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4 things writer make to living

If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life.

People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.

Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.

And yet.

Look around us, at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in.

It’s made of ones and zeroes, yes. But it’s also made of words.

The technology exists

because we create words worth sharing

Text, video, audio. It all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.

If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.

Or you can choose something better. Because there is something better.

In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.

Here are 4 of the most important:

#1: Love

This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.

There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right, the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.

If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of the rest of this really means anything.

I could have just as easily used Compulsion , Obsession , or Bullheadedness for this section. Whichever word you choose, it’s about refusing to settle for weak writing, because the words matter.

#2: An attitude of service

Writing for self-expression can be high art, pursued for the sake of your own experience of truth and beauty.

As soon as money changes hands, though, the audience — the reader, listener, or viewer — becomes the focus.

Professional writers work from an attitude of serving their audience. Serving them with truthful, beautiful words, yes. But also with language that meets their needs, language that clarifies rather than prettifies.

Novelists, copywriters, and content creators all live in service to our audiences . No matter how clever or perfectly poetic we may find a phrase, if it doesn’t serve the audience, it goes.

#3: Confidence

It’s always struck me as odd that many of the most capable writers are also some of the most insecure.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Confidence comes from putting the work in, to become a genuinely authoritative expert. It comes from research, craftsmanship, and seeing the difference you make to your audience.

Serious craftspeople are humble and proud at the same time.

The pride and confidence come from hours of deliberate practice — the kind of work that expands your abilities and challenges you to grow. The humility comes from the knowledge that a true pro is always improving, expanding, and refining.

#4: Training

Many writers imagine that if you have a good writing voice and a strong opinion about the serial comma, you’re qualified to work as a professional copywriter.

Not so fast.

Great copywriters and content creators are fine wordsmiths, yes, but they’re also strategists. They understand what types of content work to attract attention, to stand out amid the sea of content clutter, to motivate buying behavior, and to help the audience make the journey from interested bystander to loyal customer.

Solid content and copywriting strategy come from training (and practice). You can get a lot of that training right here at Copyblogger, of course.

And for writers who are serious about professionalism, we have a course designed to train you about the craft of professional content creation. (The “art” is up to your talent and abilities.)

Færdigheder: Blog, Copywriting

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