A guest post by Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing
Do you worry that you aren’t qualified to be a writer?
I frequently have writers tell me they feel their chances of earning well from writing are doomed, because they’re not an expert in anything.
Or that it’s hopeless because they don’t have a college degree.
They can’t launch a successful blog, because there are already so many blogs farther along than theirs, with more authority.
We all know there are certain specialized writing niches that can pay very well, such as technology, finance, and healthcare.
What if you don’t know about one of these lucrative areas? Well, it does not mean the end of your writing career.
How do I know?
I don’t have a degree. And when I started out, I had no area of expertise.
I was a starving songwriter. No kidding.
What I discovered on the way to building a six-figure freelance writing and blogging career is this:
You don’t have to be an expert
Sure, it helps if you know a little bit about something.
I’ve gotten jobs writing for insurance companies because my dad sold insurance, and I had a fair idea of what it was.
I was a legal secretary when I was a teen, which has helped me get gigs writing for legal websites and law firms’ blogs.
I bought a house once…which helped me write stories for the real-estate section of a newspaper.
See what I’m talking about? Some basic acquaintance with your topic helps.
But I’ve also written about plenty of things I knew nothing about.
These topics include where Seattle’s trash goes, Washington State’s drunk-driving laws, venture capital funding for startups, and companies’ public offerings.
What writers need to know about
How did I get these gigs, if I didn’t know anything about their topics?
I knew the important thing — how to write well.
How to gather facts and organize them, and tell a story in a compelling way.
That’s what most markets hire writers for.
That’s what you’re expected to be the expert in — writing.
Here’s how you qualify to be a writer
You have to believe you have the skills to go out and find the story. To come up with ideas for pieces to write.
You have to have the confidence that you can do it.
Where do you get that confidence? From writing and writing and writing.
Try to get some feedback on that writing. Find a mentor. Keep improving.
The more you write, the more you improve. You’ll see that you have the chops to go out and write, and that others will pay you to do it. Gladly.
It isn’t hard to learn about a topic, now that we have the Internet. You can go out and learn about nearly anything in a single day, can’t you?
You can find experts in any field to talk to you, so you can learn about your subject.
What can’t be taught is the writing skill.
The reason they usually don’t hire “experts” to write is that most of them are awful writers.
That’s where you come in. You can write.
Not only that, but here’s the magic: nobody else in the whole world writes exactly like you.
You have your own approach and style to how you write.
That’s why you can launch a new blog and make it stand out and be a success, even now.
That’s why you’re qualified. And that’s the only skill you really need.
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