In Part 1 of this series, Prachi Jain talks about identifying the writer in you as well as facts for the aspiring writer.
As a writer and a mother, my writing career has taken numerous twists and turns from writing children’s stories to creating content for small business owners, but I am fortunate that every day I get to do what I love.
If you aspire for a Career with words, there are limitless paths that a writer can take. The list below explores some of them, but is by no means exhaustive.
Exploring Writing as a Career Prospect
Nonfiction writers work on a contract or freelance basis. Depending on their specialization or their style, they can also work as translators, columnists, book reviewers, copywriters, real estate writers or speechwriters.
Medical Writer– Medical writing can be regulatory or marketing focussed. It’s primarily about doing a lot of research and being able to mold technical data into clear and understandable language. For more information on medical writing, check out American Medical Writers Association.
Copywriters create ad copy to promote the sale of goods or a service – the message, punchlines etc. . They often work with a client to produce written content, such as advertorials, product description, jingles, and slogans. Writing a clean copy and knowing about SEOs (Search Engine Optimization) go hand in hand. And it doesn’t hurt to get certified as a copywriter either.
Bloggers usually write posts on a specific topic or field, such as fashion, news, or sports. You can create your blog or contribute as a guest blogger on another site. Here is a great Guide on Blogging How-to.
Generalists write about any topic of interest. A lot of writers start their careers as Generalists, ready to take on any assignment. To do justice to the varied topics you might be writing about, you need to be quick at learning and applying what you have learnt. And yes, research – lots of it – is key. To network and meet the writers community, trying finding a local group.
Speechwriters Besides Political Speech writing, you could even write for PR agencies , athletes, executives, philanthropists, or even a “Best man’s speech”. Click here for quick tips to help you get started.
Biographers tell a story or an account of a person’s life. Typically you would gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately portray important events in that person’s life. A good biographer can pack in interesting details about their subject, lessons learnt from their life experiences, their lasting contribution to the world and sometimes enough information to replace a shelf full of self -help books.
Novelists If your forte is writing works of fiction, then explore this option. You can create characters and plots, that may be imaginary or based on real events (don’t forget approvals and source credits).
Resource – ‘Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction’ by Jeff VanderMeer
Screenwriters build scripts for movies and television, often working in teams. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or turn a book into a movie or television script.
Resource – ‘Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting’ by Robert McKee
Journalists write articles and reports on current events. If you are on top of current events or enjoy writing about topical issues, then consider going down this road.
(Source: Department of Labor)
Remember, you don’t have to be married to one genre. A lot of writers work in more than one field – sometimes they may be connected, other times not. So if you want to write a feature or ad copy while you work on that Great Novel, more power to you.
Building Your Personal Writer’s Brand
- Get your name out there. Network! Find local Meetups and become a part of Writers’ Associations – online or in person. A notable organization for Fiction writers is Poets & Writers. Non-fiction writers turn to the more popular American Society of Journalists & Authors.
- Create your Professional Avatar – Your profile on LinkedIn should reflect your adaptability as a writer because assignments can come from any industry.
- Look for freelance jobs regularly on sites like Indeed.com or Upwork. I found my first freelance writing gig on Craigslist.
- Research skills are as important as writing but do sift through websites with caution. And try and verify claims or data from reputable sources.
- If you are serious about writing, create a blog. Your blog can be germane to the craft or writing or about any topic that you feel strongly about – Write what you would want to read! Blogging also helps to get your work noticed. Keywords tagged in blogs help you get more visibility online, which in turn can lead to more writing assignments.
- Never hesitate to take a small project with a small pay. You need writing credits so do not wait for an advertorial when a PR piece keeps making its way to your inbox. No harm in starting small. You will build a strong resume faster by taking any assignment, big or small.
The best way to start your career as a writer is to WRITE and NETWORK. Writing may be a solitary vocation but writers have to be social in order to be successful.
And finally, whatever you do, never stop reading and learning. Ernest Hemingway said it best, “we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Guest Contributor: Prachi Jain
“Reading and writing are such solitary activities but by no means make you feel lonely! Your characters are always with you. “
Prachi is a short story writer, mother of two kids, cook, cleaner, an errand girl with some unusual habits like blessing each airplane that she sees from her bedroom window. Weird? Yes, but that comes from her fear of flying.
Inspired by crisp writing like in ‘The Book Thief’, ‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’ and ‘Lean In’, she hopes to say more in fewer words. She talks about nuances of writing and everything that goes around her on her Blog.
Her work has been published in Huffington Post, Brown Girl Magazine, Foliate Oak Literary, Goldfinch, Ascent Aspirations, Vending Machine Press, and has won an award on Six Sentences.
She hopes to see her name in the Best American Short Stories one day.
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