Writer or Author
- Best Fitting Careers
- Work Personality Strengths
- Work Style Preferences
- and more
What they do:
Originate and prepare written material, such as scripts, stories, advertisements, and other material.
On the job, you would:
- Develop advertising campaigns for a wide range of clients, working with an advertising agency's creative director and art director to determine the best way to present advertising information.
- Vary language and tone of messages based on product and medium.
- Present drafts and ideas to clients.
Adaptability. Writers and authors need to be able to adapt to updates in software platforms and programs, including various content management systems (CMS).
Creativity. Writers and authors must be able to develop interesting plots, characters, or ideas for new stories.
Critical-thinking skills. Writers and authors must be adept at understanding new concepts that they convey through writing.
Determination. Writers and authors must have drive and persevere to meet deadlines.
Persuasion. Writers, especially those in advertising, must be able to convince others to feel a certain way about a good or service.
Social perceptiveness. Writers and authors must understand how readers react to ideas to connect with their audience.
Writing skills. Writers and authors must be able to write clearly and effectively to convey feeling and emotion and to communicate with readers.
Characteristics of this Career
||97%||Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.|
||92%||Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.|
||90%||Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.|
||90%||Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.|
||88%||Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.|
||83%||Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.|
||81%||Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.|
||81%||Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.|
||74%||Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.|
||74%||Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.|
||68%||Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.|
||67%||Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.|
||66%||Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.|
||95%||Enterprising  -  Work involves managing, negotiating, marketing, or selling, typically in a business setting, or leading or advising people in political and legal situations. Enterprising occupations are often associated with business initiatives, sales, marketing/advertising, finance, management/administration, professional advising, public speaking, politics, or law.|
||89%||Artistic  -  Work involves creating original visual artwork, performances, written works, food, or music for a variety of media, or applying artistic principles to the design of various objects and materials. Artistic occupations are often associated with visual arts, applied arts and design, performing arts, music, creative writing, media, or culinary art.|
Values of the Work Environment
||67%||Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.|
Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality
||91%||Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.|
||78%||Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.|
||75%||Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.|
||75%||Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.|
||72%||Fluency of Ideas  -  The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).|
||72%||Originality  -  The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.|
||66%||Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.|
||66%||Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.|
Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality
||73%||Writing  -  Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.|
Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent
||100%||Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?|
||97%||Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?|
||93%||Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?|
||92%||Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?|
||89%||Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?|
||88%||Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?|
||87%||Level of Competition  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?|
||85%||Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?|
||85%||Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?|
||80%||Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?|
||79%||Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?|
||74%||Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?|
||72%||Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?|
||71%||Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable  -  How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?|
||70%||Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?|
||66%||Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?|
||80%||Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.|
Tasks & Values
||87%||Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.|
||79%||Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.|
||76%||Selling or Influencing Others  -  Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.|
||75%||Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.|
||71%||Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.|
||67%||Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.|
What Writers and Authors Do
Writers and authors develop content for various types of media, including advertisements; blogs; books; magazines; and movie, play, and television scripts.
Writers and authors typically do the following:
- Choose subjects that interests readers
- Write fiction or nonfiction scripts, biographies, and other formats
- Conduct research to get factual information and authentic detail
- Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
- Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
- Work with editors and clients to shape material for publishing
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.
Writers and authors held about 151,200 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of writers and authors were as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||12|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||2|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||2|
Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer.
Jobs are somewhat concentrated in major media and entertainment markets—California, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC—but improved communications and Internet capabilities allow writers and authors to work from almost anywhere. Some writers and authors prefer to work and travel to meet with publishers and clients and to do research or conduct interviews in person.
Some writers and authors work part time. Most keep regular office hours, either to stay in contact with sources and editors or to set up a writing routine, but many set their own hours. Others may need to work evenings and weekends to produce something acceptable for an editor or client. Self-employed or freelance writers and authors may face the pressures of juggling multiple projects or continually looking for new work.
How to Become a Writer or Author
A college degree in English, communications, or journalism is generally required for a salaried position as a writer or author. Experience gained through internships or any writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial.
Other Work Experience
Writers and authors can get job experience by working for high school and college newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. College theater programs offer playwrights an opportunity to have their work performed. Many magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain related experience.
Employers may prefer candidates who are able to create a visual story using tables, charts, infographics, and maps. Knowledge of computer software and editing tools that combine text with graphics, audio, video, and animation may be helpful.
In addition, anyone with Internet access can start a blog and gain writing experience. Some of this writing may lead to paid assignments regardless of education. Writers or authors can come from different backgrounds and experiences.
Writers and authors typically gain writing experience through on-the-job training. They may practice and work with more experienced writers and editors before their writing is ready for publication.
Writers may need formal training or experience related to a particular topic that they want to write about.
Writers and authors can get a start by putting their name on their work when writing for small businesses, local newspapers, advertising agencies, and nonprofit organizations. However, opportunities for advancement within these organizations may be limited.
Writers and authors may advance their careers by building a reputation, taking on complex writing assignments, and getting published in prestigious markets and publications. Having published work that has been well received and consistently meeting deadlines are important for advancement.
Many editors begin work as writers. Those who are particularly skilled at identifying stories, correcting writing style, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs.
Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 15,500 openings for writers and authors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
As traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms, writers and authors are shifting their focus to online media, which should result in some employment growth for these workers. In addition, the continued rise in self-publishing may lead to increased employment of writers and authors.
Contacts for More Information
For more information about writers and authors, visit
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of writers and authors.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2022|
|Announcers and DJs||
Announcers present news and sports or may interview guests on media such as radio and television. Disc jockeys (DJs) act as masters of ceremonies (emcees) or play recorded music at weddings, parties, or clubs.
|See How to Become One||The annual wage is not available.|
Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||
Public relations managers direct the creation of materials that will enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.
|Public Relations Specialists||
Public relations specialists create and maintain a positive public image for the clients they represent.
|News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists||
News analysts, reporters, and journalists keep the public updated about current events and noteworthy information.
Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.