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Writing may seem like the easiest task, but it isn’t. It is a lot of hard work and thinking. For all the aspiring writers, here are 5 tips from a successful content writer.
“Ami, I also want to write content. How can I become a writer?” Quite often, I hear this question from young enthusiasts who are inspired after reading online blogs or articles. I am a certified resume writer but for the past seven years, I have been blogging too. It is one of my hobbies.
Even today, a lot of people are clueless about my full-time job of a resume writer and often tag me as a content writer. While, in some ways, I am a content writer, deep down, content writing and resume writing are two totally different fields. To clear things once and for all, I have decided to explain the differences and also share a few tips on how to become a writer.
The world of writing is a vast one and there are colonies of options inside each of these Writing Areas. For example, a simple Google search for ‘Content Writer’ will show you a list of sub-writers that come under that. Now, from that list if we take a look at ‘Blog Writer,’ it has other options like Fitness Writer, Fashion Writer, Sports Writer, Personal Writer and Story Writer among others. And each one of these is completely different from the other.
Given the amount of choices there are, it is extremely important to know where your heart and interests lie. My interests as a blogger are in story writing and current affairs (especially social issues)
Since I was young, I was a dreamer and often spun stories from what is happening around me. This basic nature helped me determine my area of interest.
Writing about current affairs entered my life quite recently, when I started getting emotionally attached to women related social issues. In every other blog of mine, you can find traces of things highlighting challenges faced by women.
There are times I pick random topics from the career development/travel/corporate boardrooms fields and write my blogs. In a nutshell, it is all about your interests. If you are interested in sports, give Sports Blogging a shot, the same goes for food, fashion, travel or absolutely anything.
In case your interests are varied but still want to give writing a shot, strengthen your research and reading skills. Read as much as you can, and take notice of the other writers’ writing patterns.
A word of advice- Avoid plagiarism at all costs.
One of the mistakes I made earlier was not to publish any of my blogs. I did send it to editors in leading newspapers and magazines. And every time they rejected my writing, my heart broke. It hurt me to such an extent that for a while, I completely stopped writing.
But then, two years ago, someone pointed out to me that one need not stop writing simply because of a few rejections. We just need to write and keep on writing, if the content is good enough, it will soon gain the recognition it deserves.
There are several platforms where you can simply make an account and immediately start blogging. WordPress even lets you create your own website where you can create your own website, customise your page and use that as the website.
There is no harm in choosing writing as a career option. It offers full-time and part-time opportunities. Here, I am sharing the cost structure of the two areas I know of. There are a number of other options than just Content or Resume Writing such as Technical Writer, Copy Writer, and Legal Writer to name a few.
Content writers and bloggers usually work on a ‘per word paisa’ basis. This basically means that every word has a fixed amount that you have to negotiate. The standard for a beginner is 10 or 20 paise per word.
On the other hand, Resume Writers charge as per their experience. There are only a few certified professional resume writers in India. Once you achieve a certification you can easily close four to five figure sales.
For example, a person with more than 20 years of experience can charge as much as Rs. 5000 for a writing a resume, Rs. 2000 for creating a LinkedIn profile, Rs. 500 for a cover letter and Rs. 2500 for writing a biography. The total amount comes to Rs. 10,000. (Note: These figures are only for reference purposes. And it is best to first review the draft and then charge as per the effort required.)
So, if you have chosen to become a writer, I would advise you to first study the market, go for an internship under someone, get some experience. Once you have done all this, you can decide if you want to continue writing full-time or part-time.
Writing is not as easy as it looks. There will be days when you will face the dreaded writer’s block. You will have all the matter and the resources you want, but no matter what you do, you will not be able to think or write. It would seem like everything in your head has gone blank. Sadly, in most of the cases, a simple coffee break is not enough to clear that block.
At such times, you will need to let go completely, relax and leave the rest to your brain. It may happen after two days while you’re at a dinner party and the words will just start flowing in. And you will have to get up, rush and find a pen jot down all the words.
But remember, simply jotting down words isn’t enough. You need to give the points a proper body and structure so it gets the fancy tag of a blog/story/article. If you’ve used facts and numbers, I would advice you to cross check it at least a million times, once the article is up, there is no going back.
Editing is an option, but my advice would be to cross-check and edit while it is hidden from the public eye. Closing of any write-up is incomplete without proof-reading. It is such a powerful aspect that it has the potential to completely destroy or make a nice readable piece.
A few days after I heard about the Citizenship Amendment Act issue, I wrote a blog. With it, my agenda was to highlight the fact that finally the silent citizens of India are waking up and how we should raise our voices for a better infrastructure and facilities.
Within an hour of submission, my piece was rejected. The mail stated that it was stereotypical. I was shocked and decided to recheck it. And I saw, sadly, that an entire line that was supposed to be sarcasm, stared blankly at me. I had left it as it was, without a disclaimer.
It read: “The citizenship bill grants citizenship to the Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jains and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who had arrived in India before 2014. I did my calculations and marked myself safe. Later my husband took the privilege to point out that the effort on my part was unnecessary, as we are Hindus. Only Muslims are exempted; well, of course for obvious reasons, you know because of terrorists, illegal immigrants and all.”
I had forgotten to add a bracket that hinted the line was written in sarcasm. This is a prime example of a writing blunder. Without a doubt, every citizen has equal rights to live in the country and cornering one religion/caste is utterly wrong.
As a matter of fact, Muslims, who are cornered as anti-nationals, coalesced to create an awesome spirit of nationalism. Recently we all witnessed how a united India roared back to life in a million spiriting young voices. And it also carried echoes of women voices, who were leading from the front.
I was overconfident and did not bother to proofread and submitted the write-up for review. Don’t make such blunders, proofread as much as you can and if possible. Then ask someone else to give a finally reading before clicking the submit button.
I was lucky that I had submitted the piece on a leading media tech platform and it got rejected by the editor. Had this been my personal blog, I would have lost my entire reader base. When writing, never take things lightly. There are people who actually read your content and if you can’t offer them quality content then there is no point in writing.
Picture credits: Pexels
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