Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media including advertisements; blogs; books; magazines; and movie, play, and television scripts. This career is a great job match for INFJ and INFP personality types. If you have artistic career interests, but do not want to be the star of the show, writing is categorized as an artistic profession.
As a writer, you have the opportunity to express ideas, be creative and make connections with people in a meaningful way. If you are not sure about a career as a writer, here are the basic job facts.
Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer. Many writers and authors are self-employed.
How to Become a Writer or Author
A college degree in English, communications, or journalism is generally required for a full-time position as a writer or author. Experience gained through internships or any writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial.
The median annual wage for writers and authors was $63,200 in May 2019.
Employment of writers and authors is projected to decline 2 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Writer Job Duties
- Choose subjects that interests readers
- Write fiction or nonfiction scripts, biographies, and other formats
- Conduct research to get factual information and authentic detail
- Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
- Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
- Work with editors and clients to shape material for publishing
Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through clean prose, strong research, and the use of sources and citations.
Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the clearest language and phrasing.
Some writers and authors are self-employed or freelancers.
They sell their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers.
They may be hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.
A number of writers produce material that is published only online, such as for digital news organizations or blogs.
The following are examples of types of writers and authors:
Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately describe important life events.
Bloggers write posts to a Web log (blog) that may pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.
Content writers write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.
Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as an advertising slogan.
Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.
Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.
Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or adapt a book into a movie or television script.
Speechwriters compose orations for business leaders, politicians, and others who must speak in front of an audience. Because speeches are often delivered live, speechwriters must think about audience reaction and rhetorical effect.
Writers and authors held about 131,200 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of writers and authors were as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||10|
|Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries||3|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||3|
Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer.
Jobs are somewhat concentrated in major media and entertainment markets—California, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC—but improved communications and Internet capabilities allow writers and authors to work from almost anywhere.
Some writers and authors prefer to work and travel to meet with publishers and clients and to do research or conduct interviews in person.
Some writers and authors work part time. Most keep regular office hours, either to stay in contact with sources and editors or to set up a writing routine, but many set their own hours. Others may need to work evenings and weekends to produce something acceptable for an editor or client. Self-employed or freelance writers and authors may face the pressures of juggling multiple projects or continually looking for new work.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of writers and authors.
Announcers present music, news, and sports and may provide commentary or interview guests.
Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.
Public relations managers direct the creation of materials that will enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.
Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.
Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events.
Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.
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Job description provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook Writers and Authors.