One of my favorite authors of this decade is J.K. Rowling. And what a story she has! She went from sketching a rough outline of a series of stories on a napkin to selling millions of books and having an entire portion of an amusement park dedicated to her characters and story. Grab a butterbeer while we delve into her career–and more generally, that of a writer.
Writing Career Guide Overview
- What a writer does
- A typical day for a writer
- Salary and career ladders for a writer
- Best locations for a writer
- Pros and cons to being a writer
- What you need to know to be a writer
- Things you should do to get started as a writer
What a Writer Does
A writer is a person who produces literature or nonfiction, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, essays, news articles, blog posts, or other literary art. In doing so, writers use language to portray ideas and images. There is a wide range of opportunities available to writers, everything from working at a local newspaper, to content development for websites and social media, to writing comedy for Jon Stewart, to penning your own book or blog on a topic you’re passionate about.
A Typical Day for a Writer
While a typical day for a writer generally revolves around writing, here are a few things you might devote time to:
- Researching: in person, on computer, etc.
- Emailing with your agent, employer, interviewees, and other writers
- Book signings
- Giving speeches
- Attending conferences
- Updating a Twitter or Facebook feed
- Crafting a blog post
Salary and Career Ladders for a Writer
A writer on average makes between $14,000-$97,000 yearly. You can switch into editing, taking on a Senior Editor gig ($39,000-$99,000 yearly) or work as an editor at a magazine ($27,000-$93,000). Or perhaps copywriting interests you (they make about $26,000-$76,000 yearly).
Best Lcations for a Writer
- New York, New York
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington D.C.
- San Francisco, California
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Atlanta, Georgia
Pros and Cons to Being a Writer
- Variety of projects
- Opportunity to work from home
- Creative thinking
- Tight deadlines and odd hours
- Low pay in most cases
- Not much team work
- Writer’s block!
What You Need to Know to be a Writer
While there are no definite requirements for being a writer, you’ll have a solid background if you’ve got a college degree (or even better an MFA) in writing, English, or journalism. You also might need to be well-versed in APA or Chicago style. Beyond that it’s most important that you do a lot of writing! Getting your work into a couple publications is always a good start. Maybe there’s a newspaper you could freelance for, or you could start your own blog.
Things you should do to get started as a writer
Required reading for a writer
Blogs and Websites
Networking opportunities for a writer
Job search resources for a writer
Careers Related to Writing
Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Writing
Check out the latest job and internship postings in writing.