I know many people who grow thinking of becoming a writer. I, myself, had dreams of making a living a as a serious writer. To this day, I have yet to finish one of the novels that I’ve started. Half-way through, I wasn’t quite happy with what I’ve written. I always wanted to write something creative and profound; something that no one could think of before. I haven’t quite reached that point yet.
One thing I am quite good at writing is telling other people information on how to make choices for living their own lives. “So You Think You’re Cut Out To Be” is a new series of articles giving insight into different occupations to give the reader a better look into their dream job. I decided to use the first article of the series to write about an occupation that is close to my heart, writing or dealing with the written word.
Writers come in many different flavors these days. With the internet, the written word went from the paper to the computer screen. Blogging, online news media, e-zines, and e-books just a few venues for writers to fit into these days. The internet has made it easier to become a published and paid writer.
Even though the internet is making new opportunities, it hasn’t seemed to completely replace works in print. Books, magazines, advertisements, newspapers, motion pictures, and trade journals are just a few of the ways that writers contribute to our society. There are also something called Technical Writers, which I will cover in my next article.
For the sake of this article, we will first cover two category of writers; fiction and non-fiction. Fiction writers use creativity to create stories, poetry, lyrics, screenplays, plays and more that paints stories through publication or performance. Some are commissioned beforehand (a writer hired by a sponsored to create a certain piece of work on a certain topic or subject) and some are sold after the work has been completed (a writer following their own vision and selling the completed product).
Non-fiction writers’ basic job duty is to research. Their credibility as a writer is based on their ability to collect data and present it in a logical and analogically manner. Ethics are strong point as accuracy and relying on outside sources are essential. Non-fiction writers can be found in newspapers, magazines, and experts in their fields writing instructional manuscripts. Biographies and autobiographies fit in the category of non-fiction. You can clearly see why attention to the details is extremely important with writing non-fiction.
Bloggers are a new breed of writers. Blogging can fit into fiction and non-fiction depending on the blogger and the main function of their blogs. Most blogs are personal accounts or a form of online journals. Other bloggers give their spin on current events, entertainment, reviews, and details about their individual fields. With advertising and pay-per-post opportunities, it is possible for bloggers to make money publishing their work.
For most paying jobs in writing, a college degree in English, communications, or journalism is required. There are certain times when other types of degrees are acceptable for writing positions. For example, a writer for a fashion magazine usually needs to have some knowledge and love for fashion. Some of the skills that are needed are creativity, attention to detail, perseverance, and the love of writing.
For some publications, prior experience or being already published is a necessity. This is why many writers start off as assistants to editors, copywriters, or fact checkers. The main focus is to get a foot inside the company and proving themselves from within.
Writers, like all artists, continue to improve their skills over the years. They observe the world around them, drawing in as much information as they can. So, in reality, a writer is always being educated.
Most writers are self-employed and work as freelancers. Salaried jobs are usually held at newspapers, radio, television networks, magazines, motion picture industry, software companies, Internet publishing, computer manufacturers, government agencies, businesses, religious organizations, and charity organizations. Salaried jobs in major book publishers and magazines are either located in or travel frequently to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
A writer’s salary can be as high as their book sales. J.K. Rowling made over 100 million dollars from her Harry Potter books and is estimated to reach well into the billions in future earnings. There is no secret that there is great money to be made from writing, but not every has the type of success that J.K. Rowling has had. A typical salaried writer makes anywhere from $23,330 to $91,260, based on the Occupational Handbook.
With new technologies and opportunities popping up all the time, the amount of people partially living their dreams of becoming a writer is on a rise. The growth rate for salaried writers is about average with other occupations through the year 2014, based on a report from the Occupational Handbook. Although the growth rate is average, I see the opportunities for people to have online outlets for creative writing increasing in the next few years.