So You Want To Be a Writer? Start Dressing Like One

Why looking the part matters

Ashley Alt
4 min readJan 14, 2020
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In the midst of mind over matter, the following statements couldn’t ring truer:

You are what you think.

You are what you read.

You are what you speak.

You are what you write.

If you’re looking to up your writer game — aka you want to be taken seriously as a professional writer — you need to dress like a professional writer.

What the hell does a professional writer look like, you ask? That answer looks different for everyone depending on what type of writer you are.

Are you an aspiring non-fiction author hoping to specialize in the self-improvement category? I would try this out for size. Are you a wellness writer motivating people to make healthy eating, fitness, and lifestyle choices? Check this guru out.

In essence, your appearance should closely resonate with your work. If you don’t know what topics you want to specialize in, I talk about how writers can find their writing niche in this post.

I’m writing this post for two main reasons. (1) Because I know what the power of dressing well holds. (2) Because I’m sick of writers being envisioned as sloppy pajama-wearers who don’t shave or shower. We shower! And most times we shave.

So, to become a writer on the outside, figure out what your writer persona is on the inside by asking yourself…

Photo by Mariya Georgieva on Unsplash

What kind of writer am I?

Who are you as a writer? Who do you want to be as a writer? When your friend tells her friend that you’re a writer, what image do you want popping in said friend’s head?

I’m a relatable writer. According to my editor (Hi, Simone!), I have a “strong, clear and vulnerable voice.” I’m cool with this description. I’m an honest, blunt (sometimes fiery and sassy) person in my everyday life, so why wouldn’t I be that way as a writer?

If you honestly don’t know what kind of writer you are (side note: this takes a long time to figure out so cut yourself some slack already), look up writers you admire, try to mimic their style, and see what works and what doesn’t.

What is my goal with my writing career?

Is writing something you’re fine with doing on the side, or do you want to make a real, tangible living as a professional writer/author/editor?

Take time to really think about this, and see what pops into your head as you start jotting down how you envision yourself living over the next 5, 10, 15 years.

My goal is to become a well-respected author in the modern lifestyle space, which includes modern mothering, modern career-ing, and modern styling.

So if I want to be a well-respected author cranking out books around these topics, I’m going to want to upgrade my style game as I go — elegant jumpsuits, fitted denim jackets and oversize sunglasses to boot. And as my writing voice continues to evolve, the way I outfit myself will evolve as well.

How do I want people to remember me?

I don’t mean this morbidly. I mean, how do you want people to remember you after a writer’s conference once they’ve met 1,000 other people? What kind of things do you want people to be saying about you after meeting you? What first impression do you want to make when shaking hands with industry folk?

My advice in short: Be memorable.

My way of being memorable from an appearance standpoint isn’t difficult because dressing in bright colors and bold outfits, complete with mismatched looks and really big hats, is just my thing.

I understand it’s not everyone’s thing. If bright orange lipstick isn’t your style, find another way to stand out. Better yet, make whatever it is your signature. Maybe it’s the unique pair of reading glasses you always wear. Maybe it’s a cool pin on your jacket or a fringe scarf around your neck.

If boring truly is your thing (I don’t recommend this), pick ONE item (like a black blazer) and don’t be seen without it. In no time, you will become black blazer Jennifer. Isn’t that exciting? People know you!

Photo by Peter Plashkin on Unsplash

From One Writer to the Next…

My advice is and always will be to simply be yourself.

In your work, in your relationships, in your appearance and everything else, be true to who you are and what you believe in.

If you do that, your style as a writer will be uncovered.

And if it isn’t (or if it’s taking too damn long), email me for a free finding your writer style consultation. I’d love to help you find your signature style. I know I’ve found mine.



Thanks for reading!

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Ashley Alt

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great.