Some of the most successful professionals are those who developed careers out of their passions and hobbies. There are many career paths you can pursue from passion. One of these careers is writing. Professional writers earn a lot of money depending on the nature of the writing they do. As a career, writing offers many opportunities. It involves the entire creation and publication process, implying that you can grow your passion for writing into a career and earn either as a publisher, author, or any other professional within the writing field.
Like other professions, writing takes time before you can start earning from it. However, not every professional in the writing field goes through the same process. More talented writers could take a shorter time in school before perfecting their craft. Additionally, the nature of writing you get involved in affects how long it takes to be a recognized professional writer.
There are many forms of writing, broadly classified into fictional and non-fictional writing. Fictional writing is where you create stories and events that are purely out of imagination. Non-fictional writing, on the other hand, involves writing about facts and relatable events. Each category of writing provides different career opportunities. However, some opportunities cut across all forms of writing, such as freelance writing.
For a better understanding of writing as a career, we look at the following in this article:
- Skills a writer should have
- Educational paths for writers
- How to launch a writing career
- Job opportunities for writers
Skills A Writer Should Have
Writing is one of the most competitive professions. You need a certain skill set to rise through the ranks as a professional writer and remain relevant. Some of these skills are taught at school, while others develop as you gain experience in the field. Some of the essential skills you need for a successful writing career include:
- Content Marketing
Written material is a product you create as a writer and needs to be sold to generate money. Content marketing is a critical skill you need to get your content sold to people. This skill is important at the beginning of your career since you might not have many readers. The main aim of content marketing is to create a network of potential buyers for your content. Content marketing is taught in a writing training program; however, you perfect it as you gain experience in the writing profession. As a beginner writer, you will need to market your content by yourself to cut down on costs. As you grow through the writing career, you can employ marketing firms to market the content for you. This allows you more time to create content. A skill that accompanies content marketing is efficient communication. You must clearly outline to potential buyers what the content is about and why they should read it. You are likely to receive negative feedback if the content is miscommunicated to the buyers.
- Organizational Skills
To be a successful writer, you must be organized. There are arguments about creative writers being free of organization. This is the main reason why some writers with potential never achieve the best out of their writing. Organizational skills allow you to create content that is easy to understand. The faster your content is understood, the more it attracts readers and buyers. Writing forms such as technical writing require precision and proper presentation. You need organizational skills to prepare written presentations in a way that makes sense. Organizational skills are taught in writer’s training programs. However, you can naturally develop the skill as you gain experience in the writing profession. In cases where organization is difficult, you can employ a third party to organize it for you. However, this is an extra cost that could make publication too expensive. You should perfect organizational skills to ensure your intended message reaches the targeted audience.
- Adaptability Skills
The ultimate goal of many professional writers is to remain relevant for as long as they can. To achieve that, you need proper adaptability skills. Adaptability helps you remain relevant in changing environments. This could be through shifting the content to match the current lifestyles or delivering classic content. At the beginning of your writing career, you are likely to encounter several challenges. Adaptability helps you cope with such challenges and avoid some when need be. Additionally, you might try creating different genres to find one that suits you best. You need to be adaptable to create quality content, whether fictional or non-fictional. Adaptability is a key component of diversity. Therefore, you need it to increase your chances of earning as a professional writer. The ability to blend all forms of writing, fictional and non-fictional, guarantees you earnings from a broader targeted audience.
- Research Skills
The foundation of successful writing careers is quality content. There are many writers around the world competing for the same market. This implies that you might struggle to make a living out of writing if your content is not top-tier. One of the ways to develop quality content is through research. There are many subjects that you can write about depending on your target market. Since some readers could be well informed on such topics, you must deliver quality writing with accurate information to avoid negative reviews. Research skills are essential for non-fictional writing. This form of writing requires you to outline facts about certain matters. Research could be hard at the beginning of your career. However, your research skills get sharper as you advance in your career; you get more exposed to new tasks and content sources. As an experienced writer, you will have to research for facts to deliver relatable content. Fictional content also requires research; setting fictional events in certain environments and cultures requires you to be knowledgeable about the factors involved. For instance, fictional stories about people in certain regions should be related to the characteristics of the region they are set in.
Educational Paths for Writers
Education is a basic requirement for every career. However, some forms of writing don’t require educational qualifications, especially if you want to practice as a freelancer. Many successful writers are not considered professional. This is because they did not attend any formal educational programs to become writers. Such include individuals that write non-fictional stories and biographies about themselves. However, if you intend to work for an employer as a writer, you might need certain minimum requirements, such as a bachelor’s degree. Employment opportunities such as journalism require you to go to school and study to be a writer. Here is a typical educational path you might follow to become a writer.
