Identity capital is your collection of personal assets—a repertoire of individual resources that you assemble over time. In other words, it is the things you do to invest in yourself.
Some identity capital goes on a résumé such as your work experience and credentials, and other is more personal, like how you speak and behave, where you are from, where and how you spend your time, etc.
As a writer, what do you need to do to build your identity capital? Let me remind you that to be a writer is to do many things of which, of course, the most important is writing.
But, there are other important things you need to keep in mind.
#1: Read. Reading is a necessary component. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. I used to read newspaper scraps and cricket magazines, as they were the only sources of reading available.
Read a few books about writing. Start with Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I also recommend the following two books: Writing a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann.
#2: Publish. A letter to a local newspaper or magazine (if you are interested in journalism) is an excellent place to start. This exercise will require you to read newspapers and get the hang of journalistic writing.
Also, when you write for the public, you will need to spend more time on formulating your ideas and communicating them in an appropriate and clear language.
If you are a student, write for the monthly and annual publications of your school, as most colleges and universities provide such opportunities.
#3: Take a course or workshop in writing. There are plenty of online and offline resources. You should be able to do this at your school. If not, I recommend writing courses on coursera.org. I encourage you to visit the website and find a course that can fulfill your needs.
#4: Find an internship in writing. I am sure many organizations offer unpaid but useful internships. If you are lucky, you may even find a paid internship. I suggest looking into The Borgen Project, as I had a pretty good experience with them last year. They train you in SEO, title crafting, Google algorithms, etc. It is competitive. You should be able to demonstrate excellent writing skills for them to hire you.
#5: Hang out with other writers. This may be hard to find depending on your location but not entirely impossible. If you are at a college or university, the editorial team of the school’s publications is usually pretty accessible. Many schools also have writer’s clubs. Take advantage of these services.
#6: Think, talk and behave like a writer. You should be passionate about writing all the time. Your speech and behavior should reflect your identity as a writer. Incorporate, if you can, your socio-cultural identity into your writing.
For instance, if you come from an oppressed ethnic or economic minority, you should reflect the concerns of your group in what you write. This is however not compulsory.
As a writer, you should be kind, thoughtful and humble in your interaction with people. And don’t ever expect privilege just because you are a writer.
#7: Always look for new and innovative ways to polish your writing. And finally, just keep writing.
Have a wonderful weekend.