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A degree in creative writing allows you to develop your writing, research and creative thinking skills. You'll also gain skills that are useful in a range of other careers such as publishing, marketing, PR and teaching
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Advertising copywriter
- Arts administrator
- Creative director
- Digital copywriter
- Editorial assistant
- Higher education lecturer
- Magazine journalist
- Newspaper journalist
- Publishing copy-editor/proofreader
- Talent agent
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Academic librarian
- Digital marketer
- Film director
- Marketing executive
- Primary school teacher
- Public librarian
- Public relations officer
- Social media manager
- Web content manager
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Building a portfolio of written work, especially any that you've had published, will help to evidence your writing skills and establish your reputation as a writer.
You can gain valuable experience by writing for your student newspaper or magazine, volunteering in schools, or getting involved with writers' groups. Also, try submitting work to journals or anthologies, entering competitions, performing at spoken word events or approaching local drama groups to see if they will use your scripts. This will boost your profile and help build your confidence.
To make yourself more employable, look for opportunities to gain some solid work experience. This could be in the form of paid administrative work for a company or volunteering, perhaps with a local charity helping them to promote the work they do.
You could also write speculatively to a number of businesses, including publishing houses and marketing firms, to ask if you could complete some short-term work experience or shadowing. This can have the advantage of getting you a foot in the door in a highly-competitive industry and could lead to a permanent position.
As well as creative talent and writing experience, you will also need perseverance and determination to succeed as a writer.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships .
As a creative writing graduate you may work to establish yourself as a writer on a self-employed basis, either writing your own works, or writing for others in a freelance capacity.
Alternatively, you could find opportunities with a variety of employers, including:
- publishing houses or editorial/technical writing service companies
- advertising, marketing and public relations agencies, particularly in a copywriting capacity
- primary, secondary, further and higher education institutions
- media organisations and social media companies
- general businesses - in an administrative or general management position
- Civil Service, library or charitable organisations.
Find information on employers in marketing, advertising and PR , media and internet , teacher training and education , and other job sectors .
As a creative writing graduate you can develop your creative writing skills further by undertaking further study at Masters or PhD level. You can also specialise in an area such as screenwriting, the graphic novel, writing for young people, writing poetry, or writing and producing comedy.
Alternatively, you may want to undertake further vocational training in areas such as teaching, journalism, librarianship or publishing. Vocational courses allow you to study in an area in which you would like to have a career.
You may also want to consider further study in areas such as PR, marketing or advertising.
For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in creative writing .
What do creative writing graduates do?
One in ten (10%) creative writing graduates who are in employment in the UK are working in artistic, literary and media occupations, while 11% are working as sales, marketing and related associate professionals, 6% are teaching professionals and 5% are media professionals.
Find out what other creative writing graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
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NSU is where success begins. Here professors know their subjects and how to get you ready for a career after you graduate. We empower individuals to become socially responsible global citizens by creating and sustaining a culture of learning and discovery.
What Can I Do With A Major In Creative Writing?
Creative writing, career opportunities.
- Greeting Card Writer
- Reviewer (books, products, etc.)
- Writing Coach/Consultant
- Advertising/Marketing (creative)
- Travel Writer
- Article Writer
- Video Game Writer
- Personal Poet
- Technical Writer
- Website Content Writer
- Speech Writer
- Public Relations
- Grant Writer
- Creative Writing, B.A.
Connect with NSU Career Services
Have you always wanted to pursue a career as a writer? Do you love literature and feel that this is the direction you wish to take after university? Majoring in Creative Writing at York allows you to explore unending possibilities as you develop knowledge of different genres and approaches to writing by contemporary and past authors. You will have access to accomplished professors and exposure to a variety of opportunities to improve your writing abilities and gain a good understanding of the profession and opportunities in your field of interest before graduation.
Career Options in Creative Writing
Skills developed through a creative writing degree, professional associations and organizations.
Below is a sample list of some future choices to explore following studies in Creative Writing. This list is not exhaustive but it provides a solid idea of what fellow graduates have gone on to do and what potential careers a Creative Writing degree can offer. Some options are more directly associated with specific areas of Creative Writing than others.
- Children’s Writer
- Communications Consultant
- Cultural Consultant
- Event Planner
- Fundraising Coordinator
- Human Resources Specialist
- International Aid Director
- International Development Worker
- Legal Aid Representative
- Literary Editor
- Magazine Contributor
- Marketing Director
- Media Correspondent
- Non-Profit Organization Director
- Public Relations Representative
- Social Program Director
- Speech Coach
- Speech Writer
- Travel Magazine Editor
- UN Representative
Some of these career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential education or professional formative courses and exams. For a more in-depth description of some of the careers mentioned above visit Career Cruising (login information can be found on the home page of the Career Centre's online system ) or the National Occupational Classification website.
A background in Creative Writing ensures that you develop the skills and mindset to tackle many different professional challenges. Here are just a few of the skills a Creative Writing degree can help you develop:
Core Creative Writing Skills
- Familiarity with contemporary and classic literary works and analysis of different styles of writing.
- An ability to understand and mould language with great ease to fit your needs as a writer.
- A capability to experiment with different forms of writing to get your message across.
- Through exposure to various works and methods you will develop your own style, discover what sort of writing most compels you and gain confidence in your writing.
Communication, Data Gathering and Organizational Skills
- The ability to present your thoughts clearly and intelligently in written statements and written opinion pieces
- The ability to learn new information and apply this to professional demands
- The capacity to critically analyze problems, think creatively and make sound decisions while considering different sides of an argument
- The ability to explain complex ideas clearly to others and to apply complex theoretical concepts to everyday practice and professional dilemmas
- The skills to collect various types of information, assess them, analyze and incorporate potential linkages from different fields, put them into writing and efficiently convey your message and the goal of your work
Management and Teamwork
- The ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and efficiently and constructively support or challenge their proposals, theories, ideas and reports in order to achieve a project’s intended and successful end result
- The capacity to lead and interact with a variety of people with different approaches and personal and professional backgrounds
- The ability to debate, persuade, mediate and present your thoughts and opinions to others, as well as the capacity to recognize and incorporate other potential solutions or applications to given problems
- The capability to identify priorities and proper courses of action, to plan the execution of tasks and to determine and delegate responsibilities to group members to most effectively carry out projects
Knowing the industry and how to excel in it after receiving a degree are key elements of future success. University study sets up the building blocks you will need to develop and enhance your understanding and knowledge in your career. Being part of a professional organization or network and gaining further insight through training are excellent ways of increasing your knowledge of the field. The following is a selection of organizations related to the field of Creative Writing that you may want to visit as you research career options for Creative Writing graduates.
- Professional Writers’ Association of Canada
- Canadian Author’s Association
- The Writer’s Union of Canada
- Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP)
- York University Creative Writing Website
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Jobs with a Bachelor's in Creative Writing
Creative writing is at its heart about storytelling. Whether you are writing a fiction novel, creating a marketing campaign or educating the next generation, a bachelor’s in creative writing can help you find success in a variety of career fields. As you consider how you want to use your writing skills to further your career goals, know that you can find the right fit for you, just as countless others have, through earning a degree in creative writing.
What Is Creative Writing?
