Do You Want To Be a Professional Writer?

Last Update: September 15, 2021

On Becoming A Writer

If you are a new member at Wealthy Affiliate, you will quickly realise that building a business the Wealthy Affiliate way, if you do all the work yourself, will help you develop many new skills (unless you have them already of course). I've needed to ask a few questions on a number of subjects, but for me, the biggest learning curve has been on the road to becoming a professional writer.

I know that you probably came here to create a new business or to develop an existing business online.

By now you may have realised that requires writing and a lot of it.

If you are able to pay someone else to do the creative work, that's great! If not, you need to be writing yourself.

I have already written a couple of posts to do with how I got organised as a writer. Here I add more food for thought.

Advice For Those Who Want To Be Professional Writers

  1. The Habits Of A Professional Writer
  2. Figure Out Your Own Style
  3. Value Add vs Quality vs Quantity
  4. More Productivity


1. The Habits Of A Professional Writer

I know; you probably don't want a job!

But I'm sure you want to be thought of as a professional.

I've experienced and used various different definitions for the word "professional" (and I know there are other uses that I don't mention here).

The first definition was when as a musician I started being paid to perform at about 13 years old. At that age, I naively thought that the word professional simply meant being paid. It wasn't long before I realised that being a professional didn't just mean being paid.

Over time it came to mean, to me, little to do with being paid, although the natural outcome was opportunities for getting paid. In reality, it meant making a commitment that I hadn't previously understood.

Before long, with a little coaching from a couple of "significant others" I realised I needed to continually improve my performance. I needed to deliberately practice (violin at that time) to improve my technique and my understanding of music. So the word professional came to mean doing something each day to improve.

The deliberate practice I needed, and learning, required a little more commitment.

It took planning for what I specifically wanted to improve, and blocking out time, more or less daily, so that I could focus on doing those things.

Fortunately, most of the time I enjoyed the playing but there were times when I had to develop the discipline to consistently follow through.

Nowadays, creating posts requires the same kind of professionalism.

Deliberate practice to improve and to deliver posts requires deliberate planning of specific tasks and deliberately blocking out time for getting it all done, deliberately. These are the habits of any professional. I consider myself to be a work in progress as a professional writer.

2. Figure Out Your Own Style

My point above was largely based on my own experience. This second message is largely based on learning from many others, including reading and questioning other members here.

Thinking back to learning to play the violin, it's not too different I suppose. When learning to play the violin I had three idols from different musical disciplines (folk, jazz and classical) who I listened to a lot.

As it happens, in addition, I've always read a lot... nowadays as a budding writer, I notice which writers styles I prefer and some of it rubs off on me.

As professional writers, we're artists trying to express ourselves through the written word.

All writers have a style; some similar to others, but we all develop our own personal expression.

Some are quiet, some loud, some lively, some subdued, some extrovertedly expressive and others more introverted, some serious and others hilarious.

If I've missed you out, I apologise.

Realise that style in blog posts is mostly more personal than in printed books. It reflects the writer more as a person than perhaps a work of fiction or a non-fiction tome does.

I think style is a mix of a natural inclination along with taking on board what we like from others.

3. Prioritize Value Add Over Quality And Quality Over Quantity

There is a common SEO habit based on the strategy of building a list of researched keywords that attract the most traffic and creating content based on that.

There seems to me to be a step missing. It is often alluded to, specifically referred to and even taught; however, I often read posts wondering what the searchers' query would have been.

The missing step is figuring out what a searchers intent was when they entered a keyword in the search bar. Understanding a searchers intent is the only way to be sure of writing meaningful content to a user of a search engine.

Here is another way of looking at this ...

A common approach to content creation by many writers is to buy into the much-publicised concept that quality is the key to Google treating us gently, and to readers buying our products and services.

Often each article is centred around writing a piece of perceived quality, which, with comprehensiveness becomes extremely wordy.

Bloated sometimes comes to mind.

In the corporate world, I was taught that quality means conformance to requirements. The point is that the single person who uses a car once each week for shopping doesn't need much more than a mini-sized vehicle, nor anything luxurious.

Selling a Bentley to such a person would not be delivering something that conforms with their requirements. Delivering real value add to someone is what I call quality.

The thing about a blog post is that for it to be read a lot, and to gain traction in the ether, it needs to meet the requirements of the searchers, the people asking for information via a search engine.

The personal style of the writer can keep someone reading. A well-structured article can keep someone reading, however...

