5 Vital Lessons Learned From 5 Years of Writing Professionally

Harsh truths and important principles.

Adrian Drew
6 min readAug 17, 2022


Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

I’m a writer. Always have been, probably always will be.

I’ll spare you the boring “I used to love writing stories as a kid” spiel, because you don’t care. And you shouldn’t. You care about building a career as a writer, which is why you’re here.

Thankfully, you’ve come to the right (write?) place. And before you ask yourself, “Why would I listen to this guy?” — let me introduce myself.

  • I began freelance writing at around eighteen, choosing paid work from my laptop over studying.
  • In my first year, I earned around $25,000 from writing.
  • Later, I started earning $1 per word to write for a depression-focused company. (For context, this bullet point would’ve earned me $23.)
  • Then, I started a publication which peaked at 2.5 million readers per month.
  • Now, I own a globally-stocked magazine featuring bestselling authors and A-list actors.

I’m no expert, but I’ve got some skin in the game by this point. And I want to help you.

So grab yourself a coffee, open your notepad, and let’s do it. Here are the 5 most vital lessons I’ve learned in the past 5 years of writing.

1. You’re Not That Good… Yet

Writing is a skill. It takes time to learn. And, if you’re anything like I was, you’re probably spending your time blindly pitching articles hoping that something will land rather than actually learning to write.

Don’t be that person.

You need to get good before you get paid. You need to become a student in the art of writing. That is, to read articles and books and essays about what it means to write truly engaging and insightful content, not trash.

So where do you begin? Well, let’s run through some quick-fire tips that’ll help you improve pretty quickly:

  • Keep it simple. Drop the fancy words that nobody’s heard of. They don’t make you sound smart and nobody cares if you are. Write to be understood, not to impress.
  • Nail your hook. The introduction to a…



Adrian Drew

Owner of Mind Cafe | Let’s chat on Instagram: @adriandrew__