Creative writing takes on many forms. However, the focus of most creative writing bachelor’s programs – including the program at UM – will fall into three categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
A bachelor’s in creative writing can encompass just one or a mix of these categories. The purpose of creative writing as a bachelor’s is to increase your understanding of the fundamentals of good storytelling, to learn about the existing literature, both classic and modern, and to apply the techniques used in that literature to create compelling and interesting stories of your own.
A career in creative writing will require strong writing skills; editing, attention to detail, and the ability to recognize and create provocative language and ideas. With a BFA in creative writing, you will be equipped to make readers want to take action, not just give your topic a look and then forget about it. At the University of Montana, you will be in good company as you pursue your creative writing bachelor’s, with professors and alumni who have won numerous awards in the field of creative writing.
Creative Writing vs. English Literature
While studying for your bachelor’s in creative writing you will study a lot of English literature, but the two fields are distinct. A bachelor’s in creative writing has a stronger focus on the practical side of literature, teaching those who pursue the degree how to create original works as well as how to recognize quality in the written word.
Where English literature has a broad-strokes approach to understanding the written word and the impact it has had on society, the bachelor’s in creative writing provides deeper context on how those works came to be so impactful, and provides a link to the heartbeat of society through that context.
Where a degree in English literature may be helpful for pursuing a career in education, a bachelor’s in creative writing can be helpful in a broader scope. The gaming industry seeks out creative writers for story development on AAA video game titles. The film industry looks for creative writing graduates, as well. Publishing houses and marketing firms also look for those with a degree in creative writing.
Why Choose a Career in Creative Writing?
When you have been part of the development of a new brand in marketing, a new intellectual property in film or television or have done your part to educate the next generation of creative writers, you will know the fulfillment that comes with a bachelor’s in creative writing.
Just as the name implies, there is a great deal of creative freedom that comes with a creative writing BFA. You will be prepared to work in the arts, in marketing, education and more.
Careers in Creative Writing offer flexibility
There is so much that you can do with a bachelor’s in creative writing. The world is ready for more creative, groundbreaking leaders in education, media and the art of storytelling. In addition to offering a broad array of career paths to pursue, creative writing jobs also offer the flexibility to work remotely.
Jobs with a Creative Writing Bachelor’s offer diverse options
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing is listed as a requirement for many careers in film, television, digital media, video games, education, marketing, and even politics as a speech and campaign writer. The possibilities are open to you, no matter your interests.
What Can You Do with a Creative Writing Bachelor’s?
The most common careers for those with a bachelor’s in creative writing are in the fields of marketing and advertising, publishing, higher education, and visual and written media. High profile companies like Sony, Disney and Random House all frequently have positions available in their employ which list a bachelor’s in creative writing as a prerequisite
As you pursue a career with your BFA in creative writing, the technical and artistic skills you have learned as a student at UM will become invaluable, setting you a cut above those with just experience in the field.
The choice to achieve your own bachelor’s in creative writing ultimately comes down to how you want to use it. If the arts are your desire, visual, written and digital media are there for you. If you are more interested in the printed word, marketing and publishing houses are there, too.
A List of Careers for a Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree
There are many career paths available for you if you get a creative writing bachelor’s, as you’ve already seen. They span academic careers as well as the arts industry.
- Literary Agent
- Video Game Story Writer
- Social Media Manager
- Marketing Copywriter
- Website Developer
A list of careers for a Creative Writing Master’s degree
If you desire to take your education further, you can be assured that your prospects for a career increase as well. A creative writing master’s degree opens up additional doors, with a greater expansion into the field of academia.
- Literary Historian
- Marketing Management
- Grant Writing
- Public Relations
A list of careers for a Creative Writing Doctoral degree
Pursuing a Ph.D. in creative writing provides an incredible amount of prestige. It is a great undertaking, and will set you apart from every other person with a creative writing degree as less than 2% of the US population have a Ph.D. The career fields which are specifically open to those with a doctorate in creative writing are almost exclusively academic.
- Literary Researcher
- Creative Director
- Governmental Writer
Where Do those with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing Work?
A BFA in creative writing opens doors for employment in numerous fields. Frequently, those with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing work in universities as professors or adjunct staff, or as researchers. Much of the research work done by those with a bachelor’s in creative writing offers unique opportunities to read English texts from as far back as the 15 th century. Aside from these academic opportunities, earning you creative writing bachelor’s degreeopen doors to working in media marketing, digital arts and gaming. With some additional education, even teaching in high school and elementary school become options.
Among the possibilities of employment for those with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing are:
- Marketing Agencies
- Social Media Marketing
- Film Industry
- AAA Gaming Industry
- High Schools
- Literary History Preservation
Start Your Creative Writing Career: Earn Your Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at the University of Montana
The creative writing bachelor’s at the University of Montana is a program with a rich history in publication, and with many prestigious alumni. Nearly all the professors for the program are published, with dozens of awards in literature across their diverse backgrounds.
The creative writing major at UM offers an array of classes in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, courses in reading and revision and a class in which students solicit, write and publish submssion to The Oval, UM's undergraduate literary magazine .
As you consider the University of Montana as the place where you’ll get your own bachelor’s in creative writing, you can learn more about the individual professors and staff that make this program so incredible.
Learn more about the University of Montana’s Creative Writing Bachelor’s Program
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UM's Creative Writing B.A. degree
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Home » Blog » The 10 Best Creative Writing Jobs
The 10 Best Creative Writing Jobs
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Readers are attracted to creative writing because they like to step out of the regular boundaries of day to day life. They like to read about the author’s imaginations, feelings, explanations, and original ideas. Creative writing jobs are jobs that have you writing pieces that are meant to entertain.
Your work should keep readers interested and play on their desire for fantasy and imagination. This is about a writer allowing the imagination to take over a little bit, and let an interesting story to be told.
Creative writing jobs are gathering momentum as more clients are looking for writers who can add some originality and creativity to their business. Creative writing is becoming a part of modern society.
There’s a considerable increase in the demand for quality creative writers. This has, consequentially, created an increase in available creative writing jobs.
The Best Creative Writing Jobs
There are many lucrative creative writing jobs out there that are looking for writers to conjure new and exciting ideas. They want ideas that can help them convey their messages to the audiences in an engaging way.
As a creative writer, you can work with magazines, advertising platforms, websites, freelance sites, and even for yourself. The onus is on you as a creative writer to prove your worth and give the very best of yourself to your readers or audiences.
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This job entails writing a long work of narrative fiction.
To be a good novelist you need to be creative, productive, and engaging. It equally requires talent, patience, and imaginative alertness since most ideas come from the abstract.
While novel writing can be enjoyable and lucrative, it is not easy. A novel has many elements to consider:
- And many more
It’s a long and complicated process. There are many common mistakes you’ll probably make, and then need to correct. Make sure you’re mentally prepared.
A professional author can make around $65,048 per year, though this depends on the value and popularity of their work.
How to Become a Novelist
In order to become a novelist, you first need to write a novel! This is no small undertaking. For some, it takes them years to complete that manuscript.
Fortunately, there are many helpful writing tools out there these days that can make the process easier.
Squibler , for example, is a fantastic novel writing software that aims to help you write and publish your book within 30 days. This may sound like a crazy feat, but with proper organization, it can be done.
Squibler is simple but powerful. It offers you assistance and organization for every part of your novel, from brainstorming to publishing.
Scriptwriting will have writers creating scripts for mass media. This includes many things:
- Feature film
- Television production
- Video games
- Youtube videos
When people think of script writing , their minds almost always go to movies and TV. This may be the most popular type of script, but it’s not the only kind.
