Writing careers come in all shapes and forms. In fact, most writers don’t even stay in the same career for too long. Writers are commonly varied people with many interests and talents. There is hardly a novelist that will write only novels for his or her entire career. In addition, one career may flow into another, and become a developing career. For example, a novelist usually begins as a short story writer, then gradually develops into a novelist with time, experience, and knowledge. Therefore, when writing about writing careers, we have to keep in mind that writing is inherently fluid in its work pathways. However, there are few avenues that one can take as a writer: creative writer, technical writer, business writer, news writer, research writer, and educational writer. We will explore these writing careers in depth in the following paragraphs.
As a creative writer, you have many options. You can be a short story writer, a novelist, a poet, an essayist, a playwright, a screenwriter, and more. Creative writers can easily swing between these positions, and are usually adept in all these posts in some form. The mark of a competent creative writer is of flexibility and inspiration. Inspiration need not come from the sky, but these type of writers should understand how to sow the seeds of creativity through routine and discipline.
The main question that readers might have about creative writers is how they can make money. It is true that most creative writers have other jobs on the side to compensate for their lack of funds. However, there are cases when people can garner a full-fledged career as a creative writer without the need to delve into side work. In terms of writing careers, this is perhaps the most difficult to make money in, but it is also the most gratifying.
Where are creative writers hired? You would be surprised at the diversity of companies that want to hire creative writers. Everything from hotels, IT start ups, insurance companies, and of course the arts, want a piece of the creative writing pie. How so? Well, creative writers can maneuver around writing voice, tone, content, and structure better than most technical and business writers. Though there are positions called “creative writer” at companies, creative writing is involved in many positions, such as blog writer, article writer, essay writer, copywriter, content writer, and more.
Creative writers can be hired for what they do best as well. Many organizations give out commissions and contracts for creative writers to compose a product for them. For an example, I was once hired by a ballet company to write poetry for a production. Sometimes, you can earn handsome sums from these commissions and contracts. There is also the old-fashioned sponsorship deal with rich people and writers: a rich person pays a writer a monthly fee for living expenses, while the writer composes works that are in demand by the payee, or the payee gains some rights to the writing. This was a more popular deed in older times, but it can still be found happening across the globe.
Not only are technical writers the most skilled writers, they are often the highest paid. Big companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and many more companies are constantly seeking technical writers to compose guidebooks, user manuals, website content, and other technical documents. This makes becoming a technical writer a prudent choice when talking about writing careers.
To become a technical writer is no small feat. It is requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a writing-related field, a solid knowledge in information technology or a corresponding technical subject, and a solid portfolio of sample work for employees to peer over. Most often, companies prefer candidates who have been working as a technical writer for over seven years, so it is not easy to break into this position. Starting from internships in college is helpful and recommended.
Being a technical writer also requires you to be a strong editor. Most companies will say that “they do not want to hold your hand during the writing process,” which means you need to be not only skillful in creating content, but also in editing it. Each field requires a certain level of understanding in order to edit content about it well. Therefore, you will need to know a good deal about your chosen field of technical writing to edit it proficiently.
Some people might think there are hardly any writers within businesses, but they would be wrong. Writers are needed to compose business plans, reports, memos, meeting minutes, proposals, and so on. Each company has its own content team. This makes business writers in high demand.
In order to be a business writer, you need to know quite a lot about business. Rarely do businesses hire sports writers or creative writers for this line of work, for example. In terms of writing careers, this is a more focused one. You should be integrated into the business community and its practices before applying for this position.
Though business writers do not get paid on average as much as technical writers do, they can still earn a sizable chunk of change. Averaging from around 40,000-60,000 dollars annually in the United States, business writers can make a comfortable living at what they do best: providing business-oriented writing that supports companies in their communications and sales.
Though the term “journalist” would suffice for most news writing jobs, not all news writers are journalists. Some of these writers focus mainly on media and/or technology, and giving updates about them, without having any affiliation to periodicals.
But stepping aside from the distinctions, in regard to writing careers, being a news writer is one of the most fulfilling jobs related to writing. You get to experience many interesting events in person, you are thrown into a mix of fresh knowledge about the world, and you get to write in a way that captures an audience.
To garner a position as a news writer, you need to have a degree in either media, journalism, writing, editing, communication, or a related degree. In addition, it helps to have previous experience writing news stories and to save them in a portfolio for employers to view. You must also be willing to work long night and days, as media outlets run on a 24-hour clock, and often deadlines are intense to keep up with. Despite these demands, this position can be rewarding and intriguing.
If you enjoy learning new information and seeking it out, being a research writer can be a fine choice as a profession. It is a specialized job in terms of writing careers. You need to be not only proficient in writing and editing, but also seeking out data, recording it, and elaborating on it.
Research writers can be found in the corporate world, but are more common in the habitat of laboratories and institutes. They assist in writing lab reports, case reports, data-driven documents, essays, articles, and other materials in connection with informational writing. They also submit their writing to periodicals and journals for publication. Sometimes, research writers become full-fledged book writers by contract by an educational institution or company.
Being a research writer is no joke. It requires one to be analytical, keen on sifting through data, and to be unendingly curious. Besides these traits, research writers often possess several degrees, a large portfolio of writing samples, and an extensive amount of experience in research writing. However, they can get paid as much as technical writers if they land a solid opportunity for work.
Who do you think writes all those textbooks, curriculums, handbooks, guides, and manuals? Often, educational writers are the ones to complete these tasks. They support schools with their documents, and these documents are not as boring to write as you may think.
Writing educational material, in connection to writing careers, is not often a choice to disdain. Most people who choose to write educational material are interested in the process of learning and how a person accumulates and sustains a certain level of knowledge. You can think of them as teachers with a pen that can reach a wide audience.
Educational writers have to be keen on research, writing, editing, thinking about audience-based approaches, and more. They should also have a degree in either education, writing, editing, communications, or a related degree. Furthermore, having teaching experience under your belt will not hurt. Also, having a portfolio of your educational writing samples will make your chances of landing a job within this sphere more of a reality.
Though people may think that educational writers are an obscure race of people with pens, they are in demand by many schools, school districts, and businesses. There is a constant flux of positions within this field, but the competition might be stiff, as most people who obtain a position as an educational writer do not want to let it go.