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Diversify Your Income: How to Become a Writing Tutor


Working as a writing tutor is a viable income stream for many writers.

Tutoring is a great choice as it requires a skill set you already possess if you can make money from your writing. Also, there is a high level of demand for writing tutoring and that is extremely unlikely to change at any point in the foreseeable future.

But what exactly is a writing tutor? How do you find that type of work? And how can you feel confident that it’s something you’d be good at?

Read on to discover answers to the most commonly asked questions about finding and succeeding at writing tutor jobs.

What do you do as a writing tutor?

A writing tutor is responsible for providing a range of information, guidance, practical exercises, and personalized feedback related to their students’ writing.

Often, writing tutors are paired with students at various stages of their academic journey. College is a popular time for students to seek out writing tutors as often the demands of academic writing are slightly overwhelming for a lot of people.

However, you can tutor writers of any type. You don’t need to specialize in helping academic students if you don’t want to. Lots of people need help with their writing. If they are willing to pay you to do it, you are a writing tutor by definition.

No matter what type of student you end up teaching, typical activities for a writing tutor include:

  1. Explaining the fundamental building blocks of writing such as grammar, tense, and word choice.
  2. Setting exercises appropriate to a student’s level of ability to help them progress and improve upon the weaker areas in their writing skillset.
  3. Gaining an understanding of a student’s writing aims and providing them with encouragement and motivation to reach them.
  4. Offering direct feedback on completed writing work, mixing words of praise with areas to improve upon.
  5. Suggesting next steps for a writing student, such as further courses or projects that might be a good fit for their skills and interests.

If the type of work carried out by a writing tutor appeals to you, read on to discover more about this method of earning money by leveraging your writing ability.

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How do I become a tutor for writing?

The first stage to becoming a writing tutor is to make sure your skillset is up to par. You might have a real passion for writing but that doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to tutor others.

Writing tutors are by no means required to have a degree, but it often helps. If you can demonstrate a formal academic background in a subject such as English, it will be a lot easier to convince people it is worth paying you money to teach them.

If you’re confident you have the right level of ability to make a positive difference to writing students, it’s time to proactively seek out opportunities.

There are plenty of specialist services and bulletin boards where writing tutor jobs are advertised. These can be a great way to start looking as they are more likely to feature a better selection of jobs than you would be able to source on your own.

However, don’t feel you need to limit yourself to established writing tutoring companies. Instead, it’s more than possible to set up independently and work as a freelance writing tutor. If you’re already a freelance writer you possess a lot of the skills needed. These include the ability to market your services, find clients, and manage your projects and business relationships along the way.

Is tutoring a good way to make money?

Writing tutor jobs are an excellent income stream for writers for several reasons. These include:

  • A break from writing. Your work as a writing tutor will primarily involve guiding the writing of others rather than writing yourself. This offers a valuable break from having to write for money while still allowing you to leverage your background as a writer.
  • Consistent demand. Between the worlds of academia and people who write for pleasure or money, there will always be a demand for writing tutors/coaches. This demand is forecast to grow over the next few years. If you’ve got what it takes to offer effective writing tutoring, you’ll never be short of opportunity.
  • Respectable money. It can be difficult to earn a reasonable income during your earliest times as a freelance writer. Freelance writing work is notoriously low-paid for brand new entrants. This changes after you have some experience and a reputation but it doesn’t lessen the difficulty of your earliest days. Working writing tutor jobs in addition to your writing work can help provide a steady and sufficient income while you chase your true writing dreams.
  • Different types of students. If you’re the type of writer that enjoys meeting with and working with a diverse range of people then becoming a writing tutor could be a great fit. You can work with so many different types of people, from college students who need a little extra help to business professionals who need expert tutoring to help prepare for their debut book.
  • Learn through teaching. It’s a fact that one of the best ways to learn about something and increase your knowledge is by teaching it to others. Being a writing tutor ensures you will never stop focusing on the fundamentals of great writing. This helps to improve your work while also helping others. A true writing win/win!

Writing tutors make a respectable income. If you’re able to land the most prestigious tutoring opportunities this can easily equate to a good full-time salary. You also have the option of setting your hourly rate and scaling your tutoring hours up or down depending on the other writing work you have on your plate at any given time.

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What makes a good writing tutor?

Of course, if you’re the type of writer who’s read this far in the article, you’re not content with being ‘good enough’. No. You’re dedicated to being the best you can be as a writing tutor.

So what exactly makes a good writing tutor? How can you intentionally aim to be your best in this field?

Aim to have and nurture the following traits to be a good writing tutor:

  • Writing ability. To be a good writing tutor you must first be a good writer. You don’t have to be the best out there. But no matter what, you do need to have a solid grasp of the theory and practice of writing. There’s nothing worse than getting caught out by a question from a student and being unable to answer it convincingly. That’s one of the fastest ways to destroy your credibility.
  • Teaching ability. Being a good writer isn’t enough to succeed at tutoring. You also need to have the skill set of a teacher. Being able to connect with students and explain concepts in a way they can understand is crucial. You could be the best writer in the world but unless you have a desire to teach and the skillset to do so, you will not succeed as a writing tutor.
  • Communication skills. There are a lot of writers that are skillful with a pen but stumble when it comes to the spoken word. Being able to communicate your ideas concisely and clearly through whichever medium you will use to tutor is vital. You also need to be positive and encouraging and at the same time able to guide and better those you tutor.
  • Personal marketability. Just like in the freelance writing world, there is a lot of competition for writing tutor jobs. Learn how to sell yourself to prospective students. Having a blog or website related to your writing tutoring and being active on relevant social media can be helpful here.
  • Time management. If writing tutoring is just one of your income streams then you need to make sure your time management skills aren’t lacking. Juggling the demands of your students along with your other commitments and writing projects is no mean feat.

In a nutshell, if you have a good level of writing ability coupled with the desire and ability to help and guide others, you have what it takes to be a good writing tutor.

How do writing tutors help their students?

Writing tutors help their students in several practical and emotional ways.

In a sentence, you will help your students by showing them how to become better writers!

This involved providing a mix of practical skills and personal encouragement. Writing well requires knowledge and consistent practice, but also a level of confidence and self-belief. Almost all writers experience serious levels of self-doubt. It’s your job as a writing tutor to spot this in your students and help them to overcome it.

Now you know what writing tutor jobs entail, why not explore the market for yourself? See if any tutoring opportunities seem like a good fit for your background, interests, and income requirements.

You have nothing to lose by seeing what’s out there and potentially a lot to gain, both for yourself and those you end up helping become better writers.