A Seriously Long List of Jobs That Involve Creative Writing
Who says you can’t make any money from creative writing?
Okay, so a lot of people. But they’re wrong. If you’re a creative writing major, have a degree in writing, or simply identify this skill as the best thing you’ve got to offer the world, there are a ton of ways to build a career with your talents.
In fact, writing skills are way more valuable than your Uncle Richie realizes (or whichever relative scoffed at your dreams last Thanksgiving). Anyone with a gift for words has the ability to communicate vital information, motivate others into action, and help others feel seen and understood.
The survival of many industries depends on their ability to connect with human beings. They need brilliant wordsmiths. And here’s the really exciting part: not everyone can do what you do as well as you can do it.
So no, being a writer does not mean you’re sentenced to a life as a “starving artist.”
That said, some creative writing jobs are easier to snag than others. There’s also a difference in pay across different writing gigs. Some jobs will be easier to fill with AI in the future, and—the important detail—some will be more in line with your vision for your writing career.
So here’s a comprehensive list of opportunities and considerations to help you narrow down your focus. You’re about to find out:
- What writing jobs are out there
- The skills you need to land work in the creative writing field
- Which industries are looking for folks like you
- What type of education or experience you need to get started
Let’s start by taking a look at your many, many options.
Career Opportunities in Creative Writing
Before we launch into this very long list of creative writing jobs, I’d like to clarify the term “freelance writer.”
A freelance writer is a contractor. Rather than hiring them on as employees, an individual or business hires a freelance writer to complete specific tasks within their area of expertise.
If you choose to work as a freelancer rather than an employee, you’d be your own boss. You’d set your own rates, determine your own schedule, and decide which projects to take on and which to skip. You’d also be free to work with as many different clients as you’d like.
The downside is that you don’t get benefits like paid time off, health insurance, and employer contributions to your retirement fund. You’re responsible for paying quarterly taxes directly to the government, as no one withdraws them from your paycheck.
Depending on the specific creative writing career you’re building, you might also need to look into professional liability insurance or setting up an LLC. These topics get complicated and vary according to where you live, so I’m not even going to try to give you advice on any of that. It’s better to consult your accountant, mentor, and/or fellow freelance writers in your area.
The main thing I want to convey is that if you choose to freelance, you have to think of yourself as an actual business. That’s what you are after all. It comes with a lot of freedom and extra responsibilities. So weigh your options carefully.
One more quick note:
Salary Ranges Are Tough to Nail Down
I’ve included an average salary range for each of the job descriptions below. These ranges are huge and the numbers are almost meaningless. I put them there because if I were you, I’d want to see them so I could at least get a sense of the income one might make from these different writing jobs.
But the standard salary for each job can vary widely depending on the size of the company hiring you and the cost of living in your (or their) area.
The income range gets massive when you add freelancers to the mix. A rookie freelance copywriter who’s just building their portfolio and client list might make $20,000 in a year. Meanwhile, an in-demand freelance writer could make well into six figures and out-earn an in-house copywriter.
So use the salary information I provide to get a general idea of what’s possible. For more concrete numbers, check out job listings in your area and talk to people who already do the kind of work you want to do.
And what kind of work is that? Let’s decide! Here are a ton of ways you can make money as a writer.
Content Writing Jobs
Content is all the media that encourages consumers to engage with a brand—blogs, videos, social media, podcasts, you name it. Creative writers like you and I might prefer to think of those things as art, but in business-speak, it’s content.
And as a professional content writer, you’ll have to ride that line between creativity and capitalism. After some looking around, you should be able to find an employer or client who wants you to bring some creative vision to your work. But you’ll also have to care about which creative strategies get buyers to bite.
More on that in a bit, though. For now, here are the most common content writing jobs.
A content writer focuses more on long-form writing that builds a relationship with the target audience. In other words, content writing is less about making a sales pitch and more about being helpful and conveying the brand’s personality.