Many online video publications need scripts written as well. Some companies produce web series, which are only available to view online.
To have a good script you first need a good story. From a good story idea , you add sequence, create your scenes, bring in dialogue, cut away dead weight, and revise it.
Scriptwriting is similar to writing a novel in that you’re telling a story. After that, the differences start becoming obvious. You’re not just writing for someone else to read. They’re going to be watching .
This requires many different elements, such as cut scenes, transitions, actions, movements, placement, etc. It will require you to have a good visual sense as well as writing skills.
How to Sell Your Screenplay
There are a few avenues you can take to sell your screenplay to someone who will get it made.
- Professional feedback is always valuable. There are consultants and coaches who work in the area of screenplays specifically. They can help you improve the script itself as well as advise you on how to get it sold.
- Pitchfests and conferences. Sometimes, a writing conference of some sort will have a pitch component. This is an opportunity to pitch your screenplay to several people. The concept gets some criticism and many will advise you to go in without any expectations. The odds of actually selling your script on this day are low. But, it’s a chance to meet some people, introduce yourself, and make industry connections.
- Get an agent. As with books, you can choose to find an agent to represent you. This will cost you some money up front, but a good agent or manager will have a strong list of contacts to itch your script to. They will also have plenty of industry knowledge to share with you.
- Contests. These can be tricky and often come with an entry fee. But, they can be a good way to get attention. Should you do well in a contest, your work has a chance of being read by some top industry professionals, depending on the caliber of the contest.
Experienced and advanced writers can make up to one million dollars per screenplay. The low end for a good quality, original script from an unknown, first-time writer may be around $100,000.
Short Story Writing
Short stories can be a tremendous way for creative writers to flex their muscles. Individuals and websites always need writers of short stories – both fiction and nonfiction – to write compelling, exciting and entertaining stories.
To write a captivating story requires you to follow the principles of writing. A good story will contain a beginning, a middle, and an end.
How to Become a Short Story Writer
The process here is similar to that of a novelist. You first must write the stories. Once they are written, you can start the editing process and eventually move into publishing.
Typically, short stories are published in an anthology or collection.
This can be a collection of stories all from the same author. Or, a third party may put together an anthology with stories from many different authors. These usually have a theme of some sort.
The benefit of short stories is that there are many more freelancing opportunities. Websites, blogs, and other online publications might hire a creative writer on a regular basis to contribute short stories.
Or, they may go the route of taking submissions, and paying the writers of accepted pieces. Either way, you can make some money from individual stories in this way – without going through the entire publishing process yourself.
A writer can make up to $30 per hour of writing a story or charge about 12.5 cents per word. Word counts for a short story can range from 2-10,000 words on average.
Most people don’t think of poetry when they think of ways to make money from creative writing, but it is a possibility.
This is one of the creative writing jobs that need a very artistic way of writing. Poetry aims to stir the reader’s imagination and create emotion.
A writer can do this by choosing and arranging their words correctly and carefully. You’ll want to pay attention to rhythm, meaning, and sound. Poets can charge around $20 per page if their services are in demand.
How to Become a Paid Poet
Unlike some of the other creative writing jobs out there, it can be incredibly difficult to make your entire living off your poetry. Unless, of course, you get to the point of publishing your own collections – and they become successful.
That being said, there are a number of online publications that will pay you for your poetry. Depending on the type of website as well as it’s popularity, these can pay between $10 and $200 per accepted poem.
To begin, all you must do is research these publications. Find some that take submissions in your preferred style and/or genre, and start sending yours in.
It can be a tedious process. But, if you’re good, you could make a considerable amount of extra money from your prose.
Greeting Card Text Writing
This is an excellent writing job available for creative writers who are good at evoking emotion with a small number of words.
A highly creative mind is needed here. The words need to be clear and concise as well as witty and clever all at the same time.
Greeting cards are written for many different things:
- Get well soon
- Expressing condolences
- Mothers day
- Fathers day
As a greeting card writer, you will need to be detailed. Your words need to be specific to the occasion you are writing for.
How to Become a Greeting Card Writer
The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with the different styles. I already listed off the many occasions that greeting cards are written for, but there are different styles a well.
Humor and poetry tend to be the most popular – with humor cards usually commanding a higher price.
That being said, it’s important, as a writer, to work with where you feel most comfortable and passionate. If you’re a poet and you want to work in this industry, write some beautifully rhymed greeting cards. There is still a huge market for this.
Once you find some you like, seek out their submission process. Some may work solely off submissions, while others may hire regular writers.
Knowing what kind of style, and even what occasion you’d most like to write for will help you determine where to go for employment. You’ll have to research companies that publish greeting cards in your desired area.
On average, a submission will pay around $25.However, a seasoned greeting card writer working for higher-end companies can make up to $300 per approved submission.
You need to be creative to write good songs. Songwriting has several different components:
Some people write every element of a song on their own. Others collaborate. One person writes the lyrics while another writes the music.
Some bands even make it a group effort when creating new songs. How the song gets written will depend on the talents and abilities of all those involved. If an artist is lacking something, that’s where you can come in.
It may be hard to believe, but many of the world’s most famous singers do not write their own songs. Just because someone can sing doesn’t mean they are gifted writers.
If you are both creative and musically inclined, songwriting can be a lucrative career option for you.
To be an original songwriter, you need to be able to visualize ideas and mix sounds together. Originality is key. There are many lawsuits created all the time because someone is being accused of stealing someone else’s song.
You need to be willing and able to put in the work to create something new, fresh, and interesting.
How to Become a Songwriter
The first step is simple – write a song! Many songwriters take classes and receive professional training, while many do not. In the end, it all comes down to how good and how appealing your work is.
Once you have some songs written, you can start sharing them with artists you think might like to sing them. You’ll have to start small and work your way up.
A talented and successful songwriter will eventually have artists coming to them for new material, rather than having to advertise themselves.
A songwriter typically makes $45 – 500 per song depending on the client and job.
This writing job requires you to create entertaining, convincing, and sometimes humorous content that urges the audience to listen. Speech writing can be for various occasions like weddings, elections, and anniversaries.
Writing a speech needs someone who is expressive enough to be able to articulate deep and thought-provoking ideas in a concise way. They need to be personalized to help sway the audience to the speaker’s side.
Most of the time, a winning speech you should have a little humor in it – everyone loves a good laugh! Of course, there are exceptions to this depending on the context of the speech.
How to Become a Speech Writer
To begin, A speechwriter should have a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, and/or English.
Once you have the degree under your belt, it’s time to start gaining experience. There are a few ways you an go about finding work as a speech wrier:
- Find employment with a public relations agency. They will have you writing speeches for multiple clients.
- Go freelance. This allows you to work on a contract basis for as many organizations and clients as you want.
- Occasionally, a company or even an individual may choose to keep a full-time speechwriter on staff.
How to Write a Good Speech
There are many different types of speeches and different settings in which they will be given. That said, there are a few key things to remember when writing a good speech.
- Your overall goal is to make a good impression and leave the audience with two or three main takeaways.
- Make them remember you. Many speeches have gone down in history, but they tend to be famous for only one brilliant, witty, and/or hilarious line. Use a strong metaphor, an unusual analogy, or shock factor to leave a lasting impression.
- Make the opening count. Your audience is most receptive at the beginning of your speech. Grab their attention right away. Questions, funny stories, or shocking statistics can do this.
