If you grew up with a love of reading and writing, you might have had a well-meaning adult in your life tell you that writing isn’t a realistic career option, requiring heaps of talent, luck, and the ability to live on next to nothing. Unfortunately, many people still believe that advice, unaware that there are plenty of options for building a career that revolves around writing.
The most important part of being a writer isn’t necessarily talent, either. Rather, it’s a love for the written word and the enjoyment that can be created simply by putting words on the page. As long as you have that, the writing life may be a good fit for you.
Here’s what else you should know about creating a satisfying writing career, including twelve in-demand options to consider.
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Is writing a good career?
When you think of a professional writer, you might conjure up images of a book author painstakingly working on their craft or a journalist chasing down sources and trying to convince an editor that the world needs to hear this story. In these scenarios, those same writers are either struggling to pay the bills, or they’re one of the few writers who’ve managed to become household names. (We’re looking at you, Stephen King.)
But the writing profession is a lot more flexible than those narrow profiles, and it can actually be a lucrative choice—even without massive book deals or TV interviews. In many cases, you can shape a writing career into whatever you need it to be. It just takes a bit of critical thinking to figure out what you want and how to leverage your skills to find well-paying options.
Writing career path
The way one person builds a writing career can look vastly different from someone else’s, even within the same job title. Ultimately, how you build your career as a writer depends on your goals.
For example, a novelist will probably want to work on their craft most of the time—reading, writing, and editing their work while also seeking an agent and publishers. Meanwhile, a content marketer may start out writing for their own blog, then move on to pitching stories for small publications they want to write for, collect bylines (as in: “this article is written by”), and then work their way up to larger publications or company blogs. A journalist may cut their teeth at their school’s newspaper or with internships and then move to a job at a media outlet.
Often, though, a writing career isn’t so linear. So while some might imagine a writer steadily getting better gigs or bigger paychecks while gaining recognition for their work, the reality may be quite different. Many writers, for example, work as freelancers, which means their incomes vary from month to month and year to year. Or a writer might have a bit of luck landing a byline with a national newspaper one week, but their pitches might not be accepted the next.
Again, it takes determination and a love of the job to move past those kinds of lows to build a strong, secure writing career.
12 in-demand writing careers
Writing careers come in many different forms. Below we’ll explore a few that allow you to write for a living while providing rewarding, well-paying work.
1 Grant writer
What they do: Research and complete grant applications to help organizations—often non-profits—get funding to support and carry out their mission.
Requirements: Keen attention to detail and research skills.
Average annual income: $66,381
2 Speech writer
What they do: Compose speeches to be delivered by other people, from company executives to organizational leaders to lawmakers.
Requirements: The ability to write for oral communication with another person’s speaking style in mind.
Average annual income: $67,765
3 Content writer
What they do: Create content meant to support a business (including blog posts, ebooks, and white papers).
Requirements: Knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and the ability to write persuasively.
Average annual income: $81,000
What they do: Write language—ranging from phrases to taglines to paragraphs— meant to sell or explain a product or service.
Requirements: Write persuasively and understand consumer behavior.
Average annual income: $53,184
5 Technical writer
What they do: Prepare supporting technical content, like instruction manuals and how-to guides.
Requirements: Attention to detail and the ability to simplify complex information.
Average annual income: $78,060
What they do: Work with writers to revise content and plan assignments for publication.
Requirements: The ability to streamline content at both the sentence level and at a high level.
Average annual income: $63,350
7 Medical writer
What they do: Write medical-focused content for publication with places like healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, or government agencies.
Requirements: An understanding of medical concepts and the ability to communicate those topics to the average person. You may need to have a degree or a history of working in the medical field on your résumé to qualify.
Average annual income: $102,603
What they do: Create content for websites or on behalf of individuals. Published content will either not have a byline, or it will show someone else’s byline.
Requirements: The ability to write for another person or publication’s voice and adherence to style guides.
