How to Become a Writer: 10 Easy Steps to Follow

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 11/22/22 •  13 min read

I frequently get asked the question from readers “how do I become a writer?”

I find it slightly ironic that I usually get this via email, so the inevitable answer becomes “well, you already are a writer.”

But what about those people who simply want to get better at writing?

As far as I’m concerned, writing is the most important skill one can have.

I’m not even very good at it in the grand scheme of things, yet I’ve made a living through my writing for well over a decade now.

And if I can do it, then you definitely can!

Being a good writer leads to being a better and more coherent thinker.

It’s also one of the few mediums that no matter what you do, or who you are in life, you will write nearly every day.

Whether it’s simply sending an email or updating your status on social media, being able to clearly articulate your thoughts is an incredibly valuable skill.

But just because we all write, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all “writers”.

In this post, I’m not only going to teach you how to become a better writer, but I’m going to help you understand why it’s so important to continue developing your writing skills in the process.

Too lazy to read the whole thing? No problem, here’s the short version

Here’s How to Become a Writer:

It’s as simple as that! Of course, if you’re actually serious about becoming a writer, then read on for resources and tips to help you with each of these steps. And if video is more your thing? I got you covered there as well:

How to Become a Writer in 10 Easy Steps (Detailed Version)

Below are ten of the things that I’ve done and members of our Location Rebel Academy community have done to hone their writing skills.

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1) Become a Better Reader

Most of the best writers I know are also voracious readers. The more you read, and specifically the more books you read, the more you’re exposed to high-quality writing.

Without realizing this, you’re internalizing the elements of the text, and you’ll slowly find yourself beginning to implement them in your own writing.

Not only this, reading gives you ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. And the more ideas you have, the easier it becomes to put them down on paper.

Resources for Becoming a Better Reader:

2) Write Everyday

As with anything in life, practice makes perfect.

If you limit your writing to 3 tweets a month, you’re probably not going to improve much.

But if you write every day, you’ll begin to notice the process becoming easier. Thoughts becoming clearer. And most importantly, you’ll begin to enjoy it more.

It’s always more fun to do things we’re good at. Writing is no different.

A great way to do this is by committing to a certain number of words every day.

Chris shoots for 1,000 words a day.

I simply go for 200, and know that if I get that far, there’s a good chance I’ll probably write 5 to 10x that number/

Simply put, the more I write, the more successful I become.

Need a little help writing every day? These 25 writing tools will get you on the right track.

Watch number 7 specifically:

3) Start a Blog

Speaking of blogs, one of the best ways to become a writer, is quite simply to become a writer!

The fastest way to do this is to start a blog. This is also the very first step I recommend people take no matter what online business they’re starting.

Starting a blog completely changed my life. When I began Location Rebel back in 2009, I had no idea it would give me the opportunities that it has.

The positive effects of starting happened quickly, too. Just look at these 56 reasons. I was able to write this less than a year after I began this site.

Not sure what to write about? I wasn’t either. Just go back and look at some of my earliest posts – I was clueless, and my writing was pretty rough as well.

But I wrote about whatever I was interested in or thinking about, and over time the niche and topics began to become clearer, the same will happen for you.

Here’s everything you need to get going: The Step by Step Guide to Setting up Your First Blog.

If you’re worried about the legal side of starting a writing business or a blog, then this business structure overview will help ease the stress.

4) Read “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley

When people ask me for steps on how to become a better writer – I always tell them to read Everybody Writes.

It fully recognizes the concept that we’re always writing, marketing, and promoting – even if we don’t realize it.

It helps you specifically focus on writing engaging and interesting content that will do well online.

Other books I recommend on the topic are:

5) Enroll in an Online Writing Course

We just talked about my favorite book for aspiring writers, but what about people that really want to go all in and truly start honing their crafts?

There are a lot of different courses online for people who want to become writers.

My favorite is CopyHour.

This focuses specifically on how to become a better copywriter, or how to be more persuasive with your words. It takes a fairly unconventional approach, but it works.  This is also how I improved my own skills.

If you’re looking for a good starting point, grab our free freelance writing guide to help you get on the right track.

6) Find a Place to Get Real Critiques

This is a problem, not just with writers, but with creatives or business people as a whole.

Often times it can be difficult to get real feedback from people because those closest to you want you to feel good.

They would rather be nice and polite than tell you what you really need to hear.

When you’re trying to improve your writing skills, this is horrible. The last thing you want is to keep repeating bad habits, or spending hours crafting work that isn’t interesting.