Common content writing tasks include:
- Email newsletters
- Articles and blogs
- Case studies
Average Salary: $40,000-$70,000 per year
A copywriter is more involved with the kind of creative writing that says, “Hey, you should spend money on this.” They compose things like:
- Website copy
- Landing pages
- Print and online ads
- Sales emails
- Sales pages and mailers
In many businesses, the content writer and the copywriter are the same person. But if you freelance as a copywriter specializing in one specific area—sales emails, for example—get familiar with the other materials your client is putting out to make sure your sales copy builds on the relationship they're already building through content.
Average Salary: $60,000-$120,000 per year
Technical writing is basically “how-to” writing. It includes:
- Instruction manuals
- Explainer video scripts
- White papers
- Spec sheets
Technical writing might be your jam if you’re great at grasping complex concepts and clarifying them for the rest of us. It’s truly a magical writing skill that involves simplifying and being thorough at the same time.
If you can pull that off, it’s only a matter of time before you’re considered an irreplaceable rockstar in someone’s business.
Annual Salary: $60,000-$90,000 per year
Social Media Writer
You’ll sometimes see social media fall under the umbrella of content writing, but it’s also its own position in many businesses.
As you can probably guess, a great social media writer comes up with brilliant captions that engage audiences on social platforms. But there’s more to it than that.
To do this job well, you have to be on top of social media trends so you can jump on challenges and hashtags while they’re still fresh. You also need to understand which customer segments are more likely to be on which platforms and how to engage with them.
Depending on the size of the company you’re working with, there’s a good chance you’ll also have to come up with the visuals and create the videos that accompany your brilliant captions.
If you love social media, you’ll be in heaven. If you don’t, you probably won’t be able to fake it.
Average Salary: $50,000-$80,000 per year
Journalism and Media Jobs
In this category of creative writing jobs, we’re looking at everything that has to do with news and mass communication.
I know. That includes a lot. So let’s get to it.
A journalist investigates, researches, and writes the news for print and/or online publications. That’s a tidy little sentence to describe a writing job that involves a lot of specialized skills and a strict code of ethics.
While journalism absolutely belongs under the heading of “creative writing careers,” it’s an area where you can’t get fast and loose with your creativity. Journalists are responsible for revealing the truth to the public. Ideally, they do this without guiding the reader’s opinion or embellishing actual events.
The ability to compose engaging articles that inspire thoughtful questions without pushing an agenda is a remarkable skill in and of itself. Successful journalists also tend to be curious, driven, resourceful, and fast writers.
This is one of the few writing jobs where having a degree (usually in journalism) is relatively important, especially if you hope to work for a notable publication.
Average Salary: $60,000-100,000 per year
A broadcast writer prepares the news for television, radio, and online media. In other words, they take all the deets about what’s going on in the world and turn them into scripts to be read by news anchors.
Like a journalist, a broadcast writer faces the challenging task of conveying information in an unbiased way. They also need to be adept at writing pieces intended to be read aloud—scripts that flow naturally for the speaker and can be quickly understood by the audience.
Much like journalists, broadcast writers must be able to work quickly, often under pressure. If you like the idea of being in front of the camera yourself, this creative writing career path can include conducting interviews, attending press conferences, and reporting the news.
Average Salary: $40,000-$100,000 per year
A scriptwriter is anyone who writes a script for a play, movie, radio show, podcast, video game, or television show. Scriptwriters who write plays are called playwrights, movie writers are more commonly called screenwriters, and television writers are best known as—get this—television writers.
Playwrights and screenwriters almost always work on a freelance basis. Much like traditionally published book authors, they work with a literary agent and are constantly trying to sell their next project.
Television authors also need representation, though they’re usually hired onto the writing staff of a TV show as an employee. There is such a thing as freelance television writing where a writer steps in to pen a single episode of a show, but this practice isn’t as common as it used to be.
All of these jobs have the potential to be deeply fulfilling for a creative writer. They come with fun challenges like learning how to tell a great story purely through visuals and dialogue.
Keep in mind that—much like becoming a successful author—it takes a long time to build a solid career in this field. There are a lot of gatekeepers and frequent rejection.
Film, theater, and television are also much more collaborative art forms than book publishing. Whatever you write, you have to be prepared for producers, directors, set designers, sound designers, actors, and editors to put their fingerprints on it, too. It’s entirely possible that the end product will be quite different from what you imagined.