... what keeps someone reading most is the belief that the post will answer a question that was asked or provide the information requested.

Readers stay for longer on sites that deliver what they are looking for, and they return more often.

4. More Productivity

Rework Your Content For Multiple Channels

This seems obvious to me but nonetheless, many bloggers don't do it.

A blogger can turn their writing into a video.

A video can be turned into a podcast.

Various cutdown versions of any of these can be turned into various social media posts.

OK?

Batch Processing

In previous posts, I’ve referred to the need for a writing process, the way mine works, and the tools I use.

I currently have little time because of other commitments. So I batch as much together as I can.

When I'm researching, I focus on research exclusively for the time I have allotted to it.

When looking for good keywords I focus exclusively on that process.

When creating draft posts (pre-edit) I tend to get into a kind of focus zone (flow state) and fill my batched timeslot up with drafting as many different posts as I can in the allotted time.

This means that I have literally several hundred writing opportunities started.

When it comes to editing I tend to follow one post through to the end, and publication etc.

Summary

So, becoming a professional writer requires organisation.

The organisation of data, learning, skills development, and above all getting the work done.

I hope it’s clear that building a business through blogging requires the deliberate development of research and writing skills.

I love it... it's a lot of fun! Much more fun than working for a living!

If you have anything to add or to criticise please add a comment below...

If you like it... you know what to do! Thank you.

:-)

Richard

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Recent messages
brichnow21 Premium
Thank you, Richard!
Wonderful tips, we all can use!
Personally, the scheduled writing time and discipline to stick to the process is my first order of business.
WA allows us to hang out with upcoming "Professional writers".
Modeling what other successful folks are doing, is a key to our own success.
Thank you, again!
Best!
Barb
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richardgb Premium
Hey Barb
I’m just chuffed if my post is useful!
Thank you for feedback.
:-)
Richard
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brichnow21 Premium
Yes, very useful, Richard!
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Jesusfan Premium
Hi Richard, I enjoyed reading your post as I love hearing what others do and what does or doesn't work for them. It often gives me ideas of what I can try or need to work on.

I'm still a work in progress, but I'm learning to be organized and figuring out my writing style. I'm writing a lot more these days and that feels good.

Lynn
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richardgb Premium
Thank you for joining the conversation, Lynn.
:-)
Richard
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Christorv Premium Plus
Great read, Richard 👍


I ended up having to hire some writer's since work took me away from writing myself. And the difference in quality was stark (obviously the price for quality was just as stark).

Your post surely put real emphasis on things- though if you have more than one site and a daily job - it is quite a challenge enjoying professional writing
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richardgb Premium
I agree, Chris that day jobs certainly get in the way of how we use our time!
:-)
Richard
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BarbaraN Premium
Enjoyed your blog on being a professional writer, Richard. I think we have compared the discipline of music and the discipline of writing before.
I live in a large independent living complex for people over 60. and when I say Independent living that is what I mean. I pay rent for my apartment every month and go about my business as anyone else would. I drive. I go shopping. I have Dr. appointments, etc.

We are attached to assisted living and nursing care facilities, and upon occasion, some of us volunteer to share our talents with those who can no longer get about.
When I play the piano, someone always asks me if I ever played professionally. I know what they mean. Did I ever play on stage, or on TV, or with anyone famous--- I find it humorous--but I tell them that I played for a lot of weddings, parties, played for churches. In fact, playing for a church as a regular organist is a nice job and you can count on a steady paycheck.
We don't always know where being a "professional" will lead us.
and yes, I know that means "being paid" to most people.
But you have to show professional qualities long before you may get paid.
Whether you sing, play a violin, or a piano, or other instrument, or write, it all comes down to discipline--practice, and knowing your craft.
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richardgb Premium
Hi Barbara
I remember our previous discussion. Thank you for adding the wealth of your experience here too!
:-)
Richard
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SHINEPAGE1 Premium
Richard , that was great , I admire how much time and effort you put in to write this post , it is also of good quality , one that offer value , also I agree with you , you have to have your own style , and yes you have to choose quality all the time
Because we are all in a competition
Every Niche will have great writers , so if you can't compete you will be left behind ,
Nice one Richard
A wonderful educational post
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richardgb Premium
Thank you, Hentley!
It seems that I may not have got the main point across very well in that section though.

That being, when writing posts for organic traffic, to figure out exactly what their search engine query means, what they are looking for, then making sure we cover that.
:-)
Richard
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