For a person to shift from writing as a hobby to getting paid for it, it might look like some people are lucky. Lucky, however, is the writers awake at 3am, 5am putting in the midnight shift to improve on their craft.

WordsAreWork hosted a panel with two writers discussing how they transitioned from writing for fun to getting paid to write.

On writing?

Learn first. The need for the traditional university education has reduced because there are now MOOCs and online learning platforms. Gotham Writers and WordsAreWork frequently host masterclasses on fiction writing. Coursera, edX and Udemy are also sources of learning materials and actual curriculums on improving genres of writing.

On actually writing?

There are apps that have been made to particularly improve the speed and efficiency of writers. Free apps like Grammarly and Google Docs help with writing. Scrivener and First Draft are great additions to this list. They help with the arrangements of bodies of work as well as keep track of notes and corrections.

On publishing?

Publishing is seen as the measure of how achieved or quality a writer and his body of work is. The world is moving digital with many publications; books and magazines moving from paper to digital mediums. While it might be difficult to get publishing deals, the Internet is open with publishing platforms like Amazon and Okadabooks opening up their doors to independent writers without affiliations.

On WHEN to publish?

When you’ve built your own audience. Your crowd will cheer for you and buy your material.

On how to build an audience?

Social media! Social media helps connect the big people to the smaller people and vice versa. A useful hack is to follow your favourite writers and their favourite writers. Some of them will follow you back and that’s how you can build your community. Start your own blog and look for places you can contribute to so you can build up your portfolio. Join Facebook groups where there are a lot of other writers; for friendships and for honest critique of work. Start something different; podcasts, videos. Anything constructive for the engagement.

On what to really write?

Look and know your audience. Write for that audience. Write for yourself, but also write for your audience. Something relatable. Humans like to make emotional connections. These connections lead to proper readership.

Random advice?

Write! Let yourself go and write; to your heart’s content. Write because writing is not your side chick. Write because you know no other way to live.

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