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Writers picture    Writers image

Writers

Writers produce a wide array of written materials. Writers and authors create original written content for magazines, books, newsletters, online publications, advertisements and other forms of media. Writers and authors organize material and use words to convey ideas, information or story lines. Their written content is classified as fiction or nonfiction. Only writers that are paid to primarily write are included in the occupation.

Freelance writers are self-employed and sell their written content to magazine and book publishers, advertising agencies; movie, television and theater producers and news organizations. Many freelance writers are hired for recurring assignments or specific short-term assignments. Some writers might be commissioned by a sponsor to write a book or a script based on a proposal.

Writers are often categorized by the type of written materials they produce such as screenwriters, songwriters, playwrights, novelists, biographers and textbook writers. An increasing number of writers are producing scripted materials directly for the Web and other types of communication devices.

Writers perform research on their topics via libraries, personal observation, interviews and the Internet. Nonfiction writers perform comprehensive research and use pertinent sources and citations in order to gain credibility with editors and readers.

Responsibilities

  • Develop original written materials
  • Revise their text to improve it
  • Collect information
  • Choose theme or subject for a writing project
  • Provide sources and citations in their texts
  • Verify sources
  • Organize materials for projects
  • Meet deadlines
  • Confer with publishers and clients to discuss revisions

Job Characteristics

Due to laptop computers and advances in electronic communications, writers are able to work from home and other locations. The Internet provides more flexibility in where and how they complete their assignments. Some writers work from offices. Most writers set their own hours, however some writers do have regular office hours. Sometimes writers need to work during the evenings and weekends in order to meet deadlines.

Most writers utilize desktop or electronic publishing software, scanners and other types of electronic communications equipment. Those that develop material for the Internet such as online newspapers and text for video games should be knowledgeable about page layout, graphic design and multimedia software. They should also be knowledgeable about interactive technologies of the Web in order to blend graphics, text and sound.

Writers and authors need to be able to clearly express their ideas. Being creative and curious are helpful for the occupation. They also need good judgement and a good sense of ethics in deciding what materials to publish.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a 15 percent employment growth for writers and authors from 2008 to 2018. Companies in a wide variety of industries are utilizing new multimedia technologies and online media to meet the growing demand for Internet based information and to reach technology friendly consumers. Online publications and services are growing in number which may increase the demand for writers and authors.

Some publishing companies, particularly those that rely on advertising revenues and sales receipts to support a large writing staff may employ fewer writers than in the past. Beginning writers may be able to take credit for their work by writing for local newspapers, small businesses, not-for-profit agencies and advertising agencies. Examples of perviously published written content helps writers advance in their careers.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

A bachelor's degree or higher is usually needed for a job as a writer. Many employers prefer to hire writers that have a degree in journalism, communications or English. However, people with other types of backgrounds that demonstrate good writing skills may also find a job as a writer.

Writers that want to focus on a particular subject may need to have experience or formal training in that topic. The Internet and other types of media allow people to gain writing experience through blog posts and self-publishing software. Some of this writing may lead to paid writing assignments based on a unique perspective, quality of writing or the size of a potential audience without an individual having an appropriate college degree.

Those seeking to become writers and authors can acquire training and experience by working on high school, college and community newspapers. Internships are provided by many newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employers are professional, scientific and technical services; newspapers, periodicals, book and directory publishers; advertising and public relations.