Average annual income: $64,148
9 Content strategist
What they do: Establish and execute a content plan to meet business goals.
Requirements: Cultivate a deep understanding of your business and audience.
Average annual income: $76,400
10 Social media manager
What they do: Create social media content—ranging from Instagram captions to LinkedIn posts to Facebook posts and more—for a company or clients.
Requirements: A strong sense of engaging, social-friendly content and the ability to capitalize on relevant current events.
Average annual income: $59,539
What they do: Translate content or speech from one language into another.
Requirements: Ability to speak and write in another language and make judgment calls when direct translations are not possible.
Average annual income: $68,574
12 Proposal writer
What they do: Create documents intended to persuade others to invest in or support a project or business.
Requirements: Strong researching and organization skills and the ability to write persuasively.
Average annual income: $67,020
If writing is your passion, you have options to turn that into a career. And it won’t necessarily require you to give up your standard of living. As with all difficult things that are worth the effort, the key is perseverance.
Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 15,200 openings for writers and authors are projected each year, on average, over the decade.Can you make a career out of writing essays? ›
You could become a journalist, a medical writer, a translator, a business plan writer—all niche markets need writers. As a freelancer, you can't be all things to all people (especially when you're first starting out). So, you need to pick an area of focus.What career should I choose if I like writing? ›
Graduates can pursue writing careers in education, public relations, and multimedia communication. Online writing bachelor's degrees also offer students the opportunity to specialize in a specific type of writing. Options include creative writing, technical and scientific writing, and business writing.Can you make a living out of writing? ›
Making a living writing is possible. But in order to do this, we first have to dispel the most common myths about this profession: Becoming a full-time writer won't happen quickly (and if it does, you're lucky). Becoming a full-time writer won't happen because you produce a one-hit wonder.Are writers in demand in 2023? ›
In short, content writers are highly sought after professionals with a wide range of skills that make them valuable for any organization — they are in high demand for the new year due to the ever-increasing need for quality written content across various platforms.How much do essay writers get paid? ›
Essay Writer Salary. $48,000 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $80,000 is the 75th percentile.How do I start a writing career with no experience? ›
- Rewrite local small-business websites.
- Find abandoned business blogs.
- Write business emails.
- Create a newsletter or brochure.
- Report articles for local news media.
- Write for local magazines.
- Turn your former employer into a client.
- Write for local marketing agencies.
Writing has no age restrictions. This should go without saying. And yet.How do you make money if you like writing? ›
- Guest Post on High-Paying Publications and Magazines. ...
- Become a Copywriter. ...
- Do Freelance Content Writing for Businesses. ...
- Ghostwrite Stories. ...
- Get Paid to Write on Medium. ...
- Self-Publish on Amazon Kindle. ...
- Blog and Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing. ...
- Find Paid Writing Internships.
Do Most Authors Have a Day Job? Yes. Making a living with your creative writing is a financial life plan in the same way winning the lottery is a financial life plan. Good luck, but don't quit your day job.
Becoming a professional writer can be hard, and good writing should be an interactive experience. Yes, writing is difficult, but it is also enjoyable. If you want to overcome writer's block, you need to identify some of the biggest challenges. Then, you can use your writing skills to overcome them.What is the lowest writer salary? ›
While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $122,000 and as low as $12,000, the majority of Writer salaries currently range between $38,500 (25th percentile) to $72,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $91,000 annually across the United States.Can I make 100k as a writer? ›
Yes, you can make $100,000 per year as a writer.
The chances of earning over $100k for a writer are actually pretty good because the highest-paid writer positions typically pay at least $102,000 per year. The average annual salary is $65,718 for writer jobs.