- Make it short, sweet, and simple. If a certain detail or sentence doesn’t help you get your main idea or message across, take it out. A short, easy to understand speech is much more impactful than a long one with a lot of unnecessary detail.
A talented and successful speechwriter can make around $100,000 per year.
This job is about a writer sharing their thoughts, ideas, or opinions within a publication. A column will have a writer who contributes regular articles on the same general topic. For example, an advice column will have the writer answering reader-submitted questions.
Regular readers of the publication will grow to know and like the columnist. Eventually, readers will build trust with them. They will willingly take the advice given, products recommended, or whatever the case may be.
Columns will appear in many types of publications, both on and offline:
How to Become a Column Writer
First, you will need to decide which type of publication you most want to write for. Do you want to write for a print publication like a magazine or newspaper? Or do you want to contribute to an online blog or website?
Some people prefer to be published in print. But, this will limit you to what’s available locally. Pursuing online publications will give you many more options.
Next, it’s all about persistence. Find the publications you want to write for, and get in contact. Not every publication will love your writing or share your vision. Don’t give up.
Writing a Good Column
Writing a good column takes practice. And practice regularly, you must. Publications change their content all the time. If readers aren’t absolutely loving your column you’re at risk of being phased out.
Here are some tips for maintaining a good column, once you’ve gotten in somewhere:
- Stay on schedule. Constantly missed deadlines will make you undesirable to work with in no time.
- Always be interesting. Don’t let your column get repetitive. Even if you’re always writing on the same general subject, find ways to keep it fresh and engaging.
- Spend the proper amount of time on each piece. After a while, writing your column will feel routine. Don’t let yourself slip. It may only be 1000 words, but the quality needs to be top-notch.
- Choose your publications wisely. In the beginning, it may be tempting to apply to everything and accept the first offer you get. Don’t rush into anything. Do your research. Many print publications are dying out. You don’t want t jump onto a sinking ship.
Different publications will pay different rates. Often, the more popular and well-known the publication is, the more they will pay their contributors.
Some may be paid a salary while others are paid per article written. On average, however, a columnist might make between $20-30/hour.
A job as a professional editor is something many creative writers decide to pursue. It’s important to know that editing will require much less writing on your part. You will mostly be going over the work of other people.
Even still, editing is a rewarding job that you can take pride in. Editors are often in charge of the entire publication, so you will see a variety of work and writing styles.
This is fun and exciting for some. Putting together a magazine, newspaper or even maintaining a website is a real art. The finished product is something to admire when done well.
How to Become an Editor
Most who wish to be an editor will pursue a degree in journalism, communications, or English. This will give employers confidence that you have the appropriate knowledge, though it’s not always required.
Editors can work on a freelance basis, but it’s more common for a publication, website, or other company to have full time editors on staff.
These jobs are often posted on job boards and websites, or can be discovered through word of mouth.
Skills Required to Become an Editor
While it is a common pursuit, not all writers can also be editors. It does require a certain set of skills:
- Extensive knowledge of grammar rules
- Extreme attention to detail
- Excellent communication skills – you will often be working with writers
- Intermediate to advanced computer skills. Even if you are editing for a print publication, most of the work will be done on a computer.
- Good knowledge of current communication and publishing tools.
If this sounds like you, perhaps a job as an editor would suit you. The average salary for an editor is about $56,000. However, higher-end publications may pay more.
This is a writing job that some don’t like to do. However, if you’re willing to do the work and let someone else take the credit, it can be quite lucrative.
Ghostwriters are people who write something for someone, who then turns around and posts it under their name – or perhaps the company name.
As long as both parties agree to the terms, this is perfectly fine and is actually quite common. Many websites hire ghostwriters to keep their content coming regularly.
Others will pay someone to ghost write an entire book. This could be any number of things:
- Short stories or novellas. Some people have a creative idea in mind but aren’t good at writing it out. They will hire a ghostwriter to actually craft the story, but it will be published under their own name.
- Nonfiction/self-help books. Again, they have the idea but need someone to structure and write it for them.
- How-to guides. Someone has the knowledge, expertise, and process for something. Someone else turns it into a readable and cohesive instructional for consumers.
- Their own autobiography. There are some people who have an incredible life story. It’s one they want to share with the world, but they aren’t a writer. Many ghostwriters write someone else’s life story.
- Resumes. Every employee needs help with their resume whether that’s for an HR generalist or VP of marketing.
The list can go on. Those willing to ghost write are endlessly valuable to those with good ideas but no real writing skills and/or lack of time.
How to Become a Ghostwriter
Most ghostwriters find their work online, and work is often done on a freelance basis. Freelance job boards, blogging job boards, and LinkedIn jobs posts from HR coordinators are good places to start.
Some websites or companies might advertise for themselves that they are looking for a ghostwriter. With this, all you must do is follow the given application instructions.
The pay range for a ghostwriter is quite large. They can make anywhere from $0.01/word to $0.25/per word. Others go from $10/hour to $100/hour.
The rate you are paid depends largely on your skill level, the amount of experience you have, and the individual client you are working with.
Where to Find Creative Writing Jobs Online
So, now you’ve learned how to turn your creative writing into some money. As discussed above, there are many ways you can go about selling your work or getting hired to produce it.
Some methods are online, while others are done offline. The websites listed below are some good places to get started.
They won’t make you millions. But, you can start building your professional portfolio and generate some cash at the same time.
Flash Fiction Online
This is a good one for those looking to sell their short stories. Every month, they publish a small collection of flash fiction. This is essentially a very short story – between 500-1000 words.
They accept submissions in any genre or category and anyone can submit. They pay out $60 per published story if they are given exclusive rights. For a story previously published elsewhere, they will pay 2 cents per word.
The Sun Magazine
The Sun is an online magazine that publishes a variety of content including fiction, nonfiction , and poetry. They have a lean towards personal writing but are always on the lookout for bold pieces on cultural and political topics.
For fiction and nonfiction, they pay between $300-2000, depending on length. There is no minimum word count, though they don’t like to publish pieces over 7000 words.
For poetry, they pay between $100-250.
If you are interested, they also accept interview pitches and photography submissions. Online submission is easy, and there is no cost.
Rattle is a publication that focuses on poetry. They publish a physical issue four times a year, with around 100 pages of poetry. They also run a blog which will feature one poem each day.
Rattle is passionate about poetry and want to see it revived in this day and age. They also want to encourage poets of all kinds. This means that they don’t care for credentials or previous credits.
If they like your poem, they will publish it.
If your work is featured in a printed issue, they pay $100. For work that doesn’t make the print publication but gets featured on the blog, they pay $50.
It is free to submit, and there are no restrictions whatsoever in regards to length or genre.
Clarkesworld Magazin e publishes short stories and short novellas in the science fiction and fantasy genres. the magazine is published monthly and contains interviews and articles along with several pieces of fiction.
Word counts must be between 10-22,000 words. If accepted, stories are paid at a rate of 10 cents per word for the first 7000 words, and 8 cents for each word over 7000.
Clarkesworld has won many awards and is a well-respected publication that pays its writers well. If you’re a science fiction or fantasy writer , definitely consider submitting here.
Freelance Job Boards
All of the above-mentioned publications are places where you can submit your work for free, and get paid upon acceptance. This can be an effective way to make some extra cash and build your portfolio as a creative writer.