- Obtain A High School Diploma
You can become a writer right after your high school studies. However, you might not be considered a professional since you don’t have the credentials to show for it. High school education is the basic requirement for enrolling in any career, including writing. At the high school level, you learn the basics of writing. These include mastery of the language in which you want to write. You can specialize in Spanish to become a Spanish writer. There are many writing job opportunities you can get with a high school education. These include translating and transcribing jobs. At this level, you need to major in writing-related subjects, that is, languages and creative writing. Creative writing could be assessed through essays and compositions.
- Obtain an Undergraduate Certificate or Degree
An undergraduate degree or certificate is the minimum educational requirement for most employers. As a writer, you must have one of these to be employed by any organization. You enroll in an undergraduate training program right after high school. However, some people in undergraduate programs are holders of other undergraduate certifications. In most cases, such people either wish to add an extra skill or divert from their initial careers. The undergraduate program you choose has a significant impact on your career as a professional writer. For this reason, you must pay close attention to your passion and abilities when selecting an undergraduate program. If you intend to venture into fictional writing, you must find programs that contribute to your development as a fictional writer. Common undergraduate qualifications needed for writers include;
- Certificate in writing- Certificates in the writing profession are obtained after short courses on different writing aspects. In most cases, they are focused on specific areas of writing. These could be areas affecting fictional writers. A certificate is an indication that you know certain matters that concern writing.
- Associate degree in writing- An associate degree is one of the important qualifications you need to be a recognized writer. It is obtained from writing trade schools and varies depending on the nature of writing you major in. To obtain an associate degree in writing, you must accomplish at least two years of training with between sixty and sixty-six credit hours. You can obtain an associate degree in languages or writing styles. Other skills such as content marketing and communication are also taught in trade schools.
- Bachelor’s degree in writing- A bachelor’s degree is the highest undergraduate educational qualification you can obtain as a writer. It is obtained from accredited universities or colleges and covers a broader area of writing than certificates and associate degrees. The skills you attain in a bachelor’s degree program could place you in more than one career within the writing field. You cover areas such as languages and literature depending on the institution you enroll in. The duration of a bachelor’s degree program depends on several factors. However, most institutions take up to four years.
- Master’s degree and PhD
These are higher levels of educational qualifications for writers. They involve specializing in certain aspects of writing. In the writing career, master’s and Ph.D. levels are optional educational qualifications. Most professional writers enroll in higher learning programs after several years of practice. The writing experience allows you to collect views and prepare research topics for the masters or Ph.D. programs. There are various subjects you can specialize in during your master’s or Ph.D. program. These include literacy studies and composition. If you are into technical writing, you can have a master’s degree in research methodologies.
The above-mentioned indicate typical educational steps you can take to become a writer. The duration you might take to complete the educational path to a writing career depends on various aspects. Some of these aspects are controlled by the institutions you go through. In most cases, how long you take in school depends on your choices. Some programs take longer than others; this implies that you might need careful consideration to select one that best fits your goals. Some aspects that affect how long you take to become a professional writer include:
- Writer’s training programs you enroll in– As stated earlier, writing is a broad field with several career paths. The subjects you choose to major in during a writing course determine how long you take in school. Additionally, training institutions offer different modes of studies to students a writing program. Some programs, such as part-time studies, take longer to complete since little content is covered at a time. The level of education you enroll in an institution also determines how long you take to become a writer. Different levels require different times to complete. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in writing could take more years than an associate degree.
- Personal aspects– Various aspects about you determine how long you stay in school. Factors such as financial status directly impact your choice of program hence the duration of your studies. If you have other commitments, you might be forced to enroll in a part-time program. Consequently, you are likely to take long in school as what you cover over a certain period is little compared to full-time studies. If you are taking a master’s or Ph.D. in a writing program, the time you take to complete it depends on the research topic you choose. Some research involves a lot of work that needs more time for preparation, presentation, and assessment.
Although it is the most common, formal education is not the only way to become a writer. You can become a seasoned writer through apprenticeship programs. This is where you work under a seasoned writer and get to learn from their craftsmanship.
How To Launch A Writing Career
How successful and comfortable your writing career depends on how you start it. There are many factors to consider when starting a writing career for success. Mastering how to launch your writing career sets a good foundation for what might come later on in life. Here are some essential things to do when starting your career as a writer.
- Understand Your Targeted Audience
Your targeted audience is the direct market for your content. Before launching your writing career, you must have an adequate understanding of your audience. This helps you prepare content to suit their reading needs. Understanding what your content needs gives you a scope within which your content creation should range. Factors about the target audience that you need to know include age, educational level, and cultural reservations. You need to understand the impact of the changing world on your target audience. This allows you to create content that is relatable to their current circumstances. Adapting to changes in taste among your audience sustains your career over a long period. General content is one of the easiest ways to start your career as you get more readers. However, you need to tune your content to a certain niche to have your share of the content market. Having a specific subject to write on makes you more authentic as a writer.
