Writers produce literary compositions, articles, reports, books and other texts. This covers various forms of writing including:
- life writing;
- magazine and newspaper articles;
- screen and radio;
- scripts for theatre;
- short stories;
- web content.
New media is also opening doors for writers in areas such as mobile phone content and computer game scripts. Most writers work freelance and are self-employed.
- researching the market including reading relevant publications or blogs, and staying up to date with writing that is being produced in your chosen field;
- selecting subject matter based on personal or public interest, or commissioned by a publisher or agent;
- undertaking background research including desk-based research and conducting site visits or interviews;
- 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;
- working to tight deadlines, especially for theatre, screen and radio;
- submitting material for publication in the required and expected format;
- networking with other writers, as well as others involved in the industry such as publishers, booksellers and organizers of literary events;
- liaising with publishers, agents, script editors, producers and directors;
- finding, pursuing and maintaining knowledge of publication opportunities;
- marketing, including maintaining an online presence through a website, blog or social media presence;
- talking about your work at events and conducting readings or book signings;
- teaching writing in further or higher education settings or running workshops privately;
- critiquing the work of other writers including sometimes providing mentoring or coaching services;
- managing the business side of writing including maintaining financial records, checking contracts and submitting invoices and tax returns.
You can become a writer as a university graduate or a school leaver as there are no formal academic qualifications needed. Previous experience from published articles, freelance work or writing competitions can be useful, although not essential.
Qualifications in any of the following subjects may increase your chances:
- communication and media studies;
- creative writing;
- English and literature studies;
- performing arts.
- literary skills;
- a clear, entertaining style;
- the ability to work to tight deadlines, while also maintaining attention to detail;
- excellent research skills, both literary and business-related;
- self-discipline and time management skills;
- the ability to work alone for long periods of time;
- networking skills and the ability to develop media contacts;
- marketing skills and an understanding of new media as a tool for self-promotion;
- IT, web, typing and editing skills;
- the necessary financial skills to manage yourself in the employment market;
- the ability to understand and accept criticism;
- determination, resilience and enthusiasm.