In other words, if you’re precious about your work, this might not be your field.
Average Salary: $40,000-$80,000 per year
Publishing and Editing Jobs
Feel like your true home is in the book world? Then you’re looking for something in publishing.
When we think about creative writing jobs in publishing, we usually think of authors first. After all, that’s the dream for a lot of creative writers. But it’s no secret that authorship comes with rejection, requires a ton of patience, and doesn’t always cover the bills.
The good news is, you can still build your career around books even if you’d prefer to pass on all the uncertainty that comes with being an author. This field has plenty of other opportunities to flex those creative writing skills.
But we’ll get to those in a moment. First, let’s look at the best-known writing job in publishing.
As I mentioned before, authors are almost always freelance writers. This means that whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish, you have to think of yourself as a business.
Publishing traditionally means working with a publishing house to release your book into the world. This process usually involves finding an agent who then pitches your book to publishers and negotiates a book deal for you. We have a guide to the entire process right here.
Self-publishing means you produce and market your book yourself. This publishing model has boomed in both popularity and earning potential in the past decade and change. You must have an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed on this publishing path, though. You can learn more about it here.
Whichever path they choose, successful authors build platforms and a following through channels like social media, email newsletters, and speaking engagements. Those platforms help them develop relationships with readers, give them more visibility, and make them more appealing to publishers.
You also need to some degree of sales smarts, whether you self-publish and take on the full responsibility of marketing your book or you decide to publish traditionally, which requires creating a compelling book pitch that gets agents and publishers onboard.
Average Salary: I can’t even give you a range in good conscience. So many factors influence author earnings, and only a small percentage of authors make a living on books alone. I recommend checking out this article for a clearer understanding of what you can make as an author.
As Doug can tell you, there are several kinds of editing you could do, including:
- Developmental editing
- Line editing
- Sensitivity reading
Each type of editing evaluates a different aspect of a written work. These options also allow you to zero in on your greatest strength as a creative writer. Are you the sultan of story structure? You might be interested in developmental editing. Are you a research rockstar and a stickler for accuracy? Maybe fact-checking is for you.
This is a job you can do as an employee of a publishing house or as a freelancer. If you go the freelance route, you’ll likely be working with a lot of indie authors.
Average Salary: $60,000-$80,000 per year
Copy Editor or Proofreader
Copy editors are magical beings who have the kind of superhuman focus that allows them to catch tiny issues like grammar errors, misspelled words, inconsistencies in story details, and the like.
It’s true that AI is getting better and better at catching these mistakes. That’s why Dabble uses ProWritingAid to power grammar, spelling, and style checks. It helps creative writers prepare a draft that isn’t utterly riddled with errors.
But at this moment in time, we still can’t count on AI to catch nuanced errors, recognize clever word play, or appreciate an author’s deliberate decision to shirk old grammar rules. We still need human eyes to do this job.
Often confused with a copy editor, a proofreader is the very last person to review a book, and they look for any and all errors. If there’s a missed typo, a messed up margin, or a wonky image, they’ll flag it. Think of them as quality control.
As you likely guessed, both jobs require you to be extremely detail oriented.
Average Salary: $50,000-$90,000 per year
You probably associate this career path with sales more than creative writing. But the literary agents who succeed are the ones who understand what makes a book great.
This job is best suited for someone who’s ready to do a ton of reading and enjoys rubbing elbows. You can expect to spend plenty of time on the phone, in lunch meetings, at publishing events, and in pitch meetings. You have to be good at building relationships and love talking books.
What many creative writers don’t realize about agents is that their job also involves giving feedback on current projects and helping their clients talk through new ideas. The advice of a good agent can mean the difference between a book deal and a manuscript that never graduates beyond PDF status.
Keep in mind that it takes time to succeed in this career. As a literary agent, you’ll make 15% of what your authors earn from their books. Expect some lean years as you build your client list.
