at the Austin American-Statesman in Texas.

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Literary World Grapples With Alice Munro’s Legacy After Daughter’s Revelation of Abuse

Canadian Author Alice Munro attends a press conference at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2009.

T ributes flowed in from across the literary world after the death in May at age 92 of Nobel Prize-winning Canadian writer Alice Munro, who is credited with perfecting the contemporary short story . But Munro’s many admirers must now grapple with a darker aspect of her legacy that has just come to light.

In a heart-wrenching essay by Andrea Robin Skinner, Munro’s youngest daughter who is now 58 years old— published on Sunday in the Toronto Star alongside a reported companion piece by the paper —Skinner reveals that she was sexually abused by her stepfather, Munro’s second husband Gerald Fremlin, since she was 9, and that when she informed Munro of the abuse years later, the celebrated writer turned a blind eye and stood by her daughter’s abuser.

The revelation of what until now had been a long-held family secret has rocked readers and colleagues of Munro, whose works often explored themes of women’s lives, complex familial dynamics, sex, trauma, and secrecy.

According to Skinner, Fremlin, a cartographer who died in 2013, climbed into bed with her when she was 9 and touched her inappropriately. She also detailed how, throughout her childhood when the two were alone, Fremlin would crack lewd jokes, press her about her “sex life,” describe Munro’s “sexual needs” to her, and expose himself and occasionally masturbate in front of her.

“At the time, I didn’t know this was abuse. I thought I was doing a good job of preventing abuse by averting my eyes and ignoring his stories,” Skinner writes.

Skinner says she first revealed her abuse by Fremlin to Munro when she was 25, having been hesitant to open up about it earlier, fearing her mother’s reaction. “I have been afraid all my life that you would blame me for what happened,” Skinner wrote in a 1992 letter, parts of which she shared with the Star .

According to Skinner, what inspired her to finally disclose her torment to her mother was Munro’s reaction to a short story in which a girl died by suicide after being sexually abused by her stepfather. At the time, Munro questioned to Skinner why the girl in the story didn’t tell her mother. 

But when Skinner revealed her own experience with Fremlin, Munro was shockingly unsympathetic: “As it turned out, in spite of her sympathy for a fictional character, my mother had no similar feelings for me.”

“She said that she had been ‘told too late,’ she loved him too much, and that our misogynistic culture was to blame if I expected her to deny her own needs, sacrifice for her children, and make up for the failings of men,” Skinner writes. “She was adamant that whatever had happened was between me and my stepfather. It had nothing to do with her.” Meanwhile, Fremlin denied wrongdoing and deflected blame onto Skinner.

Skinner says she and her family ultimately moved on, “acting as if nothing had happened,” until Skinner became pregnant in 2002. Skinner decided after the birth of her own twins to cut off contact with Fremlin—who she did not want near her children—as well as Munro, who Skinner says was more concerned about her own personal inconvenience by the move.

Skinner’s quiet estrangement continued until she read a 2004 New York Times story about Munro in which her mother heaped praise on Fremlin.

“I wanted to speak out. I wanted to tell the truth. That’s when I went to the police to report my abuse,” Skinner recalls. “For so long I’d been telling myself that holding my pain alone had at least helped my family, that I had done the moral thing, contributing to the greatest good for the greatest number. Now, I was claiming my right to a full life, taking the burden of abuse and handing it back to Fremlin.”

In 2005, Fremlin was charged with indecent assault and convicted without a trial after pleading guilty. He was sentenced to two years’ probation, a result Skinner says she was satisfied with because she wasn’t seeking for him to be punished nor did she believe he was still a threat to others given his old age.

“What I wanted was some record of the truth, some public proof that I hadn’t deserved what had happened to me,” Skinner writes in her essay. She had also hoped her story would “become part of the stories people tell about my mother. I never wanted to see another interview, biography or event that didn’t wrestle with the reality of what had happened to me, and with the fact that my mother, confronted with the truth of what had happened, chose to stay with, and protect, my abuser.”

But that’s not how things panned out. “My mother’s fame meant the silence continued,” Skinner writes. Munro retired in 2013 and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature a few months later. 

“Many influential people came to know something of my story,” Skinner writes, “yet continued to support, and add to, a narrative they knew was false.”

“Everybody knew,” Skinner’s stepmother Carole Munro told the Star , recounting being asked by a journalist at a dinner party years ago about rumors related to Skinner—and affirming that they were true. (Robert Thacker, author of an acclaimed biography of Munro, told the Globe and Mail on Sunday that he was aware of the allegations of what happened to Skinner, who had reached out to him directly before his book was published in 2005, but he declined to mention it because he didn’t want to overstep in a sensitive family matter.)

Skinner’s story stayed out of the public eye. But now, with her essay sending shockwaves through the literary world, the narrative surrounding her mother is beginning to change.

“I know I’m not alone in feeling deeply unnerved by what feels like a seismic shift in our understanding of someone who was formative to me and others as a writer,” Pulitzer finalist Rebecca Makkai said in a series of posts on X reflecting on the recent news.

