Do you want to learn what it takes to become a better writer? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a writer online for FREE.
Of course everybody writes but not everyone takes writing as a profession. The profession might sound odd or unfamiliar because some people believe writing is what everyone does and not necessarily to make a living from it. However, it remains a fact that some people write to make a living, be relevant in the society and live a sustainable life.
Just as every other profession is geared towards making a living and to be relevant in the society, the profession of a writer also gives equal opportunities to the practitioner. There are various career ideas associated with the profession of a writer and that is why the name of these practitioners vary from country to another country of the world. However, the writing profession is serving as an interesting profession with sumptuous salary scale in most countries of the world, especially in countries like United State of America, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
If you are thinking of considering the profession of a writer as a profession to specialize in, you really need to take your time in studying all what the profession really entails.
Table of Content
- Duties of a Writer and their Job Description
- How Long Does It Take to Become a Writer?
What is a Writer?
A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays and essays as well as various utilitarian forms such as reports and news articles. Writing is one of the few professions with various fields of specialization and that is why the profession is having a large amount of job practitioners.
Duties of a Writer and their Job Description
As a writer, who takes writing as a profession, your major clients are your readers and it is necessary that you put them into consideration before discharging your writing work. However, the duties of a writer includes but not limited to the following:
- Writing individual pieces, including using the technical skills of writing and being able to structure and plan individual projects
- Editing, revising and reviewing work especially in response to feedback from their clients
- Managing the business side of writing including maintaining financial records, checking contracts and submitting invoices and tax returns.
- Working to tight deadlines, especially for theatre, screen and radio
- Researching the market including reading relevant publications or blogs, and staying up to date with writing that is being produced in your chosen field
- Marketing including maintaining an online presence through a website, blog or social media presence
- Liaising with publishers, agents, script editors, producers and directors
- Teaching writing in further or higher education settings, running workshops privately or running a blog to enhance the profession
- networking with other writers, as well as others involved in the industry such as publishers, booksellers and organizers of literary events
Tools and Equipment of the Trade for Writers
To write passionately is to certify any writing quest. And to become a professional writer, a writer needs to get some equipment. The tool needed by a writer to satisfy his clients includes but not limited to the following:
- A conspicuous and noticeable writing space
- Writing materials like pen and book
- Internet connection
- Sustainable power supply
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Facts, Figures and Labor Market Situation for Writers
There is always a topic to write on in many countries of the world on daily basis and it is everyday that people write, especially in countries like United State of America, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada where there are various topics to write on. The profession of a writer is dwindling as the number of writers is growing exponentially on daily basis coupled with the fact that this is no specific regulation for people to indulge in the writing profession.
- According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistic, the writing profession is expected to grow by 3 percent from 2012 to 2022; this projection is slower than the rate an average profession could grow. There is poor projection for the writing profession due to the exorbitant number of people practicing the writing profession.
- Despite slower average employment growth for the profession, online publications and services are growing in number and sophistication, spurring demand for writers and authors, especially those with web and multimedia experience.
- Strong competition is expected for most job openings, given that many people are attracted to this occupation. Competition for jobs with established newspapers and magazines will be particularly strong because employment in the publishing industry is projected.
- Writers and authors who have adapted to online media and are comfortable writing for and working with a variety of electronic and digital tools would have an advantage in finding work.
Impact of Internet Technology on the Writing Profession
- The internet and technology is contributing positive impact to the profession in the sense that writers can easily go online to source for information and make research that would make them certify any writing quest. With the help of internet and technology, writers especially freelancers can create an account online and get employed by clients that is interested in their services.
- On the other hand, the internet and technology is inhibiting the growing of the writing profession in the sense that people now stay online to source for information that would allow them to do their writing works by themselves perfectly, just as a professional writer they could hire would do for them. Another issue is that people can now train themselves online to become a good writer just by watching tutorial videos and reading materials online.
Career ideas / Sub-sectors That Exist Within the Writing Niche
Professional Bodies and Associations for Writers
- Mystery Writers of America
- American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs
- National Writers Association
- Professional Writers Association of Canada
- Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB)
- Association of British science Writers (ABSW)
- Australian Society of Authors
- Australian Writers Guild
- American Writers Guild
Benefits of Becoming a Writer
- Remembering things: Writing can make you to remember things you have forgotten. Writing is like opening an old photo album because your pen exposes feelings and details you have forgotten.
- Learning enhancement: Writing encourages a specific style of personal development. As a writer, you will get to learn and build on ideas even when knowledge is lacking on them.
- Happiness: According to experts, writing is one of the few professions that offer lots of satisfaction and happiness to the practitioners. You need to know the happiness that always fills the heart of writers whenever they successfully execute a writing quest.
- Creativity: When one begins to write and master the art, there is the likelihood to become really creative with words.
- Make Money: When you have decided to become a writing professional, one of the things that you can boast of is wealth. This may take a while, but in the long run you are sure to comfortable pay your bills.
