When a nineteenth century British author wrote “the pen is mightier than the sword,” he was referring to the tremendous power of words used skillfully by writers and authors. Writers use their language skills to produce content for an audience. They compose books, movie screenplays, magazine articles, and web content. Writers need creativity to come up with ideas, critical thinking skills to convey their concepts clearly, and persuasively, when needed, and adaptability to understand their audience’s perspectives. The work of different types of writers varies significantly: creative writers like novelists, songwriters, poets, and playwrights are generally self-employed, and may labor for months or years before getting published, while technical writers and copywriters often work 9-to-5 jobs with a clear career path. Copywriters work on ad campaigns, and technical writers prepare instruction manuals and how-to guides. Using specialized skills, often learned on the job, they simplify complex ideas for the public, or write highly-technical material for a specific professional audience. Writers and authors often work in offices, but may work from any location with Internet access. Most writers have a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, and lots of writing practice. Aspiring writers who want to enter the field often gain experience from internships, blogging about their personal interests, writing for school publications, small businesses or non-profits, or local news organizations.
What they do:
Create original written works, such as scripts, essays, prose, poetry or song lyrics, for publication or performance.
On the job, you would:
Write fiction or nonfiction prose, such as short stories, novels, biographies, articles, descriptive or critical analyses, and essays.
Develop factors such as themes, plots, characterizations, psychological analyses, historical environments, action, and dialogue to create material.
Prepare works in appropriate format for publication, and send them to publishers or producers.
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
writing things for co-workers or customers
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by writing
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
come up with lots of ideas
create new and original ideas
People interested in this work like activities that include creating, designing, and making your own rules.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Word processing software
Apple iWork Pages
Video creation and editing software
Web page creation and editing software
bachelor's degree or no high school diploma/GED usually needed