Is Writing the Right Career Path for Me?

Is Writing the Right Career Path for Me?

[guest post: J. Begley]

Writing can be an enjoyable hobby, but it is a very different world to explore when you make it your job. Writing careers have unfortunately been underestimated for years, primarily because they aren’t seen as very profitable. Nowadays, however, the value and demand for writers have been increasing. SEO optimization, social media marketing, freelance writing, and other written content-based work have grown in importance, and so have the job opportunities as noted in our previous post Why Be a Writer in 2022. If you’re an aspiring writer, here are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself to know if a writing career is right for you.

Can I keep up with industry trends?

Readers are constantly looking for the latest information on the industries they’re interested in, and using outdated material won’t be very useful if you want people to read your work.

A guide to writing careers by Maryville University explains that a well-versed writer makes sure they’re updated on the most recent statistics, facts, and news so that they can properly convey their message to others. For example, to be able to effectively explain certain subjects to readers, technical writers need to stay abreast of the latest technology, tools, and coding languages. Grant writers should know about the organizations they’re writing for, as well as the latest trends around the industry.

Regardless of your field, you’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of research — from searching for articles to interviewing experts — so your finger is always on the pulse of the industry you’re working in. Reading extensively is a must for any writer, so if that’s something you’re willing and eager to do, writing could be perfect for you.

Can I handle criticism?

Written work must go through a lengthy revision process to ensure it’s in line with the client’s standards. Your writing isn’t always going to get a pass on the first try, and you’ll inevitably get some critique and criticism for it. Receiving criticism is never easy whether you’re a newbie or an experienced writer, but it’s essential to your growth.

It’s important to remember that people aren’t attacking you personally, but that they’re pointing out areas for improvement to guide you in the right direction. Constructive criticism should provide you with actionable tips on correcting and improving your writing, and it’s up to you to choose how to incorporate it into your piece. According to research from the American Psychological Association, honest and thorough feedback is the best way to pinpoint what needs fixing, and that’s something you might find you need when you start writing.

Am I willing to learn on the job?

A writing job may require you to write about all genres and topics, requiring you to be versatile. You will need to know what kind of tone to use for the type of piece you are writing; a lifestyle article may need a light-hearted tone, while technical work requires a more serious approach.

According to Medium’s article, The Hottest Writing Industry in Demand in 2022, jobs like copywriting need writers to prepare all kinds of content, from marketing materials to emails, so knowing various writing styles comes in handy. It helps to create a portfolio of your written works to show how you write in specific genres and forms. Clients and recruiters can get a better feel for your specialties by looking through your samples.

But don’t just stick to what you know. Writing jobs will often push you out of your comfort zone, and you have to be willing to learn to write about many things along the way.

Writing is a viable career choice, but not one that can be taken lightly. Take the proper time to grow and develop your writing as you consider a potential career in the field.

–written for Serious Writer by J. Begley

2021 SW Contest Finalists

2021 SW Contest Finalists

Congratulations to all of the 2021 Serious Writer Contest finalists. In many cases, there was a one point difference between the entries.

What’s Next?

The manuscripts will go to the final round of judging. There will be one winner for each contest. Serious Writer will reach out to the winners to coordinate for the awards ceremony. The winners will be revealed via livestream at the awards ceremony.

Announcing the 2021 Serious Writer Contest Finalists

2021 Serious Writer Contest Book of the Year Finalists

The 2021 Writer of the Year Finalists

Annette Marie Griffin for The Knightly Stalker
Tammy Kennington for Montana Rescue
Sarah Rexford for The Convergence
Debbie Spence for Courageous Kate’s Fearless Day
Cheryl Spears Waugh for Way of the Mescalero

2021 Serious Writer Book of the Year Finalists

The 2021 Book of the Year Finalists

Hallee Bridgeman for Alexandra’s Appeal: A Christian Romance (Dixon Brothers Book 3)
Lynn Cowell and Michelle Nietert for Loved and Cherished: 100 Devotions for Girls
Annette Marie Griffin for What is a Family?
Julie Lavender for 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories
Britt Mooney for Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight

2021 Serious Writer Book of the Decade Finalists

The 2021 Book of the Decade Finalists

Penny Cooke for Pursuing PRAYER: Being Effective in a Busy World
Judy DuCharme for Blood Moon Redemption
Rebecca Barlow Jordan for Day-votions for Mothers: Heart to Heart Encouragement
Marian Rizzo for In Search of the Beloved
Carol Grace Stratton for Lake Surrender

How to Find the Right Content for Your Audience in a Few Simple Steps

We know building a platform is hard so we decided to grow a new platform, share the journey, and invite you to start (or restart or continue) to build yours. The big question is, “How do I find ideas for content?” We’re gonna show you.

The focus right now (and has been for a while) is VIDEO.

Creating. Short. Videos.

60 seconds or less. (Tik Tok)

30 seconds or less. (Reels)

10 seconds or less. (IG Stories)

How Do I Find Ideas on What to Post?

​​Step 1: Research.

Search for your topic (like on Instagram) using the hashtag for the topic and adding the word problems, fails, or guilt.

For example: If a theme/topic in your book is on gardening, use Instagram’s search to look up posts that are talking about it (and see what other hashtags can be used.

As an example, #gardeningproblems has been used 56,000+ times. It’s not going to reach a huge audience since it’s not super popular, but you can look through the posts and find out what problems they had and how you can provide a solution.

#gardeningproblems in the search bar of Instagram

Let’s look at another example. Instead of searching for a theme or topic, you can search for audience. If you’re writing to moms, try the same hashtags, but replace garden with mom.

#MomProblems weighs in at over 1 Million posts.

