There’s nothing like practical career advice from people who’ve already trodden the path you hope to follow. We recently chatted with a selection of successful writers to learn about their writing careers.
From award winning novelists to professional writing entrepreneurs, their career stories are very different. But the one thing they all agree upon is that there’s no set career path for a writer.
Don’t panic – this is a good thing. Whether you dream of creating award winning literature, or bringing a business venture to life through your professional writing, you’ll find useful advice below.
- Do your research – know what to expect
Heather Delfs runs the successful professional writing business, Barefoot Scribe. In her experience, it’s quite normal for writers to have non-linear careers.
A good approach for professional writing students is to keep an eye on the marketplace throughout your studies. Job titles can be cyclical, so learning to recognise ads for writing opportunities is a good skill to practice.
Regular visits to sites like Curtin’s online job board, CareerHub, can help keep you up-to-date with industry trends, terminology, and expectations.
- Use elective units to bolster your skill set
Check out the range of elective options available to you, and pick up additional skills while completing your core studies.
Author, and Curtin academic, Liz Byrski, says, “employers are desperate for well-informed staff who can write well across a range of forms and genres”.
She recommends all creative writing students plan ahead, and add some professional writing knowledge and competency to their skill set.
- Showcase your talent – be innovative
When Professional Writer, Alecia Hancock, is recruiting for her award winning business, Hancock Creative, certain candidates attract her attention.
“I look for things like, have they got a blog? Have they got hobbies and passions they’re pursuing? Somebody who does something different stands out”.
- Set goals
Laurie Steed, winner of the 2013 Patricia Hackett Prize, believes that goals are essential motivators for all writers.
“I’d like to say that I’m a successful writer but I’ve got goals beyond where I’m at right now. That’s how you find out what your next big step is”.
He suggests writing students develop a personal definition of what it means to be a writer. Set goals that align with your definition, then treat this as an ongoing process.