This is a great question. It’s also one that I think every writer would answer differently. Why? Because most professional writers will approach the goal of business writing from a different point of view. As far as my own journey, I started and trained as a creative writer and ended up as a business content writer almost by accident! Here’s what I can share about how my education factored in.
What education goals should you aim for?
There are no set goals to being a professional writer other than to study writing in some form. Most will take an English degree (like I did) and then specialize based on their institution’s offerings. Some general goals would include:
- Some focus on writing: Taking writing courses will help you get a feel for everything from actual writing techniques to discovering what kind of writing you enjoy creating. If you have the option, take a variety of courses! My creative writing classes were wide open intentionally to expose every budding writer to as many types of writing. I learned that I enjoy emotional, dramatic prose, have no talent in scriptwriting, and have a strong dislike of writing poetry!
- Some focus on business: If you’re considering blending writing with entrepreneurship, I recommend some sort of business course. This isn’t an option that I had at my school, and it’s something that I definitely lacked when I started out. While I did self-educate through books, I would have benefited greatly from some introductory business courses. Try a few 101 courses, and see whether you prefer the entrepreneurship angle or something more corporate!
- Basic customer relations: So, I think we can all agree that people suck. Not all people, of course, but enough of them that you have to learn how to deal with them in a professional matter. Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows what I’m talking about! When you’re looking at becoming a professional writer, you will have to learn to “meet people where they are.” For example, some will have an entire content brief ready for you to get started ASAP. But others may just come to you with a general idea. Others might be unreasonable with their deadlines or pricing expectations. And you have to be able to deal with all of those people, perhaps even at the same time! Educating yourself in customer relations, be it educationally or in experiential training, will be a huge asset to you!
The most important thing
Taking the right approach to education as a writer-in-training is definitely essential! However, there is something that you can’t learn in a classroom, even though it’s crucial for being a successful writer: a passion for writing. When the bad days hit, where the customers are unreasonable, or a past client leaves a negative review, your passion for writing will keep you moving forward through it all to better times ahead. If you don’t have a passion for writing that is stronger than the potential negativity, it can be challenging to stay determined!
So, this was my unique path to my career as a self-employed freelance writer! It certainly wasn’t what I dreamed I would be doing when I started my first day of classes. Still, I enjoy every day that I get up and the honour of writing for a living! Do any other professionals want to share their own adventures? Please do!
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Kelterss is an experienced freelance business writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creating Writing. Having served over 3 ,200 customers while maintaining a 4.9/5 star rating, Kelterss is looking to focus her professional services in writing product descriptions and blog posts.