Growing up, I loved to write but was convinced I could never make a career of it. When I got to college, I realized just how wrong I was. The internet has allowed any organization to become a publisher, and they produce an enormous amount of content. This reality has opened up countless opportunities for writers. In fact, there has never been a better time to be an aspiring writer.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the best jobs for writers and editors.
Copywriters produce content for marketing or public relations. Essentially, they write for a brand. They may write social media posts, website copy, press releases, or many pieces of persuasive content. Typically, copywriters work within the strategy provided them. They don’t always define a marketing campaign; instead, they execute it.
Generally, copywriters are given a brief, a document that outlines the goals of the campaign, the tone the organization wants to present, the audience they are trying to reach, and ideas for execution. The copywriter uses the brief to help him or her develop content that persuades an audience toward an action or way of thinking.
In terms writing jobs, copywriting is a good balance between a creative and stylistic tone.
- $35 – $160 an hour
- 30 cents/word – $3 a word
Novelists write stories that are typically 70,000 words or more. Novels come in many different genres or subgenres, including Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, and Horror. Novelists typically produce one or two books a year, though some writers publish even more.
Novelists have opportunities to self-publish, publish with a small publishing press, or publish with one of the imprints of the five big publishers: Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Harper and Collins, Macmillan Publishers, and Penguin Random House. Amazon publishing has also taken a large share of the market in recent years.
Pay: The average advance for a first novel is roughly $10,000, though it might be considerably lower when publishing with smaller presses.
Reporters gather information, either through first-hand interviews or second-hand sources, and report on people and events. They usually work for news organizations, which can be local, state, or national. Reporters’ articles are typically published in newspapers, and opinion journalists may have their work syndicated, meaning their column is published in many publications around the country.
A writing career as a reporter can be exciting, but it also may entail long hours.
- Average $35,000 – $50,000 Salary
- 38 cents a word – $1 a word
4. Feature Writer
Feature writers write stories about people and events that dig deep into the topic. These pieces are usually longer than normal reporting columns, and they mean to stir the emotions more. Feature writers publish their stories in all kinds of publications, such as newspapers and magazines.
To write feature stories well, writers spend more time with the subject matter than normal reporters. They collect detailed information about a person or event so they can paint a comprehensive picture that provides readers with both facts and a reason to care.
Feature writing is a creative writing job for a journalistically-minded writer.
- $25 – $75 an hour
- 10 cents – $1.60 a word
5. Technical Writer
Technical writers write documentation, such as help systems, quick start guides, and manuals. They typically write in informative ways, using instructions to help readers accomplish their goals with technology or processes. Technical writers may also write technical descriptions and other informative content.
In recent years, technical writing has become more creative. These writing jobs require design skills to present attractive content because readers can just Google their questions about a project and don’t want to deal with dull information. Their writing must also create interest, a challenge in instructional content.
Technical writer jobs are prevalent, and they often make good money.
- $30 – $160 an hour
- Median Salary: $72,850
Copyeditors exist at organizations, publications, and publishing houses. Their salary and responsibilities will differ based on their environment. Copyeditors edit at the sentence and paragraph level. They address grammar, punctuation, and other correctness issues, but they also edit based on good principle. For example, they may change sentence structures or suggest some reorganization.
Copyeditors typically stay away from larger writing issues, like whether the content accomplishes the goal of the piece or has holes in the story. If an issue is too big to ignore, they may write a note to the author, but copyeditors work on the details more than the big picture.
- Copyediting for Businesses: $69,000 median salary
- Copyediting in Publishing: $57,000 median salary
7. Developmental Editor
Developmental editors focus on the big picture. In fiction, they will address poorly developed characters or plot holes. In nonfiction, they make sure the document accomplishes its goals. Developmental editors may suggest changes at the sentence level if the problems clearly hurt the bigger picture. If a word choice makes a character appear differently than the author intends, the developmental editor will address it.
These editors usually work earlier in the process than copyeditors. In fact, developmental editors may have input into the original idea, especially in magazines or newspapers. Publishing editors will help fix bigger issues in a manuscript before that draft is given to copyeditors.
- $19 – $125 a word
- $3.75 a page – $20 a page
8. Content Strategist
Content strategy jobs are relatively new and are necessary because of the internet’s content boom. Organizations produce much more content than they used to, and to remain on brand, they must have someone managing that content. That’s what a content strategist does.
Content strategists nurture content throughout its lifecycle, from the conception of the idea to its archival or deletion. The content might be print or digital and can be anything an organization produces, such as articles, web content, advertising materials, and much more. Essentially, a content strategist is a managing editor for an organization’s content.
- $42,000 – $100,000 salary
9. Instructional Designer
Organizations spend millions of dollars training their employees. Schools use countless technologies to educate our kids, and many online programs now provide an effective education. There’s an enormous amount of content that’s needed to train and educate people. Where does it all come from? Instructional designers.
Instructional designers are curriculum and training experts who produce content for learning contexts. They write training guides, produce online courses, and other forms of curriculum. Instructional designers may lead training themselves or pass their materials to others to implement it. While it may not be a traditional writing job, instructional design requires lots of content.
- $67,000 Median salary
10. Grant Writer
Nonprofits and government organizations need funding, and grants are a key way they get it. Grant writers write proposals to get money for these organizations. Grants are extremely competitive, so grant writers must be persuasive, interesting, and accurate to succeed.
These writers do a lot of research into which funding agencies would be interested in funding their cause. Most funding organizations want to support a cause that matches their values. Once grant writers narrow down their list, they complete the application to receive funds, a process that typically includes a written proposal.
$43,000 Median Salary
Writing Jobs Everywhere
These are 10 of the most popular writing jobs, but there are more. It’s not uncommon for a writer to change writing jobs throughout their career. A copywriter may become a content strategist or grant writer. Also, writers commonly write in one form for their day job and in others on the side. A technical writer may write novels in his or her free time, even switching to full-time fiction writing if he or she is successful.
Some writing jobs will fit your personality and skill set more than others. As you study different opportunities, group them into categories based on how much they interest you. That way, you can narrow down which jobs are right for you and which ones you should avoid.
If you are looking to study writing in college, see our top 10 list of Christian universities for writing majors. You should also check out the Top 10 Free Online Writing Resources to help you hone your craft at home.