There are many different ways to become a professional writer, and there are many different types of professional writers in the world, so it is important to really narrow down your goals and determine what type of writing you want to do. Someone who wants to write novels, for example, might follow a different career and educational path than someone who wants to write articles for a magazine or website, or do copy writing, just to name a few. Though it is certainly not always the case, often someone who wants to become a professional writer will pursue at least a four-year bachelor's degree in a field such as English or journalism.
While education may not be a requirement to be a good writer, many companies or publications will not hire someone who does not possess a bachelor's degree or sometimes even a master's degree. This can make it a better investment, even if it does not seem as if it will be worth it in the end. English, communications, or journalism are common degrees for someone who wants to become a professional writer. The degree an individual chooses depends largely on his or her career goals. There are now many more degree programs in publishing or creative writing as well, for people who know that is the type of work they want to do, as well as marketing media.
Aside from education, experience is necessary in order to become a professional writer. In general, this means getting pieces published, which can be difficult. A publication will rarely want to publish something from a previously unpublished writer; on the other hand, there is no other way to get experience. In this case, working on a school newspaper, publishing articles online, or sending articles to local magazines or newspapers can be one way to get published clips.
It is important for anyone who wants to become a professional writer to keep a portfolio of his or her published work. This should be kept neat and up to date, because it will need to be submitted for nearly all writing jobs. Persistence is necessary when trying to become a writer; rejection letters from written pieces or job applications should be expected. Aside from this, it is important to remember that to become a writer, it is necessary to just keep writing, practicing, and honing skills, and ideally soliciting critical feedback from others as much as possible. Writers also read other people's works just as much, if not more, than they write their own.