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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 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 110 $38,290
Birmingham 110 $38,290
Huntsville 30 $71,420
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 70 $77,630
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 440 $49,280
Mesa 440 $49,280
Phoenix 440 $49,280
Tucson 60 $53,580
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 40 $50,460
North Little Rock 40 $50,460
Little Rock 40 $50,460
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 5260 $75,200
Los Angeles 5260 $75,200
Long Beach 5260 $75,200
Oakland 1330 $68,860
San Francisco 1330 $68,860
Hayward 1330 $68,860
Sunnyvale 470 $63,230
San Jose 470 $63,230
Santa Clara 470 $63,230
San Diego 380 $56,830
Carlsbad 380 $56,830
Roseville 160 $62,680
Arden 160 $62,680
Arcade 160 $62,680
Sacramento 160 $62,680
Santa Barbara 80 N/A
Santa Maria 80 N/A
Paso Robles N/A $56,140
Arroyo Grande N/A $56,140
San Luis Obispo N/A $56,140
Ontario N/A $63,240
Riverside N/A $63,240
San Bernardino N/A $63,240
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 360 $71,030
Aurora 360 $71,030
Denver 360 $71,030
Colorado Springs 110 $57,650
Boulder 100 $57,130
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 200 $62,200
West Hartford 200 $62,200
Hartford 200 $62,200
Stamford 160 $66,840
Norwalk 160 $66,840
Bridgeport 160 $66,840
New Haven 130 $68,580
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 480 $53,990
Miami 480 $53,990
Fort Lauderdale 480 $53,990
Tampa 390 $50,730
St. Petersburg 390 $50,730
Clearwater 390 $50,730
Sanford 350 $56,100
Kissimmee 350 $56,100
Orlando 350 $56,100
Jacksonville 150 $29,330
Daytona Beach 60 $34,970
Deltona 60 $34,970
Ormond Beach 60 $34,970
Gainesville 60 $51,170
Port St. Lucie 50 $32,530
Tallahassee 40 $45,050
Fort Myers N/A $42,990
Cape Coral N/A $42,990
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 570 $56,020
Sandy Springs 570 $56,020
Atlanta 570 $56,020
Gainesville 40 $75,140
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 90 $50,370
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 60 $45,650
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 180 $45,820
Anderson 180 $45,820
Carmel 180 $45,820
Fort Wayne 70 $47,170
West Lafayette 30 $49,930
Lafayette 30 $49,930
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 100 $44,510
Des Moines 100 $44,510
Cedar Rapids 40 $43,370
Iowa City 40 $48,640
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 40 $41,270
Topeka 40 $41,350
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 60 $44,850
Lexington 60 $44,850
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 70 $48,510
New Orleans 70 $48,510
Baton Rouge 40 $52,010
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 70 $29,910
Portland 70 $29,910
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 520 $61,550
Columbia 520 $61,550
Baltimore 520 $61,550
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 430 $59,820
Warren 430 $59,820
Detroit 430 $59,820
Wyoming 70 $53,560
Grand Rapids 70 $53,560
Ann Arbor 70 $58,890
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 30 $38,730
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 30 $41,500
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 40 $35,150
Columbia N/A $38,780
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 90 $39,680
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 160 $46,870
Henderson 160 $46,870
Las Vegas 160 $46,870
Reno 40 $56,820
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 50 $42,900
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 150 $57,430
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 100 $44,560
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 150 $58,320
Troy 150 $58,320
Schenectady 150 $58,320
Rochester 130 $66,010
Niagara Falls 100 $62,370
Buffalo 100 $62,370
Cheektowaga 100 $62,370
Syracuse 50 $52,780
Ithaca 30 $69,290
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 190 $64,880
Chapel Hill 120 $61,770
Durham 120 $61,770
Asheville 30 $48,710
Salem 30 $81,830
Winston 30 $81,830
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 90 $36,460
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 360 $46,020
Elyria 360 $46,020
Columbus 300 $52,640
Dayton 160 $70,640
Toledo 90 $46,650
Akron 90 $56,310
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 140 $43,110
Tulsa 120 $48,420
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bend 50 $49,940
Redmond 50 $49,940
Eugene 40 $45,050
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 230 N/A
Harrisburg 90 $49,110
Carlisle 90 $49,110
Lancaster 80 $45,570
Reading 30 $56,070
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 50 $28,930
Carolina 50 $28,930
San Juan 50 $28,930
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 70 N/A
Charleston 70 N/A
Columbia 70 $59,560
Mauldin 50 N/A
Anderson 50 N/A
Greenville 50 N/A
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 300 $48,270
Nashville 300 $48,270
Murfreesboro 300 $48,270
Davidson 300 $48,270
Knoxville 110 N/A
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 680 $55,400
Fort Worth 680 $55,400
Dallas 680 $55,400
Sugar Land 510 $56,760
Houston 510 $56,760
The Woodlands 510 $56,760
Round Rock 380 $45,000
Austin 380 $45,000
San Antonio 110 $58,770
New Braunfels 110 $58,770
Waco 60 $39,500
Temple 40 $38,230
Killeen 40 $38,230
Lubbock 30 $23,980
El Paso 30 $49,060
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 440 $44,580
Orem 170 $33,700
Provo 170 $33,700
Clearfield 50 N/A
Ogden 50 N/A
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 80 $37,120
Burlington 80 $37,120
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 290 $56,200
Charlottesville 60 $53,550
Roanoke 40 $46,560
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 990 $65,290
Tacoma 990 $65,290
Seattle 990 $65,290
Spokane 100 $40,120
Spokane Valley 100 $40,120
Bellingham 40 $38,350
Silverdale N/A $65,960
Bremerton N/A $65,960
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 40 $44,060
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 210 $43,210
Milwaukee 210 $43,210
Waukesha 210 $43,210
Madison 200 $47,220
Neenah 60 $34,960
Oshkosh 60 $34,960
Green Bay 30 $39,800

Most Popular Industries for :
Writers

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

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

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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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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