Schools for Writers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Writers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Writers jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 110 $45,430
Birmingham 110 $45,430
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 70 N/A
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 560 $46,180
Mesa 560 $46,180
Phoenix 560 $46,180
Tucson 80 $48,430
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 40 $38,180
North Little Rock 40 $38,180
Little Rock 40 $38,180
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 5180 N/A
Los Angeles 5180 N/A
Anaheim 5180 N/A
San Francisco 1180 $64,720
Hayward 1180 $64,720
Oakland 1180 $64,720
Santa Clara 400 $66,210
San Jose 400 $66,210
Sunnyvale 400 $66,210
Carlsbad 340 $56,610
San Diego 340 $56,610
Arcade 190 $40,400
Roseville 190 $40,400
Sacramento 190 $40,400
Arden 190 $40,400
San Bernardino 130 $65,850
Riverside 130 $65,850
Ontario 130 $65,850
Oxnard 80 N/A
Ventura 80 N/A
Thousand Oaks 80 N/A
Santa Maria 80 N/A
Santa Barbara 80 N/A
San Luis Obispo 50 $56,330
Arroyo Grande 50 $56,330
Paso Robles 50 $56,330
Santa Rosa 40 $37,080
Santa Cruz 40 $69,540
Watsonville 40 $69,540
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 330 $69,800
Aurora 330 $69,800
Denver 330 $69,800
Colorado Springs 120 $55,100
Boulder 90 $56,150
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Norwalk 170 $51,940
Stamford 170 $51,940
Bridgeport 170 $51,940
East Hartford 170 $59,100
West Hartford 170 $59,100
Hartford 170 $59,100
New Haven 100 N/A
Danbury 50 $56,420
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 510 $48,190
Miami 510 $48,190
West Palm Beach 510 $48,190
Tampa 350 $51,070
Clearwater 350 $51,070
St. Petersburg 350 $51,070
Kissimmee 350 $51,940
Sanford 350 $51,940
Orlando 350 $51,940
Jacksonville 120 $26,690
Ormond Beach 50 $31,170
Deltona 50 $31,170
Daytona Beach 50 $31,170
Port St. Lucie 50 $33,980
Cape Coral 40 $41,660
Fort Myers 40 $41,660
Palm Bay 30 $50,180
Titusville 30 $50,180
Melbourne 30 $50,180
Gainesville N/A $51,400
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 490 $49,440
Sandy Springs 490 $49,440
Atlanta 490 $49,440
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 90 $59,250
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 60 $66,130
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urbana 30 $64,480
Champaign 30 $64,480
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 240 $44,460
Carmel 240 $44,460
Indianapolis 240 $44,460
Fort Wayne 70 $48,810
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 100 $43,890
Des Moines 100 $43,890
Iowa City 50 $55,910
Cedar Rapids 30 $38,600
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 40 $39,780
Topeka 30 $38,430
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 120 $52,090
Lexington 120 $52,090
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 90 $43,680
New Orleans 90 $43,680
Baton Rouge 70 $47,810
Lafayette 40 $43,660
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 100 $38,570
Portland 100 $38,570
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 500 $58,540
Columbia 500 $58,540
Baltimore 500 $58,540
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 40 $58,430
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Detroit 430 $53,460
Dearborn 430 $53,460
Warren 430 $53,460
Ann Arbor 70 $52,590
Wyoming 70 $57,020
Grand Rapids 70 $57,020
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 30 $47,230
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 50 $38,720
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 40 $38,240
Springfield 30 $45,650
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 80 $44,040
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 160 $43,610
Henderson 160 $43,610
Las Vegas 160 $43,610
Reno 40 $57,590
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 50 $35,490
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 150 $58,260
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 80 $53,050
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 150 $54,570
Troy 150 $54,570
Schenectady 150 $54,570
Niagara Falls 130 $49,520
Cheektowaga 130 $49,520
Buffalo 130 $49,520
Rochester 130 $67,520
Syracuse 60 $42,150
Ithaca 40 $63,590
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Durham 210 $63,690
Chapel Hill 210 $63,690
Raleigh 160 $73,030
Greensboro 40 $47,910
High Point 40 $47,910
Salem 40 $75,150
Winston 40 $75,150
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck N/A $30,520
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 320 $55,170
Elyria 230 $49,970
Cleveland 230 $49,970
Dayton 140 $70,430
Akron 90 $57,300
Toledo 50 $54,750
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 110 $29,010
Tulsa 80 $45,300
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 80 $47,830
Medford 40 $47,700
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 310 N/A
Lancaster 90 $46,090
Carlisle 90 $49,150
Harrisburg 90 $49,150
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 40 $35,730
Carolina 40 $35,730
San Juan 40 $35,730
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 100 $55,230
Charleston 100 $55,230
Mauldin 80 $39,060
Greenville 80 $39,060
Anderson 80 $39,060
Columbia 70 $56,190
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 30 $43,460
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 250 $44,340
Murfreesboro 250 $44,340
Davidson 250 $44,340
Nashville 250 $44,340
Knoxville 60 $33,470
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Worth 740 $59,460
Dallas 740 $59,460
Arlington 740 $59,460
The Woodlands 510 $62,580
Houston 510 $62,580
Sugar Land 510 $62,580
Austin 480 $46,940
Round Rock 480 $46,940
San Antonio 140 $58,840
New Braunfels 140 $58,840
El Paso 50 $50,290
Waco 40 $36,250
Temple 30 $36,330
Killeen 30 $36,330
Longview N/A $24,160
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 400 $41,570
Orem 120 $30,250
Provo 120 $30,250
Clearfield 60 $19,150
Ogden 60 $19,150
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 40 $36,320
Burlington 40 $36,320
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 250 $59,550
Charlottesville 60 $55,200
Roanoke 40 $46,280
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 940 $69,170
Bellevue 940 $69,170
Tacoma 940 $69,170
Spokane Valley 90 $39,160
Spokane 90 $39,160
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 60 $38,930
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Madison 210 $45,730
West Allis 200 $46,660
Waukesha 200 $46,660
Milwaukee 200 $46,660
Oshkosh 50 $33,930
Neenah 50 $33,930
Green Bay 40 $46,990

Most Popular Industries for :
Writers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 11,050 25% $60,130
Traditional Publishing 9,310 21% $44,300
Non-profit 3,490 7% $51,600
Media And Broadcasting 3,280 7% $52,040
Performing Arts And Sports 2,690 6% $59,720
Movie And Music 2,500 5% $69,400
Education 1,990 4% $47,760
Government 1,850 4% $65,970
Business Management 1,190 2% $53,600
Office Services And Staffing 1,190 2% $53,110
Other Information Services 910 2% $49,470
Social Service 580 1% $45,480
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Writers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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