What are the Different Types of Writing Careers?

Lainie Petersen

Businesses, organizations, and individuals often need the services of skilled writers, providing numerous job opportunities. Writing careers vary in scope, usually corresponding to the type of writing demanded by an employer or client. Some common writing careers include copywriting, authoring books, and grant writing. TV writing, technical writing, and promotional or PR writing are also options in the writing field.

Print and online copywriters are in demand in some fields.
Print and online copywriters are in demand in some fields.

Not all writing careers require specific training or education, though many writers do have degrees in English, creative writing, or journalism. Newspaper and magazine writers, in particular, may be required by their employer to have a degree in journalism. Similarly, writers who specialize in marketing or public relations may hold degrees in business or communications.

Writing filler pieces for local newspapers is a great way for new writers to gain experience.
Writing filler pieces for local newspapers is a great way for new writers to gain experience.

Publishers and media outlets rely on both freelance writers and regular employees to write books, develop web content, and write magazine and newspaper articles. Entertainment media relies on writers to compose scripts for television shows and movies. Educational publishers may rely on writers who have some previous education or expertise within the subject matters on which they publish curriculum or textbooks. Within these organizations, writers may have room for advancement, eventually becoming project managers or editors.

Technical writers are often hired by manufacturing companies to write assembly instructions and operation manuals.
Technical writers are often hired by manufacturing companies to write assembly instructions and operation manuals.

Writing careers can be found in many businesses and organizations with a mission or business other than publishing. Many businesses rely on public relations professionals to provide them with press releases. Copywriters produce catalogs, brochures, as well as content for websites and advertising materials. Manufacturers also use technical writers to compose manuals for using electronics, computers, and software.

Some writing courses focus on business correspondence, such as form letters.
Some writing courses focus on business correspondence, such as form letters.

Grant writers are often, but not always, freelance writers. They prepare grant applications for individuals and organizations in hopes of persuading a grant committee to award the grant to their client. Grant writers may be paid per project, or they may work on a contingency basis, taking a percentage of any grant awarded. Resume writers are likewise often freelance writers who specialize in preparing quality resumes and cover letters to help job hunters find work.

A degree in journalism can help an individual become a medical writer.
A degree in journalism can help an individual become a medical writer.

Blogging is an emerging writing career distinguished by the fact that blog writers, or bloggers, do not require the services or even an outside publisher to publish their work on the Internet. Bloggers can gain recognition on the basis of their ability to achieve high ranking in search engines as well as by their good, informative writing. In addition, bloggers can earn money from advertising and affiliate program sales. While many bloggers see their writing as a hobby, others have turned their blogging into a source of revenue and have, in some cases, launched their writing careers as a result.

Writing careers can often be found in sectors outside of publishing.
Writing careers can often be found in sectors outside of publishing.
Some writers also work as copy editors.
Some writers also work as copy editors.
Freelancing often allows writers to work from home.
Freelancing often allows writers to work from home.

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Discussion Comments

browncoat

I've always wanted to have a creative writing career but I'm not sure that it's ever going to truly happen now. It's just so difficult to make a living off of writing creatively, probably because quite a few people want to do the same thing and there's only so much of a market for fiction and poems.

But I've been trying to think of it the same way my friends think of playing sport. It's something vital to their lives and something they spend a lot of time on for no monetary recompense. They will probably never make a living off playing sport (although they could make a living on the sideline as a coach or something like that) but they enjoy it and they have no intention of stopping.

That's how I feel about writing, I guess. I want to improve, but for my own sake, not because it will one day lead to me being paid for my work.

Ana1234

@KoiwiGal - It's actually surprising how few people really are able to write clearly. You have to have good grammar, good spelling, good speed, and clarity of thought, as well as knowing something about whatever it is that they will want you to write about.

I've had a few writing jobs over the internet and I have friends with technical writing careers and they are all very different and all require slightly different skills, but the core requirements are what I've just said, as well as flexibility. If you want to pursue writing as a career you have to be prepared to work hard and keep an open mind so that you're always trying to approach subjects at a unique angle.

KoiwiGal

What most writing careers have in common is that they require you to really be proactive and self aware of your talents in order to get them. A lot of them are advertised without a specific person in mind. They just want someone who can write in clear English and that applies to a lot of people.

Being able to talk about your strengths without a degree to point to is something that can get you freelance jobs in this area.

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