Writer

Alternative titles for this job include Author

Writers produce creative work, including novels, children's books, scripts, poetry and travel and technical writing.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become a writer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training or self-teaching

University

You'll need a high level of writing skill and talent. To develop these skills, you could get a qualification like a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • creative writing
  • English language or literature
  • creative and professional writing
  • journalism

You could also do a postgraduate writing course to get into this career.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

Volunteering and experience

You can do several things to develop your writing skills and learn more about the world of publishing. These include:

  • joining a local writers' group
  • entering writing competitions
  • blogging online

Direct application

You might be able to apply directly for technical writer jobs in industries like engineering or pharmaceuticals, if you've got the relevant background and qualifications.

Experience in journalism could also help you to get into travel or broadcast writing.

Other routes

You could work in TV or radio as a scriptwriter. BBC Writersroom has information, advice and workshops on writing and submitting scripts.

You may be able to publish and sell your work without formal training or qualifications, if you're exceptionally talented and have taught yourself. A literary agent may be able to help you with this.

More information

Career tips

You'll need:

  • creative ideas that will sell
  • good research skills
  • the ability to express ideas in a style suited to your intended audience

You'll also need to have confidence in your writing, be able to accept criticism and remain positive.

You'll need a portfolio of your work to show to employers and commissioning editors.

Further information

You'll find more advice about careers in writing through Creative Choices and the National Association of Writers' Groups.

The Poetry Society and Writers & Artists have more details on writing competitions.

Writers & Artists also has industry advice on being a writer and submitting work for publishing or self-publishing. It publishes the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, which has information on literary agents, publishers, newspapers and magazines.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent written communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day activities may include:

  • choosing a subject based on personal interest, or at the request of an agent or publisher
  • coming up with ideas, plots or content headings
  • researching information using the internet, libraries, site visits and personal interviews
  • developing your story, article, blog, review or instruction manual
  • submitting your draft to a publisher or editor
  • revising your work after getting feedback
  • uploading your work to websites or social media, or looking for publishing opportunities
  • attending book signings, readings and discussions of your work
  • running writing workshops

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

You could self-publish, in traditional print format, online or through e-books.

You might be able to promote your work by entering literary competitions, become a book critic or teach creative writing in colleges.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a writer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Creative Writing - Exploring Creative Writing

  • Provider: Richmond And Hillcroft Adult And Community College
  • Start date: 23 September 2019
  • Location: Richmond

AQA Level 3 Advanced GCE in Creative Writing

  • Provider: Christ The King College
  • Start date: 03 September 2019
  • Location: Newport

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No