Careers in Writing

Writers develop content for various types of media, including advertisements, blogs, books, magazines, movies, plays, and television scripts.

Writers typically do the following

  • Choose subjects that interests readers
  • Write fiction or nonfiction scripts, biographies, and other formats
  • Conduct research to get factual information and authentic detail
  • Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
  • Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
  • Work with editors and clients to shape material for publishing

Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through clean prose, strong research, and the use of sources and citations. Writers select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the clearest language and phrasing.

Some writers are self-employed or freelancers. They sell their written content to book and magazine publishers, news organizations, advertising agencies, and movie, theater, and television producers. They may be hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.

A number of writers produce material that is published only online, such as for digital news organizations or blogs.

The following are examples of types of writing jobs

  • Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately describe important life events.
  • Bloggers write posts to a Web log (blog) that may pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.
  • Content writers write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.
  • Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as an advertising slogan.
  • Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.
  • Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.
  • Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or adapt a book into a movie or television script.
  • Speechwriters compose orations for business leaders, politicians, and others who must speak in front of an audience. Because speeches are often delivered live, speechwriters must think about audience reaction and rhetorical effect.