Writers and authors typically do the following:
Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through clean prose, strong research, and the use of sources and citations. Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the clearest language and phrasing.
Some writers and authors are self-employed or freelancers. They sell their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers. They may be hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.
A number of writers produce material that is published only online, such as for digital news organizations or blogs.
The following are examples of types of writers and authors:
Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately describe important life events.
Bloggers write posts to a Web log (blog) that may pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.
Content writers write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.
Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as an advertising slogan.
Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.
Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.
Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or adapt a book into a movie or television script.
Speechwriters compose orations for business leaders, politicians, and others who must speak in front of an audience. Because speeches are often delivered live, speechwriters must think about audience reaction and rhetorical effect.
A bachelor’s degree is typically needed for a full-time job as a writer. Because writing skills are essential in this occupation, many employers prefer candidates who have a degree in English, communications, or journalism.
Some associations offer certifications for writers and authors. Certification can show competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. For example, the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) offers the Certified Grant Writer® credential.
Certification may increase opportunities for advancement.