Average Salary: $50,000-$70,000 per year
As a creative writer, you’re probably great at explaining why books work. You have smart things to say about character development, plot structure, and pacing. And if you’re a fast reader—and would love to make reading part of your creative writing career—you’d probably enjoy being a book reviewer.
Book reviewers do exactly what you think they do: they review books. Many choose to specialize in a specific genre or two. Specializing can be an effective strategy when it comes to building a name for yourself and giving readers a reason to value your opinion. It’s a way of establishing yourself as a genre expert.
Just note that this isn’t an easy career to just plop into. While you can find job listings for book reviewers, there aren’t many of them. Most people who do this for a living start by writing reviews on a freelance basis or even for their own blog/social media platform.
As you build your portfolio and reputation, you can submit your reviews to other publications, monetize your own review website/podcast/vlog, or possibly land a job as an in-house reviewer for a magazine, newspaper, or online platform.
Average Salary: $20,000-$80,000 per year
We already covered what a copywriter is, so I won’t go too deep on the subject here. I just want to make sure you know that it’s possible to do copywriting work within the world of publishing.
Publishing houses have copywriters on staff to handle things like press releases, media kits, author bios, social media content, and marketing materials.
In this role, you’d be able to enjoy the stability of a marketing-focused creative writing job while still getting to think about books all day. Not too shabby.
Average Salary: $50,000-$120,000 per year
Advertising and Marketing Jobs
If you’re on the lookout for creative writing jobs that make your value as an employee easy to quantify, advertising is the place to be.
The goal of all advertising is to persuade your audience to make a purchase or take some other action that benefits the business you work for.
Modern technology makes it easier than ever to track the success of your ad copy and marketing campaigns, which means you often have access to numbers that demonstrate what the return on investment is when someone hires you.
Now, all this might sound very cold and business-y, but this is an area where creative writers thrive because your goal is the same as it would be if you were writing a novel or screenplay. You’re trying to find the best words to connect emotionally with your audience.
Not everyone can do that. You can.
Let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can do that.
Oh, look! We’re talking about copywriters again. Since we’ve already covered this, I’ll give the abbreviated explanation for the article skimmers.
An advertising copywriter writes copy (go figure) advertising a product or service to potential buyers. This includes anything that could potentially lead to a purchase, including:
- Marketing emails
- Print or online ads
- Landing pages
- Sales pages and mailers
- Web copy
Average Salary: $50,000-$120,000 per year
If you already know what a brand strategist is, you might be surprised to see this position appear on a list of creative writing jobs. Brand strategists don’t write as much as they, well, strategize brands.
This person is responsible for conducting market research, analyzing trends, creating buyer avatars, planning campaigns, and overseeing the production of marketing materials.
Depending on the size of the marketing team, a brand strategist might also write copy and content. But what makes this career a decent option for a creative writer is the storytelling aspect.
Brand strategists are responsible for translating the business’s message into a story that resonates with buyers. They also need to understand their consumer on a deeper level—a skill that comes more naturally to someone who’s spent time studying character development.
Average Salary: $60,000-$120,000 per year
Much like a brand strategist, a creative director looks at the big picture of a company’s marketing efforts. What story is being told? How can they best use the creative resources available to tell that story in an emotionally compelling way?
The creative director leads all the creative professionals on a marketing team, including copywriters, designers, and social media content creators. They make sure everyone is on the same page, telling the same story and communicating the same message.
Average Salary: $120,000-$200,000 per year
Content Marketing Specialist
Remember when we talked about content writing? This is that, plus some added responsibility.
While a content writer is usually told what to write, a content marketing specialist is the person who decides what type of content will be most effective for the business.
They strategize content like emails, blog posts, videos, and social media depending on which formats and messaging are most likely to help buyers connect with the brand.
This person also selects the SEO and analytics tools to help them make sure their strategy is effective. They watch the results closely and regularly optimize their content marketing efforts to get better performance.
And yes, a content marketing specialist might also write some or all of the content themselves.
Average Salary: $50,000-$80,000 per year
Skills Required for Creative Writing Jobs
I tried to give you some sense of the skills required to stand out in each of the creative writing jobs we just went over.
