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How to Start a Career as a Writer

A writing career can encompass
books, journalism, freelance work,
advertising, or writing for the web...

For those who find great enjoyment in writing, and who love to see their ideas and words come to life on the page, a career as a writer could be the perfect way to turn a writing hobby in to an enjoyable and maybe even lucrative career.

Writing, like many creative pursuits, is a career in which competition is high and job opportunities are often difficult to land. Self-motivation, focus and concentration, a natural love of writing - and pure stubbornness - are all that are needed if a potential writer is going to weather the rejection that many new writers face.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of information on writer's markets available for beginners to help increase their odds of receiving their first acceptance letter.

Even younger writers just starting out can take advantage of a variety of teen writing competitions that can open doors to a varied number of writing assignments available to talented young writers.

Writing careers

Writers typically fit into two broad categories, the first of which include authors and writers. These are the writers of fiction or nonfiction books, children's books, or writers of articles for newspapers or magazines, scripts, advertisements, or online publications. For these writers, a degree in English or journalism can certainly be useful in some cases, but generally it isn't necessary especially for freelance writing work.

The other kind of writer is the technical writer, typically responsible for product manuals, assembly instructions, or help documents for computer programs. For these types of jobs, especially when working directly with an engineer or software designer, it is often very helpful to have either a technology degree or a very good understanding of the subject matter at hand.

Writers may also find work as editors. Editors must have an extremely good eye for grammar and typographical errors, and often must work closely with production managers on the overall layout of a publication.

Writing jobs outlook

The job outlook for writers is good, with growth expected to be about average.

Writers who are looking to take advantage of areas of the industry that are growing more quickly should learn how to write for the Web, as this is one part of the industry growing especially fast.

The average earnings for salaried writers is just under $50,000 a year, and for technical writers it's about $58,000 a year. Editors earn an average of about $47,000 a year. Wages that freelance writers earn greatly depends upon their experience, rates, and the number of assignments they successfully pursue.

More about writing careers around the Web:

Careers in Writing - Comprehensive guide from Kennesaw State University with tips on education and training, writer's markets, interviews with professional writers, and resources to more information on how to write a query letter and related career advice.

Preditors & Editors - "A guide to publishers and writing services for serious writers!" with focus on the business of writing and book authoring, including insider tips and reviews of literary agents and publishers, how to's for managing a freelance career, and extensive lists of related resources.

Freelance - Tips, tricks and how to's for breaking into the freelance market with helpful feature stories, information on writer's markets and submission guidelines, writing competitions, and industry news.

The Elements of Style - The industry bible for writers and publishers, free online.


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