The top 2% or so of authors make a good living and the most successful authors – including self-published authors – make a tremendous amount of money.”How do writers survive? ›
Set a schedule and stick to it. Wake up at the same time every day and begin your writing routine. Keep a chart of daily goals and write often. Don't forget to check in on your income sources, because you don't want to wake up one day to find out that you don't have enough earnings to pay rent.How can writers make money from home? ›
- Start a blog. Blogging is a tried-and-true method for writers to make money online. ...
- Create blog posts (for others) ...
- Establish a niche website. ...
- Self-Publish a book. ...
- Create affiliate content. ...
- Write scripts for video creators. ...
- Write show notes for podcasts. ...
- Create written content for social media.
LivingWriter is a powerful word processor built to combine the cloud-based convenience of Google Docs, with the book-focused specialization of Scrivener. And it does a pretty good job of that too. For convenience, easy of use, and overall design, I give LivingWriter a 4 out of 5.At what age do writers do their best work? ›
According to experts, we start becoming more creative and prolific in whatever field of art or study we work, around the age of 25. Most people reach their peak after the age of 35 or in their 40s. This is when they produce their most valuable work.What is the best age for writers? ›
Given that many novels take many years to perfect, it stands to reason that late twenties, early thirties are prime time for putting in those writing hours. Harper Lee, for example, wrote To Kill a Mockingbird at 31 and saw it published at 34.Is 27 too late to become a writer? ›
The ages span from 17 to 40 and beyond. Some writers begin early in life, others late. There isn't only one path to artistry—that's what makes it artistic. Learning how to write boils down to three factors: figuring out what kind of writing you want to do, sitting down to write, and getting appropriate feedback.
How much should I charge for a 500-word article? All things considered, 500 words is a fairly short article length, appropriate for a short newsletter article or personal profile. A typical rate for this would be $75-$200, but it could range much lower or higher depending on the factors mentioned above.How much does a 1,000 word essay cost? ›
The low end for a 1000-word research article is around $75, while an experienced writer may charge closer to $250 or more. Blog article. Less technical articles are often quicker to write, so you may want to charge less. A 1000-word blog article averages around $50 at the lower end and $175 at the higher end.Where can I write and get paid? ›
- Upwork. Upwork is one of the most popular platforms freelancers use to find work online. ...
- Copyhackers. ...
- Fiverr. ...
- Listverse. ...
- Vibrant Life. ...
- Narratively. ...
- FreelanceMom. ...
Verdict: SCAM, not worth the money
All the information inside can be found for free online (check the end of this post to learn about alternatives). The training is okay, if you don't know what Freelance Writing is you will learn, but there are no secret tips that are going to make you a successful Freelance Writer.
- Architecture. The bachelor's in architecture is far from writing-intensive, primarily focusing on: ...
- Chemistry. ...
- Computer Science. ...
- Criminal Justice. ...
- Economics. ...
- Engineering. ...
- Mathematics. ...
- Step #1: Hone your writing skills. ...
- Step #2: Write, write, and then write some more. ...
- Step #3: Submit your work. ...
- Step #4: Create an Upwork profile. ...
- Step #5: Build a portfolio. ...
- Step #6: Create a social media presence. ...
- Step #7: Consider self-publishing.
Although only some authors become world-famous for their work, many sell their writing through various formats and earn a steady wage, making a lasting career out of their talent.Is writing a good career in 2023? ›
One study found that 73 percent of employers now consider writing one of the top three "most desired" qualities in job candidates. Article continues after video. Whether you're a business owner, student, employee, or manager, improving your writing skills should be one of your professional development goals for 2023.Do writing jobs pay well? ›
There are many people working high-paying writing jobs and earning a respectable income. May editors make $80,000 a year or more. Content managers can easily break six figures. Work on excelling in areas like our list of highest paying writing jobs below to increase your income.Do writers get paid well? ›
Average Salary for Writers. Most writers are self-employed, and their experience directly impacts their salary. An entry-level writer with less than one year of experience can earn an average compensation of $50,215. As they gain more experience (1-4 years) are expected to earn an average of $52,945.