Nevertheless, if you’ve found something that interests you, I strongly suggest researching it further and connecting with someone who’s already killing it in that field. Get a sense of what it means to excel and you’ll be in a good spot to pursue your creative writing career seriously.
If you’re still not sure where you want this journey to lead, no problem! Follow your curiosity and let yourself gravitate towards the work that excites you. In the meantime nurture the following skills essential for every creative writing career.
Okay, so I’m not exactly dropping a bone-rattling truth bomb here. Of course you need strong writing skills to build a career as a creative writer. You know that. That said, some writers underestimate the importance of building on the skills they already have.
This is an issue I think tends to plague young writers the most. We catch wind of the fact that we’re “good writers” from teachers and peers and get attached to the idea that a good writer is something we already are. Like inherently.
I know I wasted a lot of energy in my early adult years worrying about whether or not people thought I was a talented writer instead of working to continuously become a better writer. Ongoing improvement is how you’ll stand out from the crowd, especially as you zero in on the type of creative writing you want to do.
If you want to be a copywriter, find a mentor and start a course on copywriting. If you dream of being a bestselling author who makes a living from books alone, join a writing group, attend writing conferences, and download this free e-book on writing a novel that rocks.
Keep sharpening those writing skills, no matter how exceptional you already are.
Research and Analysis Skills
Research and analysis sounds like a skill set that only applies in marketing and technical writing. But in all creative writing jobs, research and analysis have the same goal: understanding what it takes to connect with an audience.
Now, if you become a screenwriter or a novelist, you might not pore over metrics the way you would if you were a brand strategist. What you will do (hopefully) is consume a ton of art in your genre to understand what works.
Constantly refresh your understanding of what speaks to readers, which trends are hot, and why current bestsellers are selling so well. It’s also important to stay on top of new developments in the publishing industry and strategize your career accordingly.
And if you plan to be a self-published author, your research and analysis skills will help you make important marketing decisions.
Creativity and Imagination
If there’s one area where you have a leg-up on AI, it’s this one. Everything AI creates comes from ideas and structures that already exist. As an adaptable, creative human being, you can find unique ways to express ideas that haven’t been explored before.
This skill is essential for all the creative writing jobs we’ve discussed. The best ad writers figure out how to write copy that stands out from the competition. Great editors help writers tap into their own original voices. Even in technical writing, imagination is crucial for finding new ways to simplify complicated topics.
Communication and Collaboration Skills
There are no writing jobs that allow you to compose brilliance alone in your cave and release it into the world with no input from anyone else.
You have to be open to feedback, and in ultra-collaborative fields like screenwriting, you must be ready for the possibility that your vision won’t often be everyone’s top priority. (It hurts, I know.)
If you’re still working on building your collaboration skills, I can offer a few suggestions.
One is to make a habit of identifying what’s important to you about every project you work on. What’s motivating you? What are your goals? When you can answer those questions, you’ll be more confident gently pushing back on things you care about and more open to offering compromising when it comes to less important issues.
Another tip is to cultivate a genuine appreciation for what others can contribute. As a writer who regularly wrestles with a stubborn, foot-stomping ego, I often return to this interview with Dolly Parton for a reminder of the kind of artist I want to be—someone humble enough to celebrate when another person makes my good thing better.
And of course, working with people you respect helps boost that collaborative spirit, too.
Finally, clear communication is absolutely essential. Make sure you know what clients, employers, or team members expect from you. Also manage their expectations by being frank about your availability, timeline, and expertise.
Adaptability and Time Management
Most writing jobs involve deadlines and your reputation as a reliable writer hinges on your ability to meet those deadlines. That means you’ve got to get good at managing your time.
This can be especially difficult if you’re a freelance writer, because there’s no one dictating your schedule. There’s just today, a deadline in the future, and all this space in between that can be whatever you want it to be.
Time management takes practice, and a quick Google search will take you to loads of suggestions for making the process easier. You can try time blocking, the Pomodoro Technique, deep work strategies… test whatever you think will do the trick.
For me, the most effective method is to remember two things. First, I need to maintain my reputation as a reliable writer if I want to pay my rent and gradually increase my income. Second, I don’t want to be stuck at my desk when my husband comes home from work or friends are inviting me out on the weekend.