But, it’s not necessarily a way to build a true career. Where applicable, pursue the “real world” avenues. Make connections, talk to agents, practice your in-person pitch.
In addition to this, you may consider perusing some freelance job boards as well. These will often have all kinds of freelance jobs posted – not just writing.
However, once you narrow your search, it can be a good way to find regular clients to hire you on a contract basis. This will create good contacts and a more steady, reliable income.
Short story writing, script writing, ghostwriting, songwriting, and editing can all commonly be found as freelance-based jobs.
Finding a Creative Writing Job is Not Impossible
The term “starving artist” is familiar to most. Many have resigned themselves to making their writing a hobby. You don’t have to do this.
It may be more difficult than obtaining your run of the mill retail job, but you can still do what you love for a living as a creative mind.
Pursue a degree if you think it will help you, and stay persistent. Send queries. Submit your work. Cold-pitch all day long.
Pile up your rejection letters and let them serve as your biggest motivation. With talent, drive, and determination, you will find the people who share your vision. You’ll find the people who value good writing and are willing to pay for it.
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A Seriously Long List of Jobs That Involve Creative Writing
Who says you can’t make any money from creative writing?
Okay, so a lot of people. But they’re wrong. If you’re a creative writing major, have a degree in writing, or simply identify this skill as the best thing you’ve got to offer the world, there are a ton of ways to build a career with your talents.
In fact, writing skills are way more valuable than your Uncle Richie realizes (or whichever relative scoffed at your dreams last Thanksgiving). Anyone with a gift for words has the ability to communicate vital information, motivate others into action, and help others feel seen and understood.
The survival of many industries depends on their ability to connect with human beings. They need brilliant wordsmiths. And here’s the really exciting part: not everyone can do what you do as well as you can do it.
So no, being a writer does not mean you’re sentenced to a life as a “starving artist.”
That said, some creative writing jobs are easier to snag than others. There’s also a difference in pay across different writing gigs. Some jobs will be easier to fill with AI in the future, and—the important detail—some will be more in line with your vision for your writing career.
So here’s a comprehensive list of opportunities and considerations to help you narrow down your focus. You’re about to find out:
- What writing jobs are out there
- The skills you need to land work in the creative writing field
- Which industries are looking for folks like you
- What type of education or experience you need to get started
Let’s start by taking a look at your many, many options.
Career Opportunities in Creative Writing
Before we launch into this very long list of creative writing jobs, I’d like to clarify the term “freelance writer.”
A freelance writer is a contractor. Rather than hiring them on as employees, an individual or business hires a freelance writer to complete specific tasks within their area of expertise.
If you choose to work as a freelancer rather than an employee, you’d be your own boss. You’d set your own rates, determine your own schedule, and decide which projects to take on and which to skip. You’d also be free to work with as many different clients as you’d like.
The downside is that you don’t get benefits like paid time off, health insurance, and employer contributions to your retirement fund. You’re responsible for paying quarterly taxes directly to the government, as no one withdraws them from your paycheck.
Depending on the specific creative writing career you’re building, you might also need to look into professional liability insurance or setting up an LLC. These topics get complicated and vary according to where you live, so I’m not even going to try to give you advice on any of that. It’s better to consult your accountant, mentor, and/or fellow freelance writers in your area.
The main thing I want to convey is that if you choose to freelance, you have to think of yourself as an actual business. That’s what you are after all. It comes with a lot of freedom and extra responsibilities. So weigh your options carefully.
One more quick note:
Salary Ranges Are Tough to Nail Down
I’ve included an average salary range for each of the job descriptions below. These ranges are huge and the numbers are almost meaningless. I put them there because if I were you, I’d want to see them so I could at least get a sense of the income one might make from these different writing jobs.
But the standard salary for each job can vary widely depending on the size of the company hiring you and the cost of living in your (or their) area.
The income range gets massive when you add freelancers to the mix. A rookie freelance copywriter who’s just building their portfolio and client list might make $20,000 in a year. Meanwhile, an in-demand freelance writer could make well into six figures and out-earn an in-house copywriter.
So use the salary information I provide to get a general idea of what’s possible. For more concrete numbers, check out job listings in your area and talk to people who already do the kind of work you want to do.
And what kind of work is that? Let’s decide! Here are a ton of ways you can make money as a writer.
Content Writing Jobs
Content is all the media that encourages consumers to engage with a brand—blogs, videos, social media, podcasts, you name it. Creative writers like you and I might prefer to think of those things as art, but in business-speak, it’s content.
And as a professional content writer, you’ll have to ride that line between creativity and capitalism. After some looking around, you should be able to find an employer or client who wants you to bring some creative vision to your work. But you’ll also have to care about which creative strategies get buyers to bite.
More on that in a bit, though. For now, here are the most common content writing jobs.
A content writer focuses more on long-form writing that builds a relationship with the target audience. In other words, content writing is less about making a sales pitch and more about being helpful and conveying the brand’s personality.
Common content writing tasks include:
- Email newsletters
- Articles and blogs
- Case studies
Average Salary: $40,000-$70,000 per year
A copywriter is more involved with the kind of creative writing that says, “Hey, you should spend money on this.” They compose things like:
- Website copy
- Landing pages
- Print and online ads
- Sales emails
- Sales pages and mailers
In many businesses, the content writer and the copywriter are the same person. But if you freelance as a copywriter specializing in one specific area—sales emails, for example—get familiar with the other materials your client is putting out to make sure your sales copy builds on the relationship they're already building through content.
Average Salary: $60,000-$120,000 per year
Technical writing is basically “how-to” writing. It includes:
- Instruction manuals
- Explainer video scripts
- White papers
- Spec sheets
Technical writing might be your jam if you’re great at grasping complex concepts and clarifying them for the rest of us. It’s truly a magical writing skill that involves simplifying and being thorough at the same time.
If you can pull that off, it’s only a matter of time before you’re considered an irreplaceable rockstar in someone’s business.
Annual Salary: $60,000-$90,000 per year
Social Media Writer
You’ll sometimes see social media fall under the umbrella of content writing, but it’s also its own position in many businesses.
As you can probably guess, a great social media writer comes up with brilliant captions that engage audiences on social platforms. But there’s more to it than that.
To do this job well, you have to be on top of social media trends so you can jump on challenges and hashtags while they’re still fresh. You also need to understand which customer segments are more likely to be on which platforms and how to engage with them.
Depending on the size of the company you’re working with, there’s a good chance you’ll also have to come up with the visuals and create the videos that accompany your brilliant captions.
If you love social media, you’ll be in heaven. If you don’t, you probably won’t be able to fake it.
Average Salary: $50,000-$80,000 per year
Journalism and Media Jobs
In this category of creative writing jobs, we’re looking at everything that has to do with news and mass communication.
I know. That includes a lot. So let’s get to it.
A journalist investigates, researches, and writes the news for print and/or online publications. That’s a tidy little sentence to describe a writing job that involves a lot of specialized skills and a strict code of ethics.
While journalism absolutely belongs under the heading of “creative writing careers,” it’s an area where you can’t get fast and loose with your creativity. Journalists are responsible for revealing the truth to the public. Ideally , they do this without guiding the reader’s opinion or embellishing actual events.
The ability to compose engaging articles that inspire thoughtful questions without pushing an agenda is a remarkable skill in and of itself. Successful journalists also tend to be curious, driven, resourceful, and fast writers.