Step 2: Look at the top posts and recent posts and ask yourself some questions:

  • What topics are they addressing?
  • How is their audience responding to them?
  • What type of photos/mediums are they using? (text-based? memes? selfies? nature? Reels? Stories? etc)

Step 3: Make a list of what worked.

Step 4: Create similar content with YOUR spin. Your voice. Your experience. All directed and funneled toward YOUR target audience.

That is one of the strategies we’re using, too.

Last week we shared our new @SeriousWriter Tik Tok account and in a few days, our best video had 12.8K views. We just checked and it’s up to 33.1K. 😳…and almost 2K in followers.

That Tik Tok channel is publishing advice from a literary agent’s perspective so we decided to test our methods and create a second account.

Because why not?!

The @SeriousWriterFamily channel is sharing publishing advice from a traditional author’s perspective. We haven’t seen a video grow so fast on there just yet but we’re not doing too shabby: 130 follows and several videos with 500+ views.

So we’re learning. And we’re sharing the process so you can do it, too.

Conversely, we’re sharing similar content over on Instagram. The Reels, which we just started doing, are hovering in the 200 view range, with a couple pulling in 1800 and 2700.

The Best Performing Video:
The Worst Things You Can Say to a Literary Agent ( created on June 11)

Because we like to do things together and because we didn’t want to wait until our September event to start teaching these strategies, we started the One Video-a-Day Challenge.

The goal: to post one 30-second or less video per day on either IG Reels or Tik Tok (or both).

If you’re S E R I O U S about building your platform, take this challenge with us. Don’t wait any longer. Don’t wait any longer.

June 25, 2021 Update:

There are only 8 spots left in the Intensives track: 4 left in fiction and 1 left in nonfiction. Event details here.

Even if you can’t make it to the intensives, we’re hosting a one-day event on JUST SOCIAL MEDIA and we’re sharing the strategies Cyle has used to grow to almost 300,000 followers across his platform (we were wrong about it only being 100,000 followers, so sorry Cyle!).

Register for the Build Your Brand: Social Media and/or the Serious Writer genre Intensives event today!

We’re excited to continue to grow this community, so share this with a friend!

One Video-a-Day Challenge

One Video-a-Day Challenge

Are you feeling stuck trying to grow your platform? Try posting one video-a-day.

Join us for this challenge where you post one video a day on either Tik Tok or Instagram (as a Reel).

We’re starting our Serious Writer Tik Tok channel from ZERO so we thought this would be a great time to grow together.

Here’s what’s going on…

We’ve got lots of info on this in our Facebook group so we’re taking all that content we shared and putting it here, in one spot, for you! Be sure to join the Family Facebook group! Cyle and Bethany (the Serious Writer co-owners) are challenging each other on how many views they get for each video. Side note: Bethany is losing. Bigly.)

A couple of ideas:

Connect on Tik Tok

Connect on Instagram

Bonus platform: Discord

There is a lot of discussion and Q&A happening in our Serious Writer Family Discord right now.
Join us:

2021 Serious Writer Contest Semifinalists

2021 Serious Writer Contest Semifinalists

Congratulations to the 2021 Serious Writer Contest Semifinalists!

Unpublished Writer of the Year Semifinalists:

  • Annette-Marie Griffin: The Knightly Stalker
  • Cheryl Spears Waugh: Way of the Mescalero
  • Chris Sauter Manion: The Light We Cannot See
  • Cynthia L. Simmons: Medical And Surgical Care During The Civil War
  • Debbie Spence: Courageous Kate’s Fearless Day AND Broken Crayons Color Too
  • Josie Siler: Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw
  • Kay Em Ellis: CHROMA – A Christian’s Response to Online Bullying
  • Laurie “L.G.” Westlake: Calculated Risks
  • Patsy Reiter: Grandma, Rock Me Please
  • Sally A. Friscea: Over the Hill and Careening Down the Other Side
  • Sarah Limardo: Game of Gods
  • Sarah Rexford: The Convergence
  • Sheryl H. Boldt: Grandma’s Little Helpers
  • Tammy Kennington: Montana Rescue, Big Prayers for Little People, AND A Selection of Blog Posts

Book of the Year Semifinalists:

  • Annette-Marie Griffin: What is a Family?
  • Becky Baudouin: Enjoy Every Minute and Other Ridiculous Things We Say to Moms
  • Britt Mooney: Say Yes: How God Sized Dreams Take Flight
  • Christy Hoss: The Rubber Band
  • Darlene L. Turner: Border Breach
  • Hallee Bridgeman: Alexandra’s Appeal
  • Jill Roman Lord: The Quiet Crazy Easter Day AND That Grand Christmas Day
  • Julie Lavender: 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories
  • Lauren Crews: Strength of a Woman Devotional
  • Mary Potter Kenyon: Called to Be Creative: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity
  • Megan Kinney: Dakota Peace
  • Michelle Nietert & Lynn Cowell: Loved and Cherished
  • Starr Ayers: For the Love of Emma
  • Tori Higa: The Christmas Color

Book of the Decade Semifinalists:

  • Betty Roberts: Midnight Chronicles: A Love Story
  • Brett Armstrong: Quest of Fire: The Gathering Dark AND Destitutio Quod Remissio
  • Carol Grace Stratton: Lake Surrender
  • Emily Golus: Escape to Vindor
  • James C. Magruder: The Glimpse
  • Claire Sanders: Freedom River
  • Judy DuCharme: The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame EditionThe Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition, AND Blood Moon Redemption
  • Marian Rizzo: Angela’s Treasures AND In Search of the Beloved
  • Melissa Calais Lewis: The Nature of Honey: The Woman’s Journey in Connection with God, Blossoms, and Bees
  • Penny Cooke: Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World
  • Rebecca Barlow Jordan: Day-votions for Mothers – Heart to Heart Encouragement