Those two limits help me draw time boundaries on that wide-open calendar and keep me motivated to stick to it.
Even as you create structure for yourself, however, you have to keep in mind that things might change. A client might shift direction. A project could fall through. You might find yourself partnering with a collaborator on something you thought would be a solo situation.
It’s important to know your own work boundaries so you don’t get walked on. But being adaptable (within reason) is also crucial for building positive, long-term professional relationships.
Industries That Hire Creative Writers
We’ve examined your professional opportunities by looking at the most common creative writing jobs. Now let’s take a look at them by industry.
If you’re already in the workforce, you might discover that there are writing jobs within your current industry—jobs you never even knew were there. If you’re in school pursuing something other than a creative writing major, you might discover that you can totally flex your wordsmith skills in your field of study.
And if you still have no idea how you want to put your talents to work, this list might help you uncover some less obvious job opportunities.
You already know that the entertainment industry needs scriptwriters. You can probably guess that there’s a need for copywriters in those massive marketing departments, too.
But there’s also song writing, video game writing, script reading/analysis, and script consulting. Every single thing you see on TV has a writer behind it—usually an entire writing staff—including award shows and reality television.
You can even get hired to rewrite or “punch-up” someone else’s script.
Publishing and Journalism
We covered the big writing jobs in this industry earlier, so for now, I’ll just add this:
As technology advances, these creative writing careers are more accessible than ever. You develop specialized skills online, build your own platform, and publish your own work. It’s entirely possible to forge your own path in these industries that used to be heavily guarded by gatekeepers.
That’s not to say it’ll be easy to make a name for yourself, nor is it to say that I think everyone with a Wordpress account should feel free to market themselves as a journalist.
What I mean to say is that if you want a career in these traditionally intimidating fields, there’s space for you. There are more ways than ever to learn what you need to learn and create what you want to create.
Advertising and Marketing
Again, we’ve talked about these writing jobs, so I’ll just tell you a quick story.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I took an improv class (it’s mandatory here) with a woman who was a freelance namer. That was her whole job. She named products for major companies and made a whole entire L.A. living doing it.
While I can’t help but wonder if AI has taken over her job yet, it’s an important reminder that writing skills are worth a lot in marketing. The right words are straight-up gold.
Education and E-learning
Creative writing is a teachable skill. If you enjoy guiding others, teaching might be a solid career option for you. You could teach creative writing in a formal education environment (you’ll need a degree), at a local community center, or even online.
The education world also needs creative writers to put together written materials like textbooks, discussion guides, glossaries, and study guides. You could even write scripts for educational videos.
This is an area of creative writing that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but there’s an increasing demand for it. Not only do modern students turn to the Internet for information and homework help, the digital world has made self-directed learning easier than ever. You can find an online course for almost anything from auto repair to world literature.
What’s great about this industry is that it allows you to combine your passion for creative writing with your interest in another subject. Plus, there’s the business about inspiring curious minds and all that.
If you’re intrigued by the challenges of a job in marketing but want to feel like your work serves a greater purpose, consider writing for a nonprofit.
You’d be doing many of the same things you’d do for a for-profit business: email marketing, advertising, blogging, video creation, and the like. The goal is similar—you want to get the word out about the organization and create a positive association in people’s minds.
But there’s also a strong fundraising element, since that’s how a nonprofit stays afloat (and covers your paycheck). This means you can also expect to write grant proposals and oversee donor communications.
You can do all of this as part of the team or on a contract basis. Grant writing in particular is a good option if you’re looking to set up shop as a freelance writer.
Corporate communications is an oversized novelty umbrella that covers a lot of stuff. Simply put, this term refers to the many ways a corporation communicates its mission, goals, successes, and functions to everyone.
Seriously, everyone. The public, employees, shareholders, partners… every person who exists.
Now, if you work with a small startup, “corporate communications” could be your entire job. For larger companies, however, you’re more likely to work in a specific department. You might be on the marketing team or you could be responsible for internal communications like employee manuals and reports.