Your mom is probably not the best person to critique your work. Neither is your significant other.

Find either a business peer or mentor you trust, or you can find communities online to get real feedback.

Simply put? Do everything you can to get radical transparency from those around you.

Forums for writing critiques:

7) Start Journaling 

This is a common thread I’ve seen among many of my most successful entrepreneur friends – they journal.

Sometimes just for 5 minutes a day, some for an hour.

Journaling will not only help you organize your thoughts and prioritize tasks or initiatives but by writing in it on a regular basis, you’re writing will begin to improve.

As we mentioned earlier, the most important thing you can do to become a writer is to write. Journaling can be an easy way to start doing that, without the pressure of having to publicize any of it.

Here are three journals I’ve used:

Self Journal by BestSelfCo

I’ve been using my Self Journal for the last month or so.

8) Practice Becoming More Conversational

This might be the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever received. One of the first guest posts I’d ever written was for the personal finance site Get Rich Slowly.

The guy behind the site JD Roth, told me numerous times during revisions, “be more conversational and relaxed, use more contractions!”

Online the more conversational you are, the easier your writing is to read, the more relatable and trustworthy you become, and the better your flow of writing becomes.

If you’re like me, you’ll have to train yourself to get away from formal writing like you were trained to do in high school and college.

Comparing my writing in 2009 to now, you’ll notice many more contractions and a very conversational tone.

I have JD to thank for that.

9) “Write Drunk, Edit Sober”

This is the famous quote attributed to Hemmingway, that I think has a lot of validity to it. (Even though most agree Hemmingway didn’t actually coin the term.

Sure you can take it literally if you want, but the way I personally interpret it is to let your writing be creative and free-flowing.

Don’t get bogged down in research, adding links, formatting, or overthinking.

Just write.

Then go back with fresh eyes to add edit, revise, format, and to make sure all of the claims you made during your initial draft you know, are actually true.

Hemmingway may not have written drunk, but he sure knew how to pick the good spots in Havana. This was at Hotel Ambos Mundos where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls:

Derek Johanson, Clay Boeschen and Sean Ogle at Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana, Cuba

Derek Johanson, Clay Boeschen and Sean Ogle at Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana, Cuba

10) Recognize Why You Want to Become a Writer

There are a nearly limitless number of good reasons to become a writer. Maybe you want to get into the first stages of freelance writing, maybe you want to up your game and become a B2B content writer, or maybe you want to self-publish lots of books.

But you have to know which of those reasons are the reasons that you want to become a better writer.

As with anything, you can only hone your craft and get better at skills if you have the proper motivation behind it.

So what is your motivation?

Is it to write more compelling Facebook posts to prove to your friends how great your life really is? Is it to get the attention of influencers with your cheeky and cleverly crafted emails. Watch this video to see how one of the biggest musical acts on the planet did just that, and how you can use the same strategy:

Or is it more than that?

Whatever the reason is that you’re trying to learn how to become a writer, know the reason, and focus on it during your quest to improve your skills.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Writer

Ok, you’re still not totally convinced? Have a few more questions about how to become a successful writer? I’ve got you covered.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Writer?

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you already are a writer. You may not be a good writer, but if you can write anything at all, then you’ve earned the title “writer.”

The bad news? Most people spend their entire lives trying to get to earn the title of “good writer.” Even the best authors in the world will be critical of their skills and work.

So take it one thing at a time, and just work to improve wit each piece you write.

How Do You Become a Full-Time Writer?

If you’re trying to figure out how to become a full-time writer, you’ve got lots of options.

Within Location Rebel Academy, my goal is to have you earning a solid income within 90 days. It may not quite be full-time money at that point, but you’ll be on your way.

To quickly make a full-time living writing, start by freelancing. It’s the easiest way to get going. Depending on your background and skills, there are a number of different types of remote freelance positions you can start with.

You can also become a blogger, self-published author, or technical writer as well. But by starting with freelancing you’ll be able to quickly build your skills, income, and confidence.

How Do You Become a Writer Without a Degree?

Want to learn how to become a writer without a degree? Good news, you absolutely don’t need a degree of any sort to be a writer.

My degree was in finance.

One of my favorite stories illustrating this is from Asia Gregg. Asia had no formal writing background, lived in a trailer park, and became one of the best copywriters in the world all on her own (she’s actually an Academy member as well!)

Want to Make a Living as a Freelance Writer?

Great, we think that’s one of the best online businesses you can start right now.

We have an incredibly step-by-step post on freelance writing that will walk you through everything you need to know to get started.

You can also watch the video here:

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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