You can explore careers for writers as part of a traditional job, as a side gig, or as your own business. I’ve co-authored this post with Sara Barry, who writes for a living. We’re sharing ideas for viable writing jobs, where to find them, and how to choose, plus freelancing tips.
Careers in writing can be a great fit for introverts. Sara and I are both introverts and drawn to writing.
Do you love to write, but put that aside along with the idea of the starving artist? People who love to write often write “on the side,” meaning outside of their “day job.” If you are working on a novel or a screenplay or memoir, you can keep doing that no matter what your career is. Creative pursuits have a lot to offer! But maybe you wish you could write for a living.
The good news is you can. Many people who love to write find jobs that let them work with words every day and pay the bills.
This list of writing career ideas is just a starting point. As you read through, notice which options spark curiosity, even if you’re not yet trained in that specialty. Then, gather more information on those. (See below for ideas on how.)
You’ll want to get enough information about jobs that intrigue you to help you decide which ones fit your skills, interests, financial needs, and your need for balance. (It’s not as simple as just picking from a list.)
In this post:
- Meaningful Career Ideas for Writers
- Where To Look for Writing Jobs
- What About Freelance Writing/ Self-employment?
- How to Choose
Meaningful Career Ideas for Writers
As you browse the ideas, keep in mind that most people combine more than one thing within what they do, especially if freelancing. Writing business example: writing coaching + workshops + editing.
10 Decent Paying Writing Jobs in High Demand
These can be decent paying and meaningful if you find serious-minded clients or employers. It might not be hard to get training on most of these.
- Grant writing
- Résumé writer
- Social media/ online content manager/ digital marketing (There’s a big demand here. Free, legit course here can help you learn and gain credentials.)
- Copywriting/ online content creator (most typically for blogs, newsletters, websites)
- SEO copywriter (a high demand specialty that you can learn)
- Technical writer (such as technical guides, software user guides)
- Medical writer (health websites, textbooks, etc.)
- Science writer (usually for those with a science background)
- Paralegal (It’s a lot to do with writing.)
- Non-profit communications (such as fundraising letters, grants, public relations)
10 Career Ideas Specifically for Creative Writers
- Memoir writing classes and/or memoir writing coach
- Writing coach (Sample specialties: for authors, academic writing, college essays, etc.)
- Writing workshops or groups for fiction writers
- Writing workshops or groups for non-fiction writers
- Blogging (monetize your own blog)
- Blogging for other businesses/organizations
- Storytelling consultant (example of a storytelling consultant)
- Communications consultant or communications manager
- Public relations manager (press releases, blogs, newsletters – example of a writer/editor/PR pro)
11 More Careers for Writers
- Content strategist
- Documentary film script writer
- Article/ feature writer
- Instructional designer
- Online course creator
- Social media platform specialist (such as Instagram marketing)
- Speech writer (could be for non-profit leaders, business leaders, etc.)
- Web content manager
- Recipe writer/editor (great for people who enjoy cooking)
- Use your writing in any business venture such as coaches who create courses, blogs, presentations, program descriptions. (That’s where I use writing, like right now!)
13 Other Ways to Work with Words
Some writers enjoy jobs related to writing. See if these might be a fit:
- Editor (developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading …)
- English teacher (or other languages)
- Writing tutor
- Digital content manager (overseeing websites, blogs, communities, social media, etc.)
- Policy research, development, and writing
- Project managers on writing or marketing projects
- Communications consultant
- Branding consultant
- Transcriptionist (Here’s a place for getting experience in freelance transcribing.)
- Translator (You can get experience on a freelance platform like Gengo but you’ll likely want to find your own work for better pay.)
- Sensitivity reader/ authenticity reader (Help authors understand their blind spots based on your lived experience.)
- Court reporter or proofreader
Where To Look for Writing Jobs
A good place to start:
If you want to write more in your work, you could try starting with your current employer (if any). For instance, ask for more writing or editorial assignments in your current job. Or is there another position within your company that offers more writing within that job?
Many organizations need:
- articles for trade publications
- articles or columns for general publications about a specialized field
- blog articles
- whitepapers and reports
- product descriptions
- print promotional materials
- video scripts or presentations
- social media content
- user manuals, tutorials, and training materials
- educational content, online classes
- internal communications
- public relations communications
- online course creation
- fundraising appeal letters
- slide presentations
- written policies and procedures
- on-boarding packets and forms
If you are looking for new work:
Publishers and media organizations may seem like a logical starting point, but remember that all kinds of organizations need writing and editorial help.
You might have better luck searching for writing related jobs in the kinds of fields that interest you. You’ll stand out if you focus on fields in which you have the most passion and experience.
For instance, interested in green technology? Focus on networking and job searching in those fields. (This is also a great approach if you are considering freelance writing. That’s up next.)
What About “Freelance Writing”/ Self-employment?
There are a lot of opportunities for freelance writing work, and this is a popular direction for writers. It’s especially great those of us who love to be in control of our own time and space for working (like most introverts).
This might even be the easier path since a lot of writing is outsourced to independent contractors/ freelancers.
Freelance writing can include long-term contracts or ongoing work or short projects. You can even take on writing or editing projects on the side to see if a particular type of work is a good fit. This is also a way to start building a client base before committing to self-employment.
For specific ways to find writing and editing gigs:
If you’re going with freelance writing, the most successful ones specialize in a particular niche. You’ll be better and faster at things in your niche topic range, and you’ll stand out in the market. Plus it makes it fun, and that matters for your well-being.
If you are considering self-employment, my course, Bridge to Self-Employment, might ease the way.
It addresses some of the top concerns people have about becoming a solopreneur, and it’s rich with stories of introverts and HSPs who are making self-employment work, including writers and other creatives.
How to choose?
Did you see something that intrigued you on this list? Take some time to explore what that option looks like. That might mean reading more online, connecting with a writers or editors group, or having a conversation with somebody doing the job that interests you.
If you know someone doing the job, ask if you can schedule a time to chat. (See this cheat sheet for informational interviews for introverts.) Ask around. If you don’t have a friend or colleague with the experience you are interested in, you might know someone who can connect you to one.
Psst, many people combine more than one.
I recommend that. Many people do writing projects on the side of another job or mix a few types of writing and editing services in their freelance business. What you add in or subtract might change over time.
For instance, both Sara and I started down one path that morphed into another. I did some freelance copywriting, when I started my path to self-employment. That morphed into business coaching in my case, and while writing isn’t my job title, it’s definitely still a big piece of what I do, including blogging and course creation.
Sara worked at a job for a textbook publisher, a professional organization, and a health publisher before becoming a freelance writer and editor. Then her freelance writing shifted from working largely for book publishers to copywriting for entrepreneurs.
Where to Start
Starting with something that intrigues you might help you find the right fit or mix of things that fit — even if it’s not the first thing you try. I like to say, follow what feels fun.
But how do you choose well before going too far down one path?
These might help:
- What if you don’t know what you want?
- When you think you have too many interests to choose from.
- Career Clarity Course
I know that’s a lot of information coming at you. You might bookmark this page and just research a little at a time. Enjoy the exploration. You’re probably great at research and learning. I welcome questions and comments below.
About Sara Barry, the co-author of this article
Sara Barry is a content strategist and copywriter who loves using words to build community and connection. She helps clients find clarity about what to write about and how to say what they want to say. Sara worked in-house in writing, editing, and communications jobs (with freelance jobs on the side), and has been self-employed since 2000. She also writes articles and essays and has a memoir in progress.