how to become a writer

How to Become a Professional Writer

By Randy Laist, Professor of English, University of Bridgeport

Do you have a story to tell? A point of view to communicate? A brand to promote? Do you love words and ideas? Do you thrive on creative challenges, and do you relish opportunities to express yourself?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider a career as a professional writer.

Professional writers work in fields as diverse as marketing, journalism, publication, education, advocacy, business, and governance. They can work for big corporations or as freelance entrepreneurs. They can write fiction, poetry, and drama, or they can write advertisements, blog posts, business reports, or magazine articles.

Some people may assume that making a living as a writer requires achieving the popular success of someone like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. In fact, however, people who have a flair for expressing ideas creatively and effectively are always in demand across all sectors of the workplace.

While there are many different kinds of writers and many different kinds of writing, there are basic skills and advanced strategies that apply to any writing situation.

The first step to becoming a professional writer is to write. Write frequently. Write about what you love and about what you hate. Write out your dreams and feelings and random thoughts. Write about why you write, or about why you want to write.

For many writers, one of the most motivational steps they can take is to enroll in a university program like the one at University of Bridgeport. Pursuing a major or minor in English and Professional Writing provides developing writers with a wealth of advantages and opportunities.

  • Taking classes in English and Professional Writing introduces students to the basic technical information that they need to express themselves clearly and persuasively.
  • Working closely with professors who are themselves professional writers inspires students to develop their own talents and identify career opportunities.
  • Taking classes with other developing writers helps students to develop a community that provides emotional support and productive feedback.
  • UB’s Center for Career Development can help connect emerging writers with professional opportunities in their field.
  • A rich network of on-campus and off-campus resources provides emerging writers with tools they can use to find an audience for their writing and to launch their careers.

Most importantly, studying English and Professional Writing at University of Bridgeport provides students with the intellectual freedom and the academic support that writers need to be able to find their voice and empower themselves to use it.

Who knows? You might even become the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling! With a degree from University of Bridgeport there is no limit to where your imagination can take you.


Dr. Laist is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut in 2009 and has been teaching English at the college level for more than twenty years. Dr. Laist loves talking with students about their ideas and their writing, and he relishes the opportunity that teaching offers to allow him to learn new things about writing, about other people, and about the world around us.
He is the author of a book about the American novelist Don DeLillo (Technology and Postmodern Subjectivity in Don DeLillo’s Novels), another book about movies from the 1990s (Cinema of Simulation: Hyperreal Hollywood in the Long 1990s), and another book about representations of the World Trade Center in movies (The Twin Towers in Film: A Cinematic History of New York’s World Trade Center). Dr. Laist has edited collections of critical essays on the television show Lost (Looking for Lost), literary representations of vegetation (Plants and Literature), cinematic representations of college (Cinema U), and Indiana Jones (Excavating Indiana Jones). He has also written journal articles and book chapters on Herman Melville, Norman Mailer, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as on zombies, YouTube, and movies. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. When Dr. Laist is not writing or teaching, he enjoys running, playing guitar, and eating.