The world is full of possible creative writing careers for young writers! Beyond strong writing skills, each career path has its own skill set and requirements – so it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of each type of writing. That way, you can then shape your education and experience to better fit your prospective career.
The possibilities for creative writing careers include:
- Freelance writer
Freelance writers are self-employed and typically work on a variety of pieces that are published in magazines, newspapers, or on the Internet. Freelance writers must be able to self-direct their work and manage submissions to a variety of outlets. This specific career also requires an understanding of how to adapt your writing and voice for different purposes. For example, submitting a piece for an online publication requires different writing characteristics than submitting a piece to a print magazine. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a freelance writer, you’ll need to find opportunities to get published to build your portfolio. Try searching online for outlets that publish student pieces, or consider starting your own blog.
- Copy editor
A copy editor works within a publishing company to editing manuscripts before publishing. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a copy editor, you’ll need experience with all parts of the writing process, and you’ll need to understand the ins and outs of grammar, spelling, and conventions. Spend time writing your own pieces and then turn a critical eye toward them in the revision and editing stage. You can also volunteer to edit some of your friends’ writing to understand more about how editors work with writers. This will provide valuable experience in constructive criticism and collaborating with writers.
A screenwriter writes scripts for television, live theater, and movies. These scripts may be original works of fiction or may be based on another story. Although scriptwriting is a specific genre, it requires many of the same components and skills as fiction writing. A script must have strong character development, engaging dialogue, and a unique plot that drives the story. If you’re considering a career in screenwriting, consider volunteering at a community theater, writing your own short scripts, and learning more about the production process of live theater, movies, and television shows.
A novelist often works for months (or years) on a single work in the hopes of it being published for the world to enjoy. It requires unmatched focus and dedication, and can be one of the most rewarding creative writing careers. A successful novelist must have a story to tell and the commitment to getting this story on paper. You’ll need to craft compelling characters, create a well-developed plot, and understand ways to hook a reader. Many novelists hone their skills by writing short stories. This is an excellent option for aspiring novelists who may feel a bit overwhelmed by the typical length of a novel.
- Developmental editor
A developmental editor typically works within a publishing house to assist writers in the development and completion of their manuscripts. This job is designed to help shape the author’s writing, generate additional content ideas, and serve as a sounding board. Many developmental editors are successful writers themselves and can transfer their writing knowledge to other authors while serving as an additional set of eyes. The role of the developmental editor requires strong writing skills, a critical eye, and superb communication skills. To really excel, you’ll want to dedicate yourself to studying both writing and editing skills.
If you are interested in any of these creative writing careers, it may be helpful to work with a writing tutor. A tutor can provide valuable feedback to help you improve your writing, as well as show you how to submit your work for publication. Because writing coaching is designed to meet your specific needs, your tutor can help you with a wide variety of skills, including:
- Generating ideas
- Writing in a new genre
- Organizing your writing
- Finding your voice
There are many interesting creative writing careers that you may choose to pursue. Understanding your strengths as a writer is important to your potential and a writing tutor can help you discover what sets you apart from other writers. Good luck!
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