This is one of the few writing jobs where having a degree (usually in journalism) is relatively important, especially if you hope to work for a notable publication.
Average Salary: $60,000-100,000 per year
A broadcast writer prepares the news for television, radio, and online media. In other words, they take all the deets about what’s going on in the world and turn them into scripts to be read by news anchors.
Like a journalist, a broadcast writer faces the challenging task of conveying information in an unbiased way. They also need to be adept at writing pieces intended to be read aloud—scripts that flow naturally for the speaker and can be quickly understood by the audience.
Much like journalists, broadcast writers must be able to work quickly, often under pressure. If you like the idea of being in front of the camera yourself, this creative writing career path can include conducting interviews, attending press conferences, and reporting the news.
Average Salary: $40,000-$100,000 per year
A scriptwriter is anyone who writes a script for a play, movie, radio show, podcast, video game, or television show. Scriptwriters who write plays are called playwrights, movie writers are more commonly called screenwriters, and television writers are best known as—get this—television writers.
Playwrights and screenwriters almost always work on a freelance basis. Much like traditionally published book authors, they work with a literary agent and are constantly trying to sell their next project.
Television authors also need representation, though they’re usually hired onto the writing staff of a TV show as an employee. There is such a thing as freelance television writing where a writer steps in to pen a single episode of a show, but this practice isn’t as common as it used to be.
All of these jobs have the potential to be deeply fulfilling for a creative writer. They come with fun challenges like learning how to tell a great story purely through visuals and dialogue.
Keep in mind that—much like becoming a successful author—it takes a long time to build a solid career in this field. There are a lot of gatekeepers and frequent rejection .
Film, theater, and television are also much more collaborative art forms than book publishing. Whatever you write, you have to be prepared for producers, directors, set designers, sound designers, actors, and editors to put their fingerprints on it, too. It’s entirely possible that the end product will be quite different from what you imagined.
In other words, if you’re precious about your work, this might not be your field.
Average Salary: $40,000-$80,000 per year
Publishing and Editing Jobs
Feel like your true home is in the book world? Then you’re looking for something in publishing.
When we think about creative writing jobs in publishing, we usually think of authors first. After all, that’s the dream for a lot of creative writers. But it’s no secret that authorship comes with rejection, requires a ton of patience, and doesn’t always cover the bills.
The good news is, you can still build your career around books even if you’d prefer to pass on all the uncertainty that comes with being an author. This field has plenty of other opportunities to flex those creative writing skills.
But we’ll get to those in a moment. First, let’s look at the best-known writing job in publishing.
As I mentioned before, authors are almost always freelance writers. This means that whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish, you have to think of yourself as a business.
Publishing traditionally means working with a publishing house to release your book into the world. This process usually involves finding an agent who then pitches your book to publishers and negotiates a book deal for you. We have a guide to the entire process right here .
Self-publishing means you produce and market your book yourself. This publishing model has boomed in both popularity and earning potential in the past decade and change. You must have an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed on this publishing path, though. You can learn more about it here .
Whichever path they choose, successful authors build platforms and a following through channels like social media , email newsletters, and speaking engagements. Those platforms help them develop relationships with readers, give them more visibility, and make them more appealing to publishers.
You also need to some degree of sales smarts, whether you self-publish and take on the full responsibility of marketing your book or you decide to publish traditionally, which requires creating a compelling book pitch that gets agents and publishers onboard.
Average Salary: I can’t even give you a range in good conscience. So many factors influence author earnings, and only a small percentage of authors make a living on books alone. I recommend checking out this article for a clearer understanding of what you can make as an author.
As Doug can tell you , there are several kinds of editing you could do, including:
- Developmental editing
- Line editing
- Sensitivity reading
Each type of editing evaluates a different aspect of a written work. These options also allow you to zero in on your greatest strength as a creative writer. Are you the sultan of story structure ? You might be interested in developmental editing . Are you a research rockstar and a stickler for accuracy? Maybe fact-checking is for you.
This is a job you can do as an employee of a publishing house or as a freelancer. If you go the freelance route, you’ll likely be working with a lot of indie authors.
Average Salary: $60,000-$80,000 per year
Copy Editor or Proofreader
Copy editors are magical beings who have the kind of superhuman focus that allows them to catch tiny issues like grammar errors, misspelled words, inconsistencies in story details, and the like.
It’s true that AI is getting better and better at catching these mistakes. That’s why Dabble uses ProWritingAid to power grammar, spelling, and style checks. It helps creative writers prepare a draft that isn’t utterly riddled with errors.
But at this moment in time, we still can’t count on AI to catch nuanced errors, recognize clever word play, or appreciate an author’s deliberate decision to shirk old grammar rules. We still need human eyes to do this job.
Often confused with a copy editor, a proofreader is the very last person to review a book, and they look for any and all errors. If there’s a missed typo, a messed up margin, or a wonky image, they’ll flag it. Think of them as quality control.
As you likely guessed, both jobs require you to be extremely detail oriented.
Average Salary: $50,000-$90,000 per year
You probably associate this career path with sales more than creative writing. But the literary agents who succeed are the ones who understand what makes a book great .
This job is best suited for someone who’s ready to do a ton of reading and enjoys rubbing elbows. You can expect to spend plenty of time on the phone, in lunch meetings, at publishing events, and in pitch meetings. You have to be good at building relationships and love talking books.
What many creative writers don’t realize about agents is that their job also involves giving feedback on current projects and helping their clients talk through new ideas. The advice of a good agent can mean the difference between a book deal and a manuscript that never graduates beyond PDF status.
Keep in mind that it takes time to succeed in this career. As a literary agent, you’ll make 15% of what your authors earn from their books. Expect some lean years as you build your client list.
Average Salary: $50,000-$70,000 per year
As a creative writer, you’re probably great at explaining why books work. You have smart things to say about character development , plot structure, and pacing. And if you’re a fast reader—and would love to make reading part of your creative writing career—you’d probably enjoy being a book reviewer.
Book reviewers do exactly what you think they do: they review books. Many choose to specialize in a specific genre or two. Specializing can be an effective strategy when it comes to building a name for yourself and giving readers a reason to value your opinion. It’s a way of establishing yourself as a genre expert.
Just note that this isn’t an easy career to just plop into. While you can find job listings for book reviewers, there aren’t many of them. Most people who do this for a living start by writing reviews on a freelance basis or even for their own blog/social media platform.
As you build your portfolio and reputation, you can submit your reviews to other publications, monetize your own review website/podcast/vlog, or possibly land a job as an in-house reviewer for a magazine, newspaper, or online platform.
Average Salary: $20,000-$80,000 per year
We already covered what a copywriter is, so I won’t go too deep on the subject here. I just want to make sure you know that it’s possible to do copywriting work within the world of publishing.
Publishing houses have copywriters on staff to handle things like press releases, media kits, author bios, social media content, and marketing materials.
In this role, you’d be able to enjoy the stability of a marketing-focused creative writing job while still getting to think about books all day. Not too shabby.
Average Salary: $50,000-$120,000 per year
Advertising and Marketing Jobs
If you’re on the lookout for creative writing jobs that make your value as an employee easy to quantify, advertising is the place to be.
The goal of all advertising is to persuade your audience to make a purchase or take some other action that benefits the business you work for.
Modern technology makes it easier than ever to track the success of your ad copy and marketing campaigns, which means you often have access to numbers that demonstrate what the return on investment is when someone hires you.