Bottom line: if you’re dreaming of a creative writing career in the corporate world, the job opportunities are definitely there.
Career Development and Education Options
You know what creative writing jobs are out there. You know what skills these different industries are looking for. What about education? What kind of training do you need in order to land the job and crush it?
It depends on the specific job as well as what kind of time and money you have to invest in your creative writing education.
The good news is that you don’t have to rack up insane student loans in order to make a good living as a writer. There are certain positions where a degree is mandatory, but there are plenty of hiring managers who don’t care where you got your creative writing skills as long as you have them.
And it’s never been easier to find training as a writer. Let’s look at your options.
Degree Programs in Creative Writing
If you plan to get a four-year degree to boost your knowledge as a writer, you might be eyeballing a creative writing major. This area of study is most useful if you plan to become a fiction writer, screenwriter, poet, or the like.
If you’re mapping out a career that’s a little more predictable and a little less “artsy,” consider majors like journalism, communications, technical writing, or marketing.
Industries that are most likely to have a mandatory college degree requirement include journalism, academia, and large corporations or nonprofits.
If you plan to go into entertainment or work as a freelance writer, a formal education can help you develop essential skills. Although—real talk—many of those skills can be learned through the less expensive educational avenues we’re about to go over.
Many folks who earned creative writing degrees will tell you that the biggest benefit of their program was the network it provided when they left college. That’s no small thing, but it’s also not what we think we’re going to college for.
Writing Workshops and Online Courses
You can easily find live workshops, online courses, and writing groups to help you sharpen your skills or develop new ones.
This option is a good compromise between a formal education and fully self-directed learning. There’s often a fee, but it’s tens of thousands of dollars less than you’d spend on a creative writing degree. There’s a structure to keep you on track but you don’t have to show up at a physical location multiple times a week for months at a time.
Whatever type of creative writing skill you want to work on, a quick Google search will help you find courses you can take. You can also search the course selection at sites like Coursera, Udemy, and Masterclass.
Finally, a lot of folks who sell online writing courses offer free webinars as a way to get you on their mailing list and pitch their full program. If you don’t feel like you have a clear enough goal to invest in an entire course, these webinars provide a great opportunity to pick up some basic insights and start practicing new skills.
Networking and Professional Associations
Look for networking events and professional associations specific to the field you wish to enter. You absorb so much information just by being around experts and peers, plus you’ll have access to seminars, boot camps, training programs, and more.
Many organizations also hold or participate in conferences. These conferences provide learning opportunities that not only sharpen your creative writing skills but also educate you about your chosen industry. If you don’t have the travel budget, you can attend many conferences online at a discount.
And don’t forget to build your own little network of creative writers! Even fiction-focused communities like Dabble’s Story Craft Café are full of writers who rely on more predictable writing work like copywriting and communications to pay their rent. These are great places to share information about building creative writing careers of all kinds.
Building a Portfolio and Gaining Experience
Finally, we learn best by doing. As you pick up new advice and information through your chosen educational channels, put that insight to work immediately.
Offer to write the press release for your cousin’s startup. Ask a strapped-for-cash nonprofit if they’d be interested in letting you write your first grant proposal on their behalf. Create a blog that allows you to showcase the kind of content you hope to one day get paid to write.
These things help you build a portfolio to show prospective clients or employers. They also give you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, get feedback early, and discover the challenges that are unique to different writing jobs.
The faster you experience those things, the faster you learn and the sooner you’re ready to make a living as a creative writer.
Go Get ’Em
Writing is an in-demand skill. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you dream of paying your bills with your words—either as a full-time job or a side hustle—you absolutely can. It may take patience, diligence, and a lot of learning, but the work is out there.
The last bit of advice I’ll offer you is to find a community of writers who have your back. No one understands the journey like another writer. You can count on your network of fellow wordsmiths for moral support, job leads, feedback, and more.
If you’re still in the process of finding those friends, join us at the Story Craft Café—especially if fiction is part of your writerly aspirations. The community is free to join and a great place to talk craft, share your work, and stay productive with daily word sprints. Follow this link to get started.
Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.