- Work on Your Content Quality
It is normal as a writer to receive very few readers and feedback on your first publication. However, this should not stop you from working on your content. One of the biggest selling points of the written material is the quality of the content therein. One of the ways to improve quality is by consistent writing and reading other writers’ works. Reading works by different authors allows you to learn various ways of expressing ideas through writing. Additionally, it boosts your mastery of grammar in the language you write in. Writing out of passion is another way to ensure you deliver quality content. This is one of the main reasons why you should be specific on content. Passionate writing is likely to attract more readers as you grow through your career. Researching ensures your content is valid and adequate. Therefore, you become a trusted source of information by your readers. The trust you build in readers through your content helps you retain a constant market base.
- Market Your Content
You might not have as many readers at the beginning of your writing career. This implies that you need to market your content to potential readers. There are many ways of marketing written content. However, the most convenient one is where young writers approach potential buyers themselves. Thanks to technological advancements, content marketing channels are many. You can market your content through social media platforms and websites. When advertising through social media and websites, you need to be consistent with your publishing routine. Consistency helps retain readers on your platforms. Additionally, if the content is good, you will receive positive feedback and shares by your readers on the internet. Alternatively, you can market your content through marketing agencies. These are writers’ marketers who demand either a certain amount of money upfront or a percentage of the sales they generate.
- Network with Other Writers
Networking is essential in career growth in all professions. As an aspiring writer, you should network with different stakeholders in the writing industry. These include fellow writers, publishers, and marketers. Networking allows you to create meaningful relationships for your career as a writer. It can be done through various forms; the most common one currently is the internet. Other networking opportunities include workshops held by writing-related organizations. Networking provides the initial market for your content; you might get collaborative projects to work on, which boosts your writing portfolio. New readers are drawn to your wrong works when you collaborate with renowned writers on projects.
Job Opportunities for Writers
As stated earlier, writing is one of the fields with many employment opportunities. There are jobs in the writing industry that require you to be a writer first, while others accept people with no writing history. These job opportunities depend on your level of education and the subjects you major in during your training programs. Having good writing skills allows you to work as a freelance writer; this where you do not have formal employment but work for clients only when needed. Although casual employment jobs pay just as much as formal jobs, job security is not guaranteed. Additionally, you need adequate experience to be trusted as an independent or freelance writer. Some of the formal employment opportunities for writers include:
- Editing- Editors are some of the essential people in writing. The main role of an editor is going through written material and eliminating errors made by the author before publishing. However, the editor is not allowed to change what the writer has expressed in the content. To achieve this, you need technical skills and mastery of the language in which the content is written. Most of the editors go to school to learn about editing. However, you can become an editor after attaining several years of experience as a writer. Editors work in various places, the common ones being in publishing firms and media houses. You can also work as a freelance editor; writers with editing needs approach you for assistance.
- Journalism- Journalism is one of the most lucrative careers in the modern where people are interested in sharing information. This career provides a wide range of opportunities for writers of various forms. News events require to be reported compellingly. For this reason, many media houses sought seasoned writers to be writing reports published in the dailies or read during news broadcasts. Additionally, you can be employed as a technical writer to work for a media house. Your main role in such cases will be writing technical and informative pieces for publication.
- Creative writing opportunities- creative writers are highly demanded in the entertainment industry. They get involved in tasks such as writing scripts for movies, comics, and games. As a creative writer, you could be employed by a production company to help generate new scripts or correct the already written ones. As a creative writer, you can create novels or comic books for sale. You can also be a consultant for writers that want to publish their works but have no professional experience in writing.
There are many job opportunities for writers around the world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for writers will continuously increase as the need for information and entertainment rises. Perfecting your skills through short courses and workshops makes you more marketable, thus creating more employment opportunities. Additionally, being a registered writer by a writers’ professional body improves your authenticity and marketability. There are several writers’ organizations you can register with. However, the most popular one is the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA). By registering with AGWA, you become a certified grant writer. The job of grant writers is to provide the necessary information needed by individuals or organizations to prepare grants.
Writing is a broad field with many career opportunities. One of the key elements of a successful writer is passion and the ability to market their content. Proper marketing ensures you get returns on capital invested in the publishing process. While starting your writing career, you should be consistent in delivering quality content. Quality content attracts positive reviews and feedback that could be a useful tool for marketing. Other skills you need to be a successful writer include adaptability and research skills. These allow you to find relevant content for your audience and remain relevant over a long time.
Although writing is considered an inborn talent, you need some formal education to achieve greater heights in your career as a professional writer. Formal education equips you with a mastery of the language you wish to write in. It also places you in a better position to market your content as you interact with other writers. Many writing-related job opportunities require formal education. Employers might require a minimum educational achievement of a bachelor’s degree depending on the nature of the job. However, creative writers don’t need stringent academic qualifications to work in certain institutions. Their main skill is creativity which doesn’t rely on formal education; instead, it grows with time as you gain work experience.
Networking is one of the basic skills you need for the success of your career. Other than marketing your content, it allows you to learn from other writers. Networking opportunities include workshops and fairs organized by writers’ organizations. You can also network through websites and social media platforms.