So you have an English degree but you're not sure what to do with it? Or have you just reached a point in your life where you need to do something different? Maybe you have been scribbling ideas on napkins, just like J. K. Rowling. You’ve been looking at writing careers on the interweb and wondering:
Could this be me? Can I do this?
There’s fear in wanting to write. There’s fear because nobody ever seems to have a good word to say about writing careers.
‘You have to be super-duper exceptionally talented.’
‘Say goodbye to a social life, and a big fat hello to self-inflicted isolation.’
‘There’s no point in even trying because there’s nothing out there.’
Would it help if I offered you some reassurance?
You don’t have to be a famous author to have a satisfying writing career. If you have drive, a will to succeed, and a grip on language, you are going to be okay.
So you want to write. But what will you write? How will you make enough money to survive? To have a career in writing, you need to know what’s out there. So, without further delay, here are 5 awesome writing careers for those of you who love to write.
Perhaps one of the most sort-after creative writing jobs, it feels only right to start with the Novelist. Even with so many books lining the shelves of libraries, bookstores and our own bedside cabinets, we are filled with the desire to write.
The desire to tell more stories.
They say that we all have a book inside of us (who ‘they’ is still remains a mystery), and in order for that to come to fruition, a Novelist writes. They build fascinating characters and intriguing worlds; educating, thrilling and inspiring us all.
Attend classes, take online courses, read novels, make notes. Learn about structure, plot and character development (or just wing it…that sometimes works.)
Enter competitions. You know that angsty coming-of-age piece you wrote when you were going through a rough time? Enter that.
2. Review Writer
Ever seen a play, owned a gadget, or listened to some Indie album on a vinyl you purchased from Oxfam, and thought, ‘Hey, people need to know how amazing this’?
Similarly, have you ever seen a play, owned a gadget, or listened to some Indie album on vinyl you purchased from Oxfam, and thought, ‘Hey, people need to know how absolutely awful this is’?
Review writing could may be for you.
Some may take an outrageous, comical approach. Others will be more detailed and informative. Whatever your slant, writing reviews on everything and anything is fantastic if your aim is to offer potential buyers/viewers/listeners a real opinion, and an idea as to whether that new potato masher with an added spin power, is really right for them.
Start off with a blog or video sharing platform, such as on YouTube. If you are honest and engaging, building a loyal viewer base, companies with send you products/tickets/you name it to test and review for free. (Money will come around later.)
3. Freelance Writer
Studies show that over half the American workforce will be freelance by 2020. That's literally just two years away!
Being a freelance writer is an attractive - and potentially lucrative - career for many. You can work remotely and you get to set your own hours.You can also choose the jobs you work on.
Myself, I've worked on novels for clients, as well as blog posts and emails.
Of course, the lack of security is what scares some people, while many aren't sure how to make a start. Make sure to download my 16 writing tips for aspiring freelance writers here.
4. Advertising Copywriter
The fast paced and exciting world of advertising offers an abundance of careers for those who wish to write. Working alongside art directors, advertising copywriters will construct text for a variety of platforms, in order to promote a product or service, including:
- Online advertisements
The art of persuasion is very important here, as well as a keen eye for detail. Words are so powerful in their ability to sway, to influence, to impact. This role is much more than assigning words to an image or video.
Get to grips with the language of advertising.
Freelance writing jobs are perfect for Copywriters - Advertising or not. Freelancers are self-employed, hired by companies for a one-off or contracted basis to create content they need.
5. Social Media Specialist
The world thrives on all things Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest. You name it, there is money to be made on each platform.
A social media specialist works to promote the products and services of businesses and brands, reaching out to audiences across the globe (often in as little as 140 characters).
While you yourself can use social media to endorse your products (published work for example), or freelance writing services, a social media specialist adapts to the needs of other brands.
Much like the world of advertising, social media is a way of persuading others to reap the benefits of something. But, as anyone on social media knows, you need other skills too.
You need to know what people want and how to show them that they want it. And in such an ever-changing world, keeping up to date with social media is key.
Build your own social media platforms first, so that potential clients know that you know your stuff.
Learn to be succinct. No rambling. Straight to the point content.
Search for Freelance writing jobs that require a social media manager or specialist.
Columnists are, in a nutshell, news reporters without the constraints of objectivity. In other words, columnists can write whatever the heck they feel. They can be as opinionated about a topic as they wish. Sound good so far?
Maybe a Columnist career is for you.
Working for magazines, newspapers, blogs and other online content, Columnists can write a variety of topics. Most choose to specialize: News, Politics, general advice, lifestyle, etc.
A Columnist may even write about writing (just as I am doing now!)
Read columns, write columns; write on topics you are genuinely opinionated and passionate about.
Columnists can start out as Freelancers, so look for one-off jobs that just require a column or two - when they see what you can do, they’re sure to want more!
Want to learn more about how to kick-start your freelance writing career? Click the link for 16 EPIC writing tips