Now, all this might sound very cold and business-y, but this is an area where creative writers thrive because your goal is the same as it would be if you were writing a novel or screenplay. You’re trying to find the best words to connect emotionally with your audience.
Not everyone can do that. You can.
Let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can do that.
Oh, look! We’re talking about copywriters again. Since we’ve already covered this, I’ll give the abbreviated explanation for the article skimmers.
An advertising copywriter writes copy (go figure) advertising a product or service to potential buyers. This includes anything that could potentially lead to a purchase, including:
- Marketing emails
- Print or online ads
If you already know what a brand strategist is, you might be surprised to see this position appear on a list of creative writing jobs. Brand strategists don’t write as much as they, well, strategize brands.
This person is responsible for conducting market research, analyzing trends, creating buyer avatars, planning campaigns, and overseeing the production of marketing materials.
Depending on the size of the marketing team, a brand strategist might also write copy and content. But what makes this career a decent option for a creative writer is the storytelling aspect.
Brand strategists are responsible for translating the business’s message into a story that resonates with buyers. They also need to understand their consumer on a deeper level—a skill that comes more naturally to someone who’s spent time studying character development.
Much like a brand strategist, a creative director looks at the big picture of a company’s marketing efforts. What story is being told? How can they best use the creative resources available to tell that story in an emotionally compelling way?
The creative director leads all the creative professionals on a marketing team, including copywriters, designers, and social media content creators. They make sure everyone is on the same page, telling the same story and communicating the same message.
Average Salary: $120,000-$200,000 per year
Content Marketing Specialist
Remember when we talked about content writing? This is that, plus some added responsibility.
While a content writer is usually told what to write, a content marketing specialist is the person who decides what type of content will be most effective for the business.
They strategize content like emails, blog posts, videos, and social media depending on which formats and messaging are most likely to help buyers connect with the brand.
This person also selects the SEO and analytics tools to help them make sure their strategy is effective. They watch the results closely and regularly optimize their content marketing efforts to get better performance.
And yes, a content marketing specialist might also write some or all of the content themselves.
Skills Required for Creative Writing Jobs
I tried to give you some sense of the skills required to stand out in each of the creative writing jobs we just went over.
Nevertheless, if you’ve found something that interests you, I strongly suggest researching it further and connecting with someone who’s already killing it in that field. Get a sense of what it means to excel and you’ll be in a good spot to pursue your creative writing career seriously.
If you’re still not sure where you want this journey to lead, no problem! Follow your curiosity and let yourself gravitate towards the work that excites you. In the meantime nurture the following skills essential for every creative writing career.
Okay, so I’m not exactly dropping a bone-rattling truth bomb here. Of course you need strong writing skills to build a career as a creative writer. You know that. That said, some writers underestimate the importance of building on the skills they already have.
This is an issue I think tends to plague young writers the most. We catch wind of the fact that we’re “good writers” from teachers and peers and get attached to the idea that a good writer is something we already are. Like inherently.
I know I wasted a lot of energy in my early adult years worrying about whether or not people thought I was a talented writer instead of working to continuously become a better writer. Ongoing improvement is how you’ll stand out from the crowd, especially as you zero in on the type of creative writing you want to do.
If you want to be a copywriter, find a mentor and start a course on copywriting. If you dream of being a bestselling author who makes a living from books alone, join a writing group, attend writing conferences, and download this free e-book on writing a novel that rocks.
Keep sharpening those writing skills, no matter how exceptional you already are.
Research and Analysis Skills
Research and analysis sounds like a skill set that only applies in marketing and technical writing. But in all creative writing jobs, research and analysis have the same goal: understanding what it takes to connect with an audience.
Now, if you become a screenwriter or a novelist, you might not pore over metrics the way you would if you were a brand strategist. What you will do (hopefully) is consume a ton of art in your genre to understand what works.
Constantly refresh your understanding of what speaks to readers, which trends are hot, and why current bestsellers are selling so well. It’s also important to stay on top of new developments in the publishing industry and strategize your career accordingly.
And if you plan to be a self-published author, your research and analysis skills will help you make important marketing decisions.
Creativity and Imagination
If there’s one area where you have a leg-up on AI, it’s this one. Everything AI creates comes from ideas and structures that already exist. As an adaptable, creative human being, you can find unique ways to express ideas that haven’t been explored before.
This skill is essential for all the creative writing jobs we’ve discussed. The best ad writers figure out how to write copy that stands out from the competition. Great editors help writers tap into their own original voices. Even in technical writing, imagination is crucial for finding new ways to simplify complicated topics.
Communication and Collaboration Skills
There are no writing jobs that allow you to compose brilliance alone in your cave and release it into the world with no input from anyone else.
You have to be open to feedback, and in ultra-collaborative fields like screenwriting, you must be ready for the possibility that your vision won’t often be everyone’s top priority. (It hurts, I know.)
If you’re still working on building your collaboration skills, I can offer a few suggestions.
One is to make a habit of identifying what’s important to you about every project you work on. What’s motivating you? What are your goals? When you can answer those questions, you’ll be more confident gently pushing back on things you care about and more open to offering compromising when it comes to less important issues.
Another tip is to cultivate a genuine appreciation for what others can contribute. As a writer who regularly wrestles with a stubborn, foot-stomping ego, I often return to this interview with Dolly Parton for a reminder of the kind of artist I want to be—someone humble enough to celebrate when another person makes my good thing better.
And of course, working with people you respect helps boost that collaborative spirit, too.
Finally, clear communication is absolutely essential. Make sure you know what clients, employers, or team members expect from you. Also manage their expectations by being frank about your availability, timeline, and expertise.
Adaptability and Time Management
Most writing jobs involve deadlines and your reputation as a reliable writer hinges on your ability to meet those deadlines. That means you’ve got to get good at managing your time.
This can be especially difficult if you’re a freelance writer, because there’s no one dictating your schedule. There’s just today, a deadline in the future, and all this space in between that can be whatever you want it to be.
Time management takes practice, and a quick Google search will take you to loads of suggestions for making the process easier. You can try time blocking , the Pomodoro Technique , deep work strategies … test whatever you think will do the trick.
For me, the most effective method is to remember two things. First, I need to maintain my reputation as a reliable writer if I want to pay my rent and gradually increase my income. Second, I don’t want to be stuck at my desk when my husband comes home from work or friends are inviting me out on the weekend.
Those two limits help me draw time boundaries on that wide-open calendar and keep me motivated to stick to it.
Even as you create structure for yourself, however, you have to keep in mind that things might change. A client might shift direction. A project could fall through. You might find yourself partnering with a collaborator on something you thought would be a solo situation.
It’s important to know your own work boundaries so you don’t get walked on. But being adaptable (within reason) is also crucial for building positive, long-term professional relationships.
Industries That Hire Creative Writers
We’ve examined your professional opportunities by looking at the most common creative writing jobs. Now let’s take a look at them by industry.
If you’re already in the workforce, you might discover that there are writing jobs within your current industry—jobs you never even knew were there. If you’re in school pursuing something other than a creative writing major, you might discover that you can totally flex your wordsmith skills in your field of study.
And if you still have no idea how you want to put your talents to work, this list might help you uncover some less obvious job opportunities.
You already know that the entertainment industry needs scriptwriters. You can probably guess that there’s a need for copywriters in those massive marketing departments, too.
