Of course they can, but not everyone has the ability to become a professional writer. I by no means demand that any writer needs professional training or qualifications, they certainly do need a few things to succeed, and some CPD along the way doesn’t do anyone any harm. I learned my craft over many years working alongside and for journalists, marketing and advertising folk, and it’s a skill I believe has, like a great wine or cheese, developed and matured with age.
Brush up on those language skills
First off, you need a top notch understanding of language, grammar and word use. I’d say that these are the most important elements. Read the papers, books, magazines, as much as you can to expand your understanding of the spoken word. A great grammar reference book is always good to have on hand too.
Be an ideas machine
Research is your best friend. As a writer, clients will often just through a few bones of ideas your way and it’s your job to get under the skin of what they want and deliver a stonker piece of work. The ability to get lost and fall in love with research is an absolute must. I have to admit, this is my absolute favourite part of the job.
Get to the nitty gritty, think meticulous
We’re not all perfect, though some of us are pretty close too it (natch). And we all make mistakes, but make sure you’re thorough. Give yourself the time and headspace to plan. Yes, I know this is hard to do when a client gives you an hour’s notice to write a speech, or less than a day to work on a pitch presentation. However, where possible take the time to read, and reread your work and I would urge all writers proofread or find a willing participant to check your work. A second pair of eyes is only ever a good thing.
You’re a natural raconteur but…
You hate speaking to people. Uh oh. This has to change. As a writer you make words bounce off the page, you can turn drab corporate speak into an inspiring narrative and you write killer sales copy. This is fabulous, I want to hire you!
However, the one hurdle you need to get over is talking to clients and speaking to potential new ones. Your words speak for themselves and being able to communicate, not just on paper/screen is ultimate.
As a writer, you may dream of living a peaceful life, sitting in your garden office, looking over the landscape ahead of you. And while there are moments of solitude, you’re no lone wolf. Learning to be around, talk to and have meaningful relationships with all sorts of people will not only inspire your writing, but also stops you from totally going mad!
So after all that, what I guess I’m trying to say is, there is a writer in all of us somewhere, its just knowing how to eke that writer out, and knowing how to make that little writer make you a living is even harder, that’s why I’m here – I can make your words work hard for you.