9 Writing Jobs For All Experience Levels

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Look who’s become a little photoshop pro ūüôā Lost on what writing jobs are out there? Look no further!

You’ve told your parents, friends, and pets that you’re going to be a writer when you grow up and they’ve all given you that look of pity that roughly translates to¬†You’re never going to move out, are you?¬†You want to write for a living because as much as you love writing, you don’t want to do it for free (and you shouldn’t have to), but what are your options?

When people think of professional writers their imagination only goes as far as novelists before it taps out, but there are so many paths to choose from on the writing track.

Tell your parents there’s no more need to worry that you’ll be performing your poetry on the street in exchange for a bite of someone’s hamburger- although that might be an upgrade to what you’re currently selling your writing for.

Here’s a list of freelance writing positions for writers of all experience levels and education levels; these jobs rely primarily on your capabilities as a writer and ability to sell yourself.

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Online Content Creator

If you’re here you probably already do this, but may not even know it. Content creators create original content for online audiences, these are typically blog and article writers. This content can be to inform, sell a product, or simply to entertain. A lot of popular blogs hire out their work to freelancers, whether it be travel, food, or fashion blogs. Next time you’re on your favorite blog or website see if they have a “submit” or “contribute” tab on their website. Most sites will have this somewhere unless they exclusively hire staff writers.

Copywriter

Copywriters are often confused with content writers because they have similar duties of creating content to inform the masses. Copywriters differ slightly because their writing is aimed at generating interest and trust while calling the reader to action, this can be in the form of direct emails to customers, product descriptions, or landing pages to name a few.

Copy writing is one of the more lucrative writing jobs because it directly affects a business’s sales. Good copy means more sales for the business, and more money and recurring work for you.

Technical Writer

Technical writing is one of the harder fields to get into without some relevant education in marketing, experience, or knowledge of the product because of the amount of research required for the job. Technical writers enable readers to use a specific product or complete a task by transforming complicated information into simple terms and delivering it through manuals, safety instructions, how-to guides, and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). If an activity needs a certain skill to perform, a technical writer lurks somewhere behind.

This path is especially profitable if you already know the area you’ll be writing for, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time researching. If you don’t have the slightest idea how a H-VAC system works, don’t think you can learn about the product while you’re writing about it.

Press Release Writer

When companies need to let their customers and clients know something newsworthy such as upcoming events, new products, and sales – ¬†that’s where press release writers come in. Writers can get press release writing jobs by pitching directly to companies or looking on job boards. Be aware that some clients may also want you to distribute the press release. I personally don’t do press releases, but have heard other freelancers say they prefer just to write the release and if they distribute it, they offer it is an extra service.

Editor

Editors can do as little as fact check and remove any errors in spelling and grammar, all the way to completely rewriting a customer’s work for overall quality and clarity. The kind of editor you can become is dependent on your experience and writing skill. Editing is a good job for you if you’re extremely attentive to detail, as you’ll have to read and edit a piece thoroughly multiple times before sending it back to your client as complete.

Proofreader

A proofreader is an editor’s underappreciated ginger stepbrother. Editors and proofreaders have a lot of similar duties, and because of this an editor may also be a proofreader, but typically a proofreader will stick with checking spelling and grammar.

You do not need a qualification to be a proofreader but it is helpful to learn some of the standard skills by reading or taking online tests to see where you stand.

Magazine Freelancer

Magazine freelancers pitch articles to editors and if approved can make a nice sum and get recurring work. This is especially good for travel writers and those who like journalism.

It can be¬†difficult for new writers without clips to break into magazine writing because effective pitching does not come without practice. Start by pitching to smaller publications online, your local publications, and student newspapers so¬†you stand a better chance of landing article and getting clips to build your portfolio, then shoot for those bigger magazine-fish. Online magazines usually have a “submit” or “contribute” section on their site, too.

Ghostwriter

Ghostwriters write for other people, typically books and articles, but give up all rights to the work once finished. This has it’s positives and negatives. For one, because ghostwriters do not get any credit for their work, they usually get paid more for it. The negative is that because you are giving up the rights to your work, you can’t include it in your portfolio or resume.

Ghostwriters have an extensive background in freelance writing and maybe a book (or ebook) of their own published; having the extra notch on their resume won’t significantly change their chances at getting a job, so ghostwriting is a win all around for them. New writers aren’t likely to get a ghostwriting job and probably don’t want to because it won’t be able possible to include it as experience.

Videogame Writer

I recently saw a job to rewrite the rules for a sex dice game and knew I’d picked the right industry for me. Videogame writing is great for those of us who love fiction writing, and is unique because it involves working very¬†closely with a team. I’m working on a videogame right now and learned that there is a lot¬†of¬†communication¬†and even more¬†rewriting as the project goes forward. Overall, videogame writing is one of the most creative of writing jobs because there is a lot of free reign with dialogue, plot, and scenery (as long as it fits with the game play).

There you have it: real writing jobs that pay real money, mama would be proud! I hope this has shed some light on the ever-elusive professional writing career. A lot of these job’s duties overlap, so if you qualify for one you’ll probably be able to do another, and another. And (especially in the beginning) you’ll need to do some juggling of jobs in order to get the ball rolling into a proper check. The kind that takes care of rent and bills and other grown up words.

