A Writer’s job consists on creating original content in the form of texts. Their work is usually featured in books, manuals, newspapers, magazines and pamphlets, among others. Writers may be employed by media agencies, governmental offices, publishing firms, academic institutions, and several other businesses. They can also work on a freelance basis, selling their texts to the press or to editorials. Writers that choose to take on a literary approach to their craft and publish books are known as Authors.
A crucial aspect of a Writer’s job is research. When writing pieces like reviews, editorials, articles, or any other informative text, Writers need to have a good understanding of the subject they’re conveying. It is essential that Writers verify facts and sources as reliable and true in order to create accurate texts.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Writers are required to complete.
- Researching facts and sources thoroughly in order to provide the most accurate information:
- Developing a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, which could be a person (e.g. biography), product (e.g. user guide), or event, among others;
- studying, analyzing and interpreting notes, illustration, schemas, among others; and
- researching and gaining a greater understanding of the social and political intricacies of the subject at hand.
- Interacting with clients in order to understand the task at hand:
- Defining the client’s requirements and expectations.
- Writing content addressed to a specific audience, taking into account their particularities (e.g. scholars in the case of an academic paper or members of the media in the case of a speech):
- Converting their knowledge on the subject into an understandable and accurate document;
- developing engaging and thoughtful content for a multiple of uses and in many different styles;
- being familiar with readers’ interests to create a text that meets their expectations;
- following an easy-to-read structure and using a clear vocabulary and syntax to convey complex information to readers;
- using technical terminology when necessary;
- reviewing the accuracy and logical structure of the document; and
- proofreading every piece to guarantee they’re error-free.
- Writing abstracts or summaries of technical-scientific documents using an understandable structure and language.
- Modifying and editing the material according to the client or Editor’s feedback:
- Liaising with Editors to restructure and adapt the material when necessary.
- Ensuring deadlines are met.
- Gathering information and verifying facts to ensure their authenticity.
- Writing non-fiction and factual pieces (e.g. biographies, user manuals, and speeches).
- Writing articles, columns, or features for newspapers or magazines.
- Presenting drafts to Editors and clients for feedback and approval.
- Making any required adjustment for their work to be published.
The average Writer salary in USA is $54,649 per year or $28 per hour. This is around 1.9 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $38,000 while most experienced workers make up to $77,000. These results are based on 1,991 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent computer skills and high levels of adaptability:
- Being proficient in word processing programs and editing tools.
- Strong grasp of the language, grammar structures, and copy-editing.
- Analytical and investigative skills:
- Effectively researching, reading, and interpreting information.
- Outstanding creativity:
- Being able to adapt to customers’ needs in a proactive and strategic manner;
- being able to create original and attractive content; and
- being a creative thinker and having an innovative vision.
- Impeccable communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially in writing, in order to put their ideas into words; and
- learning new and complex concepts and terminology in order to write specialized texts.
- High levels of awareness towards social and cultural differences and sensitivities:
- Being able to use a form of language that appeals and is understandable to different audiences.
- Great attention to detail and high levels of thoroughness:
- Having outstanding proofreading and editing skills so as to accurately and efficiently review documents.
- Strong organizational and time management skills:
- Being able to comply with established deadlines;
- being capable of working under pressure and within tight deadlines;
- being versatile, flexible, and willing to work within constantly changing priorities; and
- having strong multitasking skills; being able to work independently and as part of a team in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
A bachelor’s degree is the most common requirement for a full-time job as a Writer. Due to the fact that writing skills are essential in this occupation, many employers prefer candidates specialized in English, Journalism, Translation, Languages, Literature, or Communications. Technical Writers usually require a university degree in the area of specialization, such as Computer Science or Engineering, as well as experience related to that topic and having acquired an extensive knowledge of stylebooks and other reference materials.
Additionally, being knowledgeable about technology and computers is always considered a plus as Writers must establish a communication channel with colleagues and employers, especially when working from home on online texts and publications. Some employers even require the candidate to have at least 2 years of experience working in an office environment as a full-time Writer. Internships and personal blogs, as well as writing for university or high school newspapers or plays may also be recognized as job experience.
Since most Writers work on a freelance basis, they are paid per assignment. This means that sometimes they must take on several projects at once and be able to prioritize work, managing their time efficiently in order to meet deadlines. Therefore, Writers may be required to work nights, weekends, and even holidays.
Although not obligatory, Writers may be certified by important organizations as a way to demonstrate and support their skills. The American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) is one of many institutions available that offers writing certificates, in this case, the Certified Grant Writer credential.