What does a Writer do?

Median Pay $61,820
Growth Rate 8%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

You may think of someone who writes novels when thinking of people who write for a profession. However there are many ways to make a living as a writer. A writer may write content for blogs, websites, post articles online, journals, or even write scripts for movies. Writers do extensive research to provide authentic details in their writing. Writers can work from pretty much anywhere and many work as freelance or are self-employed. Writers sometimes even self-publish their own books and create their own blogs.

How to Become a Writer

writer author

Writers typically have a bachelor’s degree in English, communications, or journalism. If a writer is working for a company who publishes their writing online they may also need experience adding content to a website. Therefore basic web design and programming may be beneficial to study as well. It may also be valuable to have the ability to create a visual story so the content is appealing on all types of devices like computers, tablets, and smart phones.

Those interested in this career field can gain experience as a writer by working for their high school or college newspapers, television stations, radio stations, non-profit organizations, or publishing companies. Many newspaper or magazines offer internships for students. You may also gain experience writing for blogs as a guest author.

Job Description of a Writer and Author

A writer will typically begin by choosing a subject matter that is interesting to readers or a topic that is assigned by an employer or client. Next, a writer will need to start research on the topic in order to add value to readers and factual information. Once the content is written, they present drafts of their work to clients or editors for feedback and they may need to revise or rewrite sections of their work upon a client or employers review.

Writers must have the ability to establish credibility with their clients, editors and readers through the use of strong research, the use of appropriate sources, and using citations when necessary. Writers can also be called authors, bloggers, copy writers, biographers, novelist, song or play writers, screen writers, and journalists. All of these individuals are writing content for a targeted audience. Many people are attracted to this profession therefore it will be competitive. Those with online and technology skills and training will have an edge compared to other applicants seeking employment due to the increasing online market.

Technical Writer-Editor Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Bureau of Land Management. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Serves as the office specialist on the whole publishing process, addressing the audiences and objectives to assist the project manager in determining the content and the best medium and treatment to effectively convey the message.
  • Participates on project teams to plan how best to ensure that information is communicated clearly, accurately, efficiently, and within budget.
  • Creates draft writings for project manager review and management approval on a wide range of topics, which may consist of paragraphs, sections, or entire documents that are stand-alone or combined with material from other authors.
  • Edits other authors’ draft material at multiple levels, from simple to substantial content edits before material is presented to the project lead and manager.
  • Assists project manager on high-complexity projects. Leads mid-complexity projects and assists several projects and work products at once, through all phases, including the planning and execution and distribution of the final product.
  • Works with the project manager to reconcile opposing viewpoints, resolve contradictory information and conflicts with other programs or publications, and provide a balanced treatment of controversial issues, as necessary.

This position was posted to run 12/21/2018 until 01/11/2019 with a salary range of $50,598 to $65,778 per year on USAjobs.gov. USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Teacher and Student Resources

EdX.org has many free courses on writing from some of the best universities in the world. Some topics you’ll find to freely explore include writing for business, academics, and even writing for social media or to complete a novel.

If you are a high school student and need to prepare for the SAT, Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization that also offers free SAT prep videos.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Writers and Authors.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-3043.00. O*NET OnLine.