“Lots of people reflexively denying that Alice Munro could have knowingly spent her life with the pedophile who abused her daughter, or rushing to say they never liked her writing,” Canadian magazine writer and editor Michelle Cyca posted on X . “Harder to accept the truth that people who make transcendent art are capable of monstrous acts.”

“The Alice Munro news is so completely and tragically consistent with the world she evoked in her stories—all those young people betrayed and sabotaged by adults who were supposed to care for them,” American novelist and essayist Jess Row posted on X .

American novelist and essayist Brandon Taylor shared his gratitude toward Skinner. “I’m so in awe of her courage,” he said in a series of posts on X , adding that her account was “personally devastating in that I recognize so much of my own story and history in her experience.” 

In a statement from Munro’s Books, which was founded by Jim and Alice Munro but has been independently owned since 2014, the company said it “unequivocally supports Andrea Robin Skinner as she publicly shares her story of her sexual abuse as a child.”

“Along with so many readers and writers, we will need time to absorb this news and the impact it may have on the legacy of Alice Munro, whose work and ties to the store we have previously celebrated,” the statement added. 

In a co-published statement from the Munro family, Andrea and her three siblings—Andrew, Jenny, and Sheila—thanked the owners and staff of Munro’s Books for “acknowledging and honoring Andrea’s truth, and being very clear about their wish to end the legacy of silence.”

While Skinner says she never reconciled with her mother before Munro’s death, she has with her siblings—who reached out in 2014 to seek understanding and healing together and have supported her coming out publicly with what is sure to put their mother’s reputation in a much different light.

Skinner, for her part, has made clear that this is not about Alice Munro’s reputation. “I just really hope that this story isn’t about celebrities behaving badly,” she told the  Star . While some will gravitate toward it simply “for the entertainment value,” she adds: “I want so much for my personal story to focus on patterns of silencing, the tendency to do that in families and societies.”

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I want to give my kid the kind of summer I had in the '90s. I'm limiting technology and choosing spontaneity over structure.

  • I have a 4-year-old son and missed registration for summer camp. 
  • I wanted to give him the kinds of summers I had growing up in the 1990s. 
  • I'm giving him less screen time and way more time outside. 

Insider Today

I had a mom-fail moment when I realized I hadn't registered my 4-year-old son for swimming lessons and summer camp before the cutoff. His day care closes for the summer, and while I will have some part-time care, I panicked thinking of the slew of unstructured days that lay ahead of us. I felt plagued with guilt that my son would be missing opportunities to develop core memories and critical skills, not to mention I'd have less free time to write and read through the ever-expanding stack of books on my bedside table.

But, the other weekend I watched as my son played in a make-believe construction site in our backyard with the boys who live next door. Without plans or devices, they passed the afternoon with ease — and I even sneaked in a few chapters of my book with an iced coffee in the sun. We had frozen pizza for dinner, and he went to sleep without a fight, tired after a long day of playing outside.

It made me nostalgic for the magic of 1990s summers and think that maybe millennials have it all wrong. Maybe it's not expensive vacations or a packed schedule of pricey day camps and Montessori-inspired programs that make a memorable summer. Perhaps it's taking a page out of our parents' books and making space for more by doing less.

Related stories

After that perfect afternoon, I was inspired to give my son a taste of the kind of summers I had as a kid growing up in the '90s. If I let my mind wander back to those long, lazy, pre-internet days, summers were a time for riding bikes, sidewalk chalk, making daisy chains and friendship bracelets, running through the sprinkler, and existing on a diet of watermelon and popsicles.

The world looks a lot different now, but I'm planning on bringing this spirit to our summer by subscribing to these philosophies.

I'm letting him be bored

My TikTok algorithm serves me a daily stream of fun and educational activities to do at home with my son. Because I want the best for him (and because I really just want some silence), I have tried many of them.

I'm typically frustrated when the activity inevitably doesn't go as planned and takes up a meager five minutes before we're onto the next thing.

Instead of frantically trying to fill every minute, I am going to leave room for boredom. When I was a kid, it was during those long, boring summer afternoons that I formed my love of reading. I want my son to have the same opportunity to make fun out of nothing and let his imagination run wild.

Fewer screens, more time outside

While I'm not a screen-time stickler, I plan to turn off the TV this summer in favor of playing in the yard, walking to get ice cream, going for dips at the public pool, and spending the day at the beach. I yell less when I'm parenting outside, and the fresh air does wonders for my son's sleep and mood.

I will, however, not be denying evening screenings of '90s summer classics like "The Sandlot," "My Girl," and "Dazed and Confused" (when he's asleep, of course).

I'm bringing lazy-mom dinner out

My parents didn't make me all organic meals in aesthetically pleasing bento boxes and I turned out just fine. Summer feels like the right time to loosen up and approach feeding my kid with a little more ease. That doesn't have to mean filling him with junk food, but I'll prioritize playing over making fussy dinners he probably won't eat anyway. We might eat cereal, PB&Js, or a bowl of cherries — it won't matter; he'll just remember the summer his mom let him drink from the hose, dig for worms, and play outside for what felt like forever.

Liz is a Canadian essayist who writes about motherhood and mental health. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and her son. More on lizjhammond.com and @lizz__hammond.

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  1. How To Become An Essayist: An Ultimate Guide

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