Factors Discouraging People from Becoming Writers
Despite its numerous benefits, the job of a writer is not as easy as some people might think it is. A writer often strives hard to satisfy his clients and readers and just as it is not easy to please people; it is not easy for writers to satisfy the need of their clients. However, the factors discouraging people from practicing writing profession includes but not limited to the following:
- Time Consuming: Writing can be time consuming in most of the time, as it requires a lot of editing before one could finally comes up with an error-free write up. Writing a novel can be the most time consuming because you would still be on it even after several days.
- No Holiday: Writing is one of the few professions that offer no holiday for the practitioners. Writers always work virtually every hour to meet up with deadlines.
- Scarce Job: just because of the unfavorable labor market that is troubling the writing profession. There have been few job opportunities for the practitioners in recent time, even though those practicing the profession are increasing on daily basis.
- Zero Mistakes: Any error or mistake that occurs in any writing work can render the whole content useless and the writer would suffer greatly for it, as he could be seen as inefficient of holding the work. The writer could even lose his job for any simple mistake.
How Much Do Writers Earn Monthly/Annually in the united states, Australia, Canada and UK?
It is extremely difficult to determine accurately, the amount earned by Writers especially in different countries of the world due to the nature of their job. We will thus examine the salary earned by Writers especially in the United States as a precursor for what a Writer could earn anywhere in the World.
- In 2013, the BLS noted an annual median salary of $57,750 for these professionals. The BLS reported that, as of May 2014, technical writers earned a mean salary of $71,950. Technical writers with the highest average salaries worked in California ($84,960), Connecticut ($81,330), Maryland ($80,010), District of Columbia ($79,950) and Washington State ($79,890).
- Likewise, approximate annual salaries for authors and writers range from $21,000 for the bottom ten percent to $85,000 for the top ten percent. In 2002, middle earnings were upwards to around $43,000. Salaries tended to be higher in advertising service industries and lower for publications.
- For editors, the salary ranges from $24,000 for the bottom ten percent to $77,000 for the top ten percent. In 2002, middle earnings approximated $41,000 for all editors, including those in publication industries.
- Approximate annual salaries for technical writers range from $30,000 for the bottom ten percent to nearly $81,000 for the top ten percent of workers. In 2002, approximate middle earnings were $51,000, for all technical writers, including those in computer systems design.
The same is applicable to other countries of the World especially in the united kingdom, Australia and Canada.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Writer?
Becoming a writer, doesn’t require a specific number of years. This is because even many persons are writers but do not go through the rigors of educational requirements. But, if you plan to become employed by a company as a writer, you will usually need a bachelor’s degree in English or a related field as a minimum requirement. Even if the job does not specifically require a degree, you’ll need one in order to be competitive in the field. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in four years.
Also Publishing companies who hire writers to write textbooks or other specialized material may require that your degree be in the field about which you are writing. Journalists cover current stories, and in many cases, engage in investigative reporting. They are expected to write using a specific style and must abide by the ethical guidelines of their profession.
Their work must be factually correct and very precise, even when written on a tight deadline. Generally, magazines and newspapers will not hire journalists who do not have an educational background in journalism or a related field. Count on going to school for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, which is typically the minimum necessary to land a job at a magazine or news organization. The same is also true for other forms of Writing. But basically, it takes a Minimum of four (4) years to become a Writer.
Educational Requirements to Become a Professional Writer
There are two basic things you need to be a writer:
- Knowledge of your topic
- Enough understanding of the rules of writing to put together an article or book that readers will understand
A bachelor’s degree is a good starting point for an aspiring writer. Your major should be determined by the type of writing you wish to do. It is safe to say that, the degrees a Writer can undertake to have the requisite educational requirement vary and it includes: Journalism Degree, Creative Writing Degree, Technical Writing Degree and Specialized Degree
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s degree programs in English, journalism or communications offer preparation for this career. Programs that focus on specific areas of writing, such as screenwriting or playwriting are also available. Individuals with writing ability and an undergraduate degree in a specific field may consider technical writing training.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience: Many writers start at smaller publications and work their way up to larger and more prestigious organizations as they gain experience. Journalists start at small newspapers and move to larger papers or magazines. Some newspaper and magazine writers move forward to write books. Copywriters start on local ads and move to national accounts with experience. Employers may prefer that technical writers gain experience in the technical field before entering into technical writing for that field.
Step 3: Pursue Graduate Studies: It is not required for professional writers to have a graduate degree. However, in some instances, a master’s degree can improve a candidate’s marketability. Technical writers with an undergraduate degree in computer science may find a graduate degree in journalism or communications helpful. An individual with an English degree may find a graduate degree in communications will give them a competitive edge as a copywriter. Additionally, a master’s degree program often requires a thesis or project that can be used as a work sample.
Certifications Required to Become a Professional Writer
The certification required to become a Writer vary from countries, while some professionals choose to earn certifications through nationally recognized professional organizations.
Certification programs may include eligibility requirements. For example, the Society for Technical Communication (STC) requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as English or computer science and three to four years of experience. Applicants with a high school diploma can qualify with five years of experience. The Certified Professional Technical Communicator credential is awarded once applicants’ work samples are approved by the STC.
