If you want to travel while you’re earning money online, remote work is one of the best ways to support yourself. You can get a remote job or become a freelancer.
One skill that’s in-demand and you can learn quickly is writing. In particular, content writing (articles, blog posts, social media content). You can learn this skill quickly. Of course, the amount of time it takes you to learn is relative to the amount of time and effort you put into this.
You may be thinking you’re not a writer. This is nonsense. You’re already a writer.
You’ve been writing most of your life. You just need to be able to provide enough value through writing that someone else will pay for.
I am a writer. I’ve been writing online for almost a decade, so I’m going to share what I know to help you start learning this skill.
Step 1: Shift Your Mindset
Becoming a writer takes a shift of mindset in order to show up and do the work.
At first, your mind will be screaming:
I’m not good enough.
I’m not a writer.
My grammar/spelling isn’t good.
I barely scraped through English in High School.
Blah blah. Save yourself the self-doubt. Toss it all in the garbage can now.
You need to understand that you’re not aiming to suddenly put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and churn out the most amazing award-winning piece ever written. Nope. You’re simply aiming to express your thoughts (and research) on a topic well enough for the readers to understand. If you can do this (and most of us can), you can find someone to pay you for your writing.
Many businesses, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders do not have the time or energy to write. They simply do not have the capacity. That’s why content writing is in-demand. Especially now (2022) where content is how companies and personal brands connect with customers.
So ditch the self-doubt and start learning.
Step 2: Learn About Content Writing
Get educated on content writing:
What is content writing?
Why does it matter?
What are trends for 2022?
What makes content writing engaging?
You can learn all of this from a course or if you’re strapped for cash, find free (or low-cost) material online.
There are a ton of free resources. Here are some to get you started:
The Writing Cooperative (tips on every aspect of writing. Their goal is to help you become a better writer).
Daily Writing Tips (particularly good if you struggle with punctuation and grammar).
Problogger (‘blogging advice, tips, and in-depth tutorials’).
Copyblogger (‘Content writing education’).
Step 3: Start Writing
You must start writing. Now.
What you write doesn’t have to be for pay in the beginning, but you do need to write. This is how you improve and get clear on what area(s) you’ll be writing about for pay.
You don’t become a writer by thinking about it or reading books on writing or listening to TikTok/YouTube videos on writing. You become a writer by writing. This is how you hone your writing skill and improve.
If you think your writing isn’t good, write.
If you think your writing is already excellent, write.
Either way, write.
Write. Write. Write.
If you hesitate because you think you need a course or another book or more time, you’ll never be ready. There is no ideal time. There is only now.
Start writing and publishing your work.
If you can, aim to publish something every day. You can publish on your own blog or medium.com or answer questions on Quora or find blogs that allow featured writers. Build a writing and publishing habit. You need to get into the habit of publishing your words so that others will read them. Consider this a training process.
As you’re publishing every day, you can observe what people are resonating with, get feedback, build a consistent writing habit, and hone your writing craft. Even if you have less than an hour a day, you can do this. You don’t have to write long essays, just enough to express your thought on a topic.
If you’re not sure what topics to write about, start mining your life for ideas.
Step 4: What to Write
If you’re unsure what to write about, mine your personal and professional experiences and pick three subjects and start writing.
Why at least three subjects? You’re trying to find your sweet spot. For every person who successfully carves their own career, they have stumbled onto their sweet spot. It’s the intersection of the following:
*What you can write about (you have the knowledge/experience or you can curate the information).
*What people will pay you to write.
*What you enjoy writing.
Where these three intersect is your sweet spot. But you cannot figure out your sweet spot in your head. So pick three topics and start testing. START WRITING!
If you feel particularly stumped on what to write, consider what you already know professionally. You can translate skills from almost any job into valuable writing pieces.
When I became a writer I was transitioning from the nursing field. It doesn’t get more hands-on than nursing. Or so most people think. I started writing about health-related topics and I started writing for other nurses and for nursing magazines. This is just an example of translating your professional skills to writing.
You can also write about personal experiences. Many of us have been through situations that others would love to hear about. If you write about something challenging you overcame, you may help someone who is currently in that situation.
As you build your writing and publishing habit, also take time to read articles on the platforms you are publishing your work.
Step 5: Read
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write” – Stephen King
To write, you must read. A lot.
Read content about writing but also on different subjects. Dissect what you’re reading. What did you like about a piece, what didn’t you like? What kept you engaged? Why did you quickly turn away from a piece? Try to understand what makes a piece of writing ‘good’ and what makes one ‘bad’. Of course, this takes years to develop accurate discernment, but you can only start where you are today. Right now.
Coming up: How to Start Building a Writing Portfolio.
It’s go time!