What is a Writer?
As a writer, you will need to be innately creative, organised, disciplined and have a real passion for writing. You will also need to have the research skills needed to pull together a successful story.
You can choose to either write fiction, non-fiction, or a blend of both. Types of writing can include:
- Compare and contrast
- Narrative Writing
Typical responsibilities for writers include:
- Researching content and background information
- Developing contracts
- Proofreading text and taking on feedback from clients – this includes drafting, writing and editing.
- Working alongside designers and photographers
- Administrative tasks, including keeping track of expenses and tax returns
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary is £28,377.
- When starting out you should expect to earn a low salary. The median earning for professional writers is usually under £10,500 a year – with only 13.7% of writers earning their income solely from writing
- Those who dedicate all their time to writing can expect a median salary of £3,000 a year
- However, more established and well-publicised writers can be earning significant salaries, sometimes into six-digit figures.
While you can usually determine your own hours, these will may be long and unsociable. Often, writers will use the evenings and weekends to work as they may be juggling another job at first. However, if organised and passionate, writers sometimes adopt a disciplined approach where they will work normal office hours and avoid distractions.
What to expect
A typical day as a writer includes searching online for job boards for opportunities and applying for freelance work. Obtaining regular clients and building your relationship with them. Proofreading and editing work based off client feedback. Your work could include, working for books, magazines, website content etc.
You can study any degree to become a writer, however these subjects may help:
- Creative writing
- Communication studies
- Performing arts
- English language or literature
You can be a writer without a degree. However, most degrees will help with your writing skills and provide you with the practice to master your grammar and language.
must have skills:
- Communication skills
- Organisational skills
- Creative writing skills
- Research skills
- Editing and proofreading skills
It may be beneficial to have some work experience in related fields such as bookselling, publishing, film or television may be useful to develop your knowledge and skillset but it is not necessary.
However, as a writer you should build a portfolio of work, whether that be published or unpublished, to showcase your capabilities when speaking to publishers or contacts. It is incredibly competitive and challenging to get a publishing deal. Students wanting to write can bolster their experience at university by writing for the university newspaper or magazine or becoming a part of the student drama club or local radio. There will also be competitions at university or in the local community for creative writing that you can enter.
You will usually be working on a freelance or self-employed basis, so there are very few employment opportunities – unless you want to work for a magazine or newspaper. If you want to be a fiction or non-fiction writer, you will need an agent before you go to a publisher as most publishers will not consider work from a writer if it does not go through an agent. To get an agent, you will have to submit a section of your best work with a synopsis and cover letter.
You will need to make sure the agent you are approaching is the correct agent for what you want to achieve. Take a look at who they have represented before and whether that aligns with your ambitions. An alternative option is to self-publish or produce an e-book. As technological advancements change the industry, this is becoming an increasingly popular method to get your work in front of the public as e-books become popular.
There is not much available training for writers. However, there are ways to improve your writing. For example:
- Reading more
- Starting a blog
- Enroll on an online writing course
- Start a journal
The key to becoming a writer is to stay committed. As your profile increases there will be opportunities to earn an income through teaching, lecturing and appearances alongside your writing endeavours. In order to be a successful writer, you must be resilient and be consistent with your output of work. It’s also important to have market knowledge, keeping a close eye on what is and isn’t selling and how you can meet this demand.
UWS’s BA Journalism will teach you everything you need to know to become a savvy, multimedia-skilled journalist and reporter. Learn the skills to drop the latest breaking news story. Underpinned by theoretical insight into ethical and effective journalism, you’ll study news reporting, develop interview techniques, and hone your writing skills to meet the practical demands of today’s fast-paced news environment. You’ll also have the option to specialise in either Sports or Magazine Journalism as you progress through the programme.