Last updated December 31, 2014

Writers work in many places, from magazines to corporations to home offices. They create articles and nonfiction books, newsletters for nonprofits, annual reports for big companies, and scripts for TV and radio shows, just to name a few possibilities.

If you dream of writing a story, poem, or play that will live on long after you do, you may have to do so just for the joy of it -- and find a day job to make ends meet. If you’re also interested in writing nonfiction and develop a specialty in, for example, business, fashion, or sports, you may find that getting paid to write is an easier goal to reach.

Writers develop text for publications, such as books, magazines, websites, and newsletters. They also create material for radio and TV broadcasts, movies, and plays.

Did You Know?

If you're like many writers, you might work as a freelancer -- taking on various jobs from different clients -- which requires not only writing text but marketing yourself and running a business.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Come up with and sell ideas for your pieces
  • Revise and revise again, sometimes in response to comments from editors and others
  • Find information by conducting interviews and doing research
  • Network to get jobs
  • Have the confidence to keep writing when faced with rejection
  • Work under a deadline, possibly in a chaotic environment

It Helps To Be...

Creative, with a love of reading and writing and a broad range of interests. You need to be self-motivated, organized, and able to deal with criticism.

Make High School Count

  • Make the most of your English classes. Learn how to express ideas clearly and logically in writing and pay attention to how the books and articles you read are constructed.
  • Sign up for journalism, creative writing, and speech classes.
  • Work on your writing skills on the staff of the school newspaper or the yearbook.
  • Become a relentless researcher. Learn how to use the Internet and the library to find reliable sources for your writing projects.
  • Build word processing and typing skills.
  • Learn how to use desktop publishing software, handle graphics, and write code in HTML.
  • Write, write, write: keep a journal, join a writing group, start a blog, create a skit for the talent show, contribute to the school’s literary journal.