But there’s also song writing, video game writing, script reading/analysis, and script consulting. Every single thing you see on TV has a writer behind it—usually an entire writing staff —including award shows and reality television.
You can even get hired to rewrite or “punch-up” someone else’s script.
Publishing and Journalism
We covered the big writing jobs in this industry earlier, so for now, I’ll just add this:
As technology advances, these creative writing careers are more accessible than ever. You develop specialized skills online, build your own platform, and publish your own work. It’s entirely possible to forge your own path in these industries that used to be heavily guarded by gatekeepers.
That’s not to say it’ll be easy to make a name for yourself, nor is it to say that I think everyone with a Wordpress account should feel free to market themselves as a journalist.
What I mean to say is that if you want a career in these traditionally intimidating fields, there’s space for you. There are more ways than ever to learn what you need to learn and create what you want to create.
Advertising and Marketing
Again, we’ve talked about these writing jobs, so I’ll just tell you a quick story.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I took an improv class (it’s mandatory here) with a woman who was a freelance namer. That was her whole job. She named products for major companies and made a whole entire L.A. living doing it.
While I can’t help but wonder if AI has taken over her job yet, it’s an important reminder that writing skills are worth a lot in marketing. The right words are straight-up gold .
Education and E-learning
Creative writing is a teachable skill. If you enjoy guiding others, teaching might be a solid career option for you. You could teach creative writing in a formal education environment (you’ll need a degree), at a local community center, or even online.
The education world also needs creative writers to put together written materials like textbooks, discussion guides, glossaries, and study guides. You could even write scripts for educational videos.
This is an area of creative writing that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but there’s an increasing demand for it. Not only do modern students turn to the Internet for information and homework help, the digital world has made self-directed learning easier than ever. You can find an online course for almost anything from auto repair to world literature.
What’s great about this industry is that it allows you to combine your passion for creative writing with your interest in another subject. Plus, there’s the business about inspiring curious minds and all that.
If you’re intrigued by the challenges of a job in marketing but want to feel like your work serves a greater purpose, consider writing for a nonprofit.
You’d be doing many of the same things you’d do for a for-profit business: email marketing, advertising, blogging, video creation, and the like. The goal is similar—you want to get the word out about the organization and create a positive association in people’s minds.
But there’s also a strong fundraising element, since that’s how a nonprofit stays afloat (and covers your paycheck). This means you can also expect to write grant proposals and oversee donor communications.
You can do all of this as part of the team or on a contract basis. Grant writing in particular is a good option if you’re looking to set up shop as a freelance writer.
Corporate communications is an oversized novelty umbrella that covers a lot of stuff. Simply put, this term refers to the many ways a corporation communicates its mission, goals, successes, and functions to everyone.
Seriously, everyone . The public, employees, shareholders, partners… every person who exists.
Now, if you work with a small startup, “corporate communications” could be your entire job. For larger companies, however, you’re more likely to work in a specific department. You might be on the marketing team or you could be responsible for internal communications like employee manuals and reports.
Bottom line: if you’re dreaming of a creative writing career in the corporate world, the job opportunities are definitely there.
Career Development and Education Options
You know what creative writing jobs are out there. You know what skills these different industries are looking for. What about education? What kind of training do you need in order to land the job and crush it?
It depends on the specific job as well as what kind of time and money you have to invest in your creative writing education.
The good news is that you don’t have to rack up insane student loans in order to make a good living as a writer. There are certain positions where a degree is mandatory, but there are plenty of hiring managers who don’t care where you got your creative writing skills as long as you have them.
And it’s never been easier to find training as a writer. Let’s look at your options.
Degree Programs in Creative Writing
If you plan to get a four-year degree to boost your knowledge as a writer, you might be eyeballing a creative writing major. This area of study is most useful if you plan to become a fiction writer, screenwriter, poet, or the like.
If you’re mapping out a career that’s a little more predictable and a little less “artsy,” consider majors like journalism, communications, technical writing, or marketing.
Industries that are most likely to have a mandatory college degree requirement include journalism, academia, and large corporations or nonprofits.
If you plan to go into entertainment or work as a freelance writer, a formal education can help you develop essential skills. Although—real talk—many of those skills can be learned through the less expensive educational avenues we’re about to go over.
Many folks who earned creative writing degrees will tell you that the biggest benefit of their program was the network it provided when they left college. That’s no small thing, but it’s also not what we think we’re going to college for.
Writing Workshops and Online Courses
You can easily find live workshops, online courses, and writing groups to help you sharpen your skills or develop new ones.
This option is a good compromise between a formal education and fully self-directed learning. There’s often a fee, but it’s tens of thousands of dollars less than you’d spend on a creative writing degree. There’s a structure to keep you on track but you don’t have to show up at a physical location multiple times a week for months at a time.
Whatever type of creative writing skill you want to work on, a quick Google search will help you find courses you can take. You can also search the course selection at sites like Coursera , Udemy , and Masterclass .
Finally, a lot of folks who sell online writing courses offer free webinars as a way to get you on their mailing list and pitch their full program. If you don’t feel like you have a clear enough goal to invest in an entire course, these webinars provide a great opportunity to pick up some basic insights and start practicing new skills.
Networking and Professional Associations
Look for networking events and professional associations specific to the field you wish to enter. You absorb so much information just by being around experts and peers, plus you’ll have access to seminars, boot camps, training programs, and more.
Many organizations also hold or participate in conferences. These conferences provide learning opportunities that not only sharpen your creative writing skills but also educate you about your chosen industry. If you don’t have the travel budget, you can attend many conferences online at a discount.
And don’t forget to build your own little network of creative writers! Even fiction-focused communities like Dabble’s Story Craft Café are full of writers who rely on more predictable writing work like copywriting and communications to pay their rent. These are great places to share information about building creative writing careers of all kinds.
Building a Portfolio and Gaining Experience
Finally, we learn best by doing. As you pick up new advice and information through your chosen educational channels, put that insight to work immediately.
Offer to write the press release for your cousin’s startup. Ask a strapped-for-cash nonprofit if they’d be interested in letting you write your first grant proposal on their behalf. Create a blog that allows you to showcase the kind of content you hope to one day get paid to write.
These things help you build a portfolio to show prospective clients or employers. They also give you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, get feedback early, and discover the challenges that are unique to different writing jobs.
The faster you experience those things, the faster you learn and the sooner you’re ready to make a living as a creative writer.
Writing is an in-demand skill. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you dream of paying your bills with your words—either as a full-time job or a side hustle—you absolutely can. It may take patience, diligence, and a lot of learning, but the work is out there.
The last bit of advice I’ll offer you is to find a community of writers who have your back. No one understands the journey like another writer. You can count on your network of fellow wordsmiths for moral support, job leads, feedback, and more.
If you’re still in the process of finding those friends, join us at the Story Craft Café—especially if fiction is part of your writerly aspirations. The community is free to join and a great place to talk craft, share your work, and stay productive with daily word sprints. Follow this link to get started.
Abi Wurdeman is the author of Cross-Section of a Human Heart: A Memoir of Early Adulthood, as well as the novella, Holiday Gifts for Insufferable People. She also writes for film and television with her brother and writing partner, Phil Wurdeman. On occasion, Abi pretends to be a poet. One of her poems is (legally) stamped into a sidewalk in Santa Clarita, California. When she’s not writing, Abi is most likely hiking, reading, or texting her mother pictures of her houseplants to ask why they look like that.
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