Other organizations, like the Procedure Professionals Association, require applicants to complete its Writer Certification Program which entails a 3-day class followed by an exam.
Career Opportunities / Industries a Writer Can Work in?
As it is known, Writers are one of the most sought after professional in the world today, due to the nature of their job, and the fact that it is a Must to write in many places of work. Some of the industries a Writer can work in/the jobs a writer can do, include but not limited to the following:
- Creativity Coaches institutes
- Writing Coaches institutes
- Movie industry
- Music industry
- Creative Writing Instructor
- Television Station
- Radio Station
- Creative writers, poets, and lyricists write original material for either performance or publication. Novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights on the one hand.
- Nonfiction writers create original material or may be provided a topic to research by a publisher or editor. They gather all of the research and material they need, and convey a story through writing.
- Copywriters work with advertising or promotional material to prepare it for broadcast or publication.
- Newsletter writers create material to be distributed to different organization’s members and clients, firm employees, and the general public
- Freelance writers sell their material to different advertising firms, publications, and department agencies, or a publisher may contract them to write a certain article, book, or about a product.
- Editors revise and rewrite a writer’s material. Their work, depending on their employer, may include planning appropriate book, journal, or magazine contents for specific audiences. They select which material is most appealing, and edit several drafts of material while adding much commentary and suggestion to improve it.
- Technical writing is becoming increasingly dependent on having a specialized business, scientific, or engineering knowledge. Some people are skilled enough to learn these skills on the job, while others transfer from their technical jobs.
Can You Become a Writer by Taking Online Courses?
Yes, it is possible to become a Writer by taking online courses. While, the courses online for writers vary, it depends solely on the type of writing that one wants to delve into. Some of the courses that can be undertaken by writers online may include:
- Creative Writing
- Technical Writing
- Non-fiction Writing, etc.
It is worthy to note that most of these courses online for writers are completely available online and touches all aspects of writing a person wants to delve into.
Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Better Writer
- You must be well read: This you must do, not just in the fields that interest you – writers pull from an astonishing variety of sources for their work. If you do not read, you will never become a writer.
- Imaginative: It sort of goes without saying, but an imagination is critical. Feed your imagination withbooks, movies, images, people and places. If you have no raw material, you’ve nothing to create with.
- Critical: A writer must be critical of his own work. Do not think that everything you write is golden. The images you see in your head may never match what you finally put down on paper
- Take a typing class: Some writers still work with a pencil and paper; however, the vast majority type on a keyboard. And those who have taken a proper typing class are better equipped to get the words down on paper at blinding speed.
- Disciplined: This is a job. Treat it like one. You must write every day, you may throw it away the following day, but you have to write every day. And just like any other job, the more you do it, the better you become.
- Passionate: A writer must not be under any illusions: this is a tough job. No one is forcing you to do this; you’re doing it because you love it, because you have to, because it is part of you. You must be passionate about the work.
- Patient: Writers ultimately must become the most patient people in the world. Everything takes its own sweet time. A book takes a year to write, publishers take 18 months to get it onto the shelves, and editors take months to reply, agents even longer.
- Ambitious: You have to want this. Really want it. There is a cost to writing and it is a personal cost: the family you do not get to spend time with, the friends you rarely see, the movies you will miss, the television programs you will never watch, the books you will never find the time to read etc.
- Develop a Thick Skin: As a Writer, once your book is out in the wild, it is fair game for everyone. You will get good reviews and bad ones – and you will only remember the bad ones. By all means, read the reviews and if the reviewer has a point, then take it on board, but don’t take it personally.
- Be Creative: It is very important that writers are creative. This is so that they can handle whatever writing project they are faced with, with the best interpretation skills they have.
- Deliver in Time: They say practise makes perfect. One of the things that will make you a success in the writing profession is the ability to deliver in time. So, when you are now a master of the art, then there is likelihood to be fast about delivery.
Tips and Advice That Will Help Advance your Career Towards Becoming a Better Writer
- Create a portfolio.Even entry-level writers will need to be able to show examples of the work they have done. This can include writing for an internship, local paper or play. School projects can also be used as work samples to build a portfolio.
- Learn to write for electronic publications. According to the BLS, there is a higher demand for writers for online publications as print media is declining. Learning to produce online content can make writers more marketable.
- Take business courses. Since most writers are typically self-employed, courses in business help writers understand how to manage a small business or sole proprietorship.
- Build a following. Writers can advance by building a reputation through such arenas as a blog or social media. Screenwriters or playwrights may produce video for online users.
- Learn to cope with rejection. Editors, producers, publishers, critics and audiences often critique a writer’s work. Freelance writers regularly have story ideas rejected and/or story ideas revised so constructively handling rejection and criticism is necessary for this career path.
- Update Yourself: Do not hesitate to go on the internet to get skills update that will help you get really vast at what you do.
- Look for long-term contracts-Depending on the scale at which you want to write; it is important to get long-term writing contracts that would fetch really good money