I’ll follow this up next week with a post on exactly how much money freelance writers make in the United States, especially in those terribly expensive cities like Los Angeles.

Have you done any of these jobs or care to share your experience as a freelance writer? Are there any other jobs that should go on this list?

 

 

Organizational Tips for Writers; How To Prioritize Like a Boss

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Photo: Josh Ginter

When I realized I had a solid date and plan of action for becoming vegan, but no deadlines or real plan for how I would achieve my writing goals, I took a long look at myself in the mirror, wiped the pizza grease off my mouth and said, Minelli, your priorities are fucked. It’s easy to claim the title as a writer, but what happens next?¬†How do you land that writing job or actually finish that collection of poems you’ve been harping on about for so long?¬†I’m a naturally disorganized person, but when I took my “temporary” hiatus from college it wasn’t long before I found that I could not carry on this way¬†and expect to get anywhere in writing, professional or otherwise.

I’ve had more on my plate writing-wise with trying to post more frequently and taking on a few projects. I’m working with two illustrator friends and my husband (who’s a 3D modeler) to create a small videogame, and I am writing the content and story. I am also finally (finally) editing Melancholia in Molasses for my creative writing class that recommences at the end of the month.¬†It’s been so long since I’ve touched my 5500+ word count story and there’s still so much that needs to be done. Outside of those more elective activities, I have been working on my professional writing; refining my resume, applying for freelance writing jobs, writing proposals and cover letters left right and center. It’s impossible to get through anything without some pre-planning.

Staying organized saves time so you’re more productive and able to stay on top of different projects.¬†Fiction writers have to organize outlines and find writing time outside of their day jobs; while freelance writers have to be on top of their schedules, clients, research, and due dates. Here is a list of organizational tips (and helpful links) to prioritize your writing life like the boss you’re trying to be.

Cleanliness is next to productiveness

Did you know productive writers are God’s favorite children? Clean that desk or dining table (or the bed you use as a table) so you have a de-cluttered space to write and you will be highly favored. Oh, you don’t have a designated place to write? It’s better to be a Starbucks cliche than have no place to write at all.

Your Messy Desk is Hurting Your Writing Career. Here’s How to Declutter

Set a large goal, then establish small steps to achieve it

You can’t become a novelist and freelance writer extraordinaire without a (realistic) plan to get there. Set smaller goals to achieve larger ones so you can measure progress and stay motivated.

Writing a long story? Establish daily word count goals and log how many you complete.

Looking for writing jobs? Establish a weekly goal of how many you will apply to, then send out proposals/resumes daily to break application time into manageable sessions. No one likes spending hours searching jobs and emailing resumes (unless you’re a resume writer, bless your soul if you are).

Goal-Setting For Freelance Writers: A Crash Course

Get all of you work in one place

Organize as much of your work as you can electronically and take advantage of apps like Evernote or Google Drive. These apps are great for planning stories and articles, taking notes, planning your schedule, saving images, and everything is automatically synced to your electronic devices. This means you will never have to wait until you get to your home or office to find out information for a client, or the details of a story you’re writing. I personally prefer Google but know many people like Evernote’s interface and ability to save articles and images with their original links and references.

How To Use Evernote for Fiction Writing

Set a schedule (AND stick with it)

Life does not need to look like a planner and mine often doesn’t, but when you’re a freelance writer it’s good if your life resembles some of the rigidity of pre-scheduled days. I’m hardly a fan of them, but if you expect to get a job writing you might as well start acting as if you’re doing it already (my¬†ideal workplace is cat friendly and pant-free, so that is the work environment I perpetuate at home).¬†For creative writers, use your schedule to plan writing around your work schedule.

Do more creative/time consuming projects first

Unless you have something that needs to be done right away or a meeting that has to be attended, start off with the more creative tasks. Our brains are the most alert in the morning so it’s a good opportunity to tap into those creative juices before they’re all drained from other activities. If you don’t work with creative writing, do the harder and more time consuming tasks first rather than leaving them for last – you have to do it regardless, why let it weigh you down at the end of a long day?

Don’t take on every project

You will be tempted to, but if you do you’ll likely take on too much, get burned out, and leave a terrible impression on any clients you’re working with. How productive is it to start a fourth short story when you’ve barely pieced together the second and haven’t revised the first? I know; you’re a writer, you’re broke and motivated, but that practice is not productive.¬†It’s easy to get excited once you get the ball rolling on a story or when the job interviews start rolling in, but the more you do the less time you can spend doing one thing very well.

Take care of yourself, too

I mentioned acting as if writing is your job (if that’s where you’re trying to take it), but remember it’s not just any job-it’s the job you want. Have you had enough sleep, food, and water? If not you’ll be fatigued and won’t make it past noon without several cups of coffee to help you keep up the work. Remember to take breaks, fifteen minutes to every hour, rather than working like a Hebrew slave for hours in a row.¬†Most of us have day jobs; I work 7am-7pm three days out of the week so do not write (or even think about writing) on those days. I’m off four days in the week and spend three of those days writing from 9-4ish. Work on a write-work-life balance that doesn’t burn your out, hopefully these organizational tips will help along the way.

 

Here’s to productive work and no burn out!¬†Do you have any tips for getting organized? Let me know in the comments!