Have a flair for creative writing? Are you fresh out of university eager to become a writer? Perhaps you’re an established writer, ready to embark on new forms of writing altogether.
Unbeknownst to many, being a professional writer doesn’t just mean being a novelist. There are in fact dozens of other career styles out there that involve putting pen to paper.
From scratching up newsworthy pieces for magazines to preparing compelling speeches for leading figures, here are 12 kinds of professional writing careers to consider.
If you studied a journalism degree and are a bit of a news junkie, you’re most likely looking to pursue a career in journalism. This involves writing and reporting for newspapers and magazines and having your work read by millions of people.
Bear in mind that this sort of job involves sticking to tight deadlines, building relationships with sources and, of course, delivering a piece that’s newsworthy and of high quality. A huge part of a journalist’s role involves actually looking for the stories to report.
There are many who work as freelance journalists while there are others who are lucky to work full time (or part time) for a magazine or newspaper.
Got a knack of putting your thoughts and emotions into eloquent words? Poetry might be the path you want to take in writing.
Although many would say poetry doesn’t pay, they clearly never considered songwriting, commercial jingle writing or even greeting card writing.
As long as you have a creative way of communicating your thoughts or know how to turn anything into a metaphor, poetry can actually be used in many ways. And who knows? You might even become an author of the greatest poetry book around!
3. Content Writer
Content writing is one of the most in-demand writing careers around.
If you have the creativity, researching ability, skill to produce high-quality work and a grasp on search engine optimisation (SEO), you might be hired to write webpage content, articles, blog posts, social media posts and even whitepapers.
Advertise yourself as a content writer, and a number of doors will open for you. Content writers are wanted in almost every field.
Specialise in finance and have writing skills? Become a financial content writer. If you’re a health geek, why not pour your thoughts into words by contributing to a health website? Think about the areas that interest you, and if you feel like writing about them, consider delving into a career of content writing.
This is usually the most common writing career that comes to mind.
Novelists write books. Whether you’re into fiction or nonfiction, this format of writing requires great imagination, a lot of free time and the patience to write over 200,000 words. Novelists either write their own manuscripts in hopes of getting signed by a publisher, or they’re commissioned to write a novel by a publishing house.
Generally, you need to be a best-selling author in order to make a living out of being a novelist. Otherwise, keep working on that novel and work a second job until you land that book deal.
Dream of writing the next big TV show or Hollywood blockbuster?
If you’re able to create engaging dialogue and captivating narrative arcs and communicate character emotions in writing, screenwriting might be the career path for you.
Like novelists, screenwriters find it hard to make a hit – in fact, only one in a hundred submitted scripts end up being accepted for production. If you decide to develop your own script from scratch, know that it takes a lot of energy and dedication to get it read.
Screenwriters must have their networking up to par, and once they get their piece accepted, they need to be prepared for a lot of criticism – the movie/TV industry can be tough!
Many might view blogging as a mere hobby but, believe it or not, there are ways to turn your blog into a full-blown business.
Whether you run a blog on gardening or fashion, you can make it big in the blogging sphere by simply getting your voice heard. By creating rich, unique and engaging content, having some knowledge on SEO and getting busy on social media, you can build your blogging empire. Although not as easy as it may seem, it is indeed possible.
Working from home on your money-making blog and writing what you love about on a daily basis never sounded more appealing, right? If you haven’t started yet, consider starting your blog on a platform like WordPress, Wix or Blogger.
It takes a lot of effort to make it big, but it can certainly happen.
Instead of reporting about news like a journalist, columnists will write about certain trends such as economics, fashion, makeup and politics. They will generally have a feature in a magazine or newspaper every week where they are able to share their thoughts and opinions on a niche topic. Columnists also tend to do other jobs on the side such as writing a book or working for a radio or TV channel.
If publicising your thoughts in a column read by likeminded people sounds interesting, then start getting your name out there. Apply to freelance for local newspapers or start your own column and syndicate it to various newspapers to get noticed. If you have an existing blog, that’s always a plus as it demonstrates your writing skills for a certain field.
If you’re not in it for the fame but mostly the pay, consider opting for a career in ghostwriting.
Ghostwriters are the writers behind the scenes of books, autobiographies, articles or web content that do not have their name attributed to the work. Instead, the client’s name is credited.
Most writers have a sense of pride and refuse to not have their name credited under their work, but if you truly don’t mind, this writing career might be for you. As long as you can thoroughly listen and collaborate with the client, you probably have what it takes to be a ghostwriter.
9. Advertising Copywriter
Are you more cut out for writing marketing and advertising material? Have a persuasive voice and know how to get the people talking? Perhaps you should be looking into copywriting.
Copywriters usually write fewer words than the average writer; however, the effort that goes into their work is crucial. Copywriters are experts in establishing brand awareness and encouraging sales with the written word. They may write advertising or marketing copy for emails, advertisements, landing pages, brochures or billboards.
Biographers spend their careers chronicling the lives of other people. If you have a way with words and people, then writing biographies is an obvious career choice. Be a keen listener, get ready to research and investigate and fully dive yourself into someone else’s story.
The majority of biographers are self-employed and work from home, but as good as that sounds, it’s still a very tough industry to break into and stand out in. With a degree in either English, journalism or history, as well as a quality portfolio of work experience (eg: blogging, contributing to newspapers or interviewing!), you can start fighting to get your name out there. This can be through self-publishing, approaching a publishing house or having your talent noticed by book companies.
If you’re proficient in persuasive, powerful and compelling writing, you might want to look into speechwriting.
Speechwriters usually have a degree in journalism, communications or political science, as well as the ability to research thoroughly, be well-versed in public and media relations and work in high-pressure environments.
Being a speechwriter not only means working for politicians or business executives, though; you might also write engaging speeches for celebrities, companies or even weddings!
The great thing about being a writer is having the opportunity to work across several different fields – including editing.
Those who have experience in writing often have the skill to become an editor. This involves checking the spelling, grammar, facts and overall flow of a text to ensure that it is readable, comprehensible and written according to editorial guidelines.
With a degree in English or journalism and a background in writing, a job in editing isn’t far from reach. Whether you edit for a magazine, website or book, a job in editing pays well, especially if you’re promoted to chief editor.
From screenwriting to editing, there’s clearly an abundance of writing career types to choose from throughout your professional life. It’s safe to say a writer’s life never gets boring, especially if you mix it around a little!
What other careers in writing come to mind? Are there any that we missed out? Let us know in the comments below!
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