5 In-Demand Writing Careers for People Who Don’t Want to Be Authors

5 In-Demand Writing Careers for People Who Don’t Want to Be Authors

So you love to write.

The itch to put pen to paper is strong, but perhaps you aren’t interested in penning the next great American novel.

No need to give up on your writing dreams! There are dozens of career paths for you and those who have strong writing skills.

In our fast-paced, digital world, writing has almost become a lost art. So much day-to-day communication takes place online via email, social media, blogging and texting, and more than ever, companies are seeking employees who know how to communicate clearly through the written word.

Ready to find a job that allows you to shine doing what you love?

Check out these five career options and discover the skills you’ll need to land your next writing gig.

1. Writing tutor

Were you the person all your friends turned to when they needed someone to edit their college research papers the night before it was due? If so, becoming a writing tutor may be a great option for you.

Writing tutors are most often needed in academic settings, so consider checking out the job postings at local high schools, colleges and libraries. Similarly, parents often hire private tutors for their children, so posting fliers or business cards in physical locations in your town may help raise your profile.

Of course, there are also tons of websites offering tutoring services. For example, Varsity Tutors connects students with top tutors in a variety of different subjects all over the country.

Want to become a writing tutor? Here are some of the skills you’ll need:

  • A friendly and open personality
  • Strong spelling/grammar skills
  • The ability to clearly explain the English language and why certain rules apply
  • Patience

Average salary: $20,000 (usually paid hourly, may be best picked up as a side gig)

2. Journalist

If you love to investigate, research, dig deep and uncover untold stories, you might thrive in a career as a journalist.

The world of journalism has changed rapidly over the past 10 years, and while the field is shrinking, media outlets still need great writers to spread the news and communicate with various audiences.

Journalists and those with journalistic skills are needed for online media outlets (Think: BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, Thrillist), content marketing firms, broadcast and radio stations, and more. Contrary to popular belief, yes, newspapers still exist, so becoming a reporter isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Want to become a journalist? Here are some of the skills you’ll need:

  • A curiosity to uncover stories
  • Ability to meet deadlines and turn stories around quickly
  • The desire to connect with others and share their stories
  • Knowledge of AP Style

Average salary: $38,176

3. Public relations specialist

The field of public relations isn’t all Samantha Jones glitz and glam, as you might think if you’ve seen any episode of “Sex and The City.”

As a public relations professional for six years, I can vouch for the fact that most of my days were spent at my desk drafting and editing content for press releases, pitches, social media posts, speeches, bylined articles and more.

The fun part of public relations writing is that you often need to think creatively and put on your reporter hat to craft messaging that captures the attention of the media.

Want to become a public relations specialist? Here are some of the skills you’ll need:

  • An ear for what’s newsworthy and will pique a journalist’s attention
  • Strong communication and relationship-building skills
  • The ability to repurpose a piece of content for a variety of different media
  • Knowledge of AP style

Average salary: $43,398

4. Social media specialist

Dream of getting paid to spend your days on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram? Social media specialists do just that, and a variety of other tasks, including community management and analytics reporting.

Creating awesome content for social media is important, but social media professionals need to be able to take it to the next level. They also need to be reactive and excel in crafting content on the fly for responses and replies on various platforms, staying true to the brand’s voice.

Want to become a social media specialist? Here are some of the skills you’ll need:

  • The ability to write succinctly for a variety of different platforms
  • A knack for community management
  • An interest in measurement and reporting
  • A zest for staying up-to-date with the ever-changing world of social media

Average salary: $38,100

5. Grant writer

Nonprofit organizations are always seeking strong communicators to help make a convincing case for their all-important grant submissions.

Better writing equals more funding for an organization to continue to function and serve its communities.

Grant writers should have a solid understanding of fundraising and nonprofit development and love working with a variety of team members — because it often takes a village to write a successful grant application.

Want to become a grant writer? Here are some of the skills you’ll need:

  • The ability to write persuasively
  • An understanding of data and statistics and how they play into written communication
  • Strong research skills
  • A passion for the topic/subject matter  

Average salary: $49,500

No matter how the world and technology continue to evolve, strong writers who can communicate in a creative, concise and clear manner will always be crucial to a company’s success. Keep your writing dream alive and sharpen your skills as you step into one of these fantastic career options.

What other jobs are great for people who love writing? Tell us in the comments!

National average salaries were gathered from Glassdoor.

Filed Under: Freelancing, Marketing
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41 comments

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Jessica.

    Most of the careers mentioned struck my interest. However, a career that allows you to be immersed in social media all day, every day sounds tempting! 🙂

    And I know social media keeps growing and changing so there’s no boring moment in this career route.

    If I may share, being a travel writer is quite enticing and lucrative today. And it affords you to travel and explore intoxicating places and getting paid handsomely while doing the gigs.

    Great one. Eager to see your next post!

    • Ryan James says:

      As a professional travel writer and book author, I can tell you the field is exciting at times, but there is more glamour showered on it then what is reality.

      The pay is horrible and the demands are high. Frommer’s travel guides sold to Google in 2012 and no books were published again after that. Google is aggregating its own www to create their own travel brand to compete with TripAdvisor.

      http://www.amazon.com/Ryan-James/e/B002KGVOHA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1462280326&sr=8-1

      • Thanks for chiming in, Ryan! I’ve heard the same about being a travel writer- blogging certainly has changed that field!

        • Hi Jessica and all,

          I’ve heard mixed things about being a travel writer, but I think a lot of it depends what you’re looking for. From what I’ve heard, now is actually the best time to be one because there are so many niche publications that have popped up in the last few years especially. There are fewer positions for staff writers than there used to be, but freelancing is another story.

          I’m still getting started in this industry, but I highly recommend Great Escape Publishing for outstanding, reasonably-priced resources on getting your foot in the travel writing door.

          Thanks to everyone 🙂

          Rebekah

    • Thanks for your comment, Anthony! Social media careers are quite exciting, and like you said, the industry is always changing so you need to stay on your toes.

  • Grant writing immediately draws my attention, having worked in fundraising for a few years. But I’m a travel writer now……still trying to find my way around this new career of mine……… thanks for sharing, I added your blog to my favourites, I learn so much here.

    • Elena Cazacu says:

      Dear JC,

      I am currently a research writer, engaging also with resume or cover letter writing and sometimes some fiction projects come across my fingers. But I would love to enter the travel writing domain because I love to travel and, well…, to write. Could you share some information on how to enter this field?

      Thank you,
      Regards,
      Elena – Romania

      • Elena, I will write an article on that, it is on my list, the best way to keep track on my articles is to subscribe to my email updates. You can do that here:
        http://leavingholland.com/subscribe-to-leaving-holland/

        and feel free to contact me for any specific questions through my own website. 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from you.

        • Chudi Uwandu says:

          Hello Jessica.
          Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. That’s quite nice of you.
          I am a Nigerian,62 years old and retired. I desire to write for a living in retirement ,but the opportunities hardly exist here for old folks. I started a career in journalism in my younger days but ended as an Administrator in a government ministry. I know I have a flair for writing and would want to benefit more from your experience to improve my skills. I have subscribed to your e-mail for further communication.
          Thanks, much
          Chudi Uwandu.

      • Franchetta says:

        Elena:

        Please share how you began research writing. I am interested in doing that type of writing.

    • Thanks for the kind words! 🙂 Best of luck, JC!

  • Cristina says:

    Last month I find myself that I really want to be a writer someday.Then I just starts to write a novel though it’s just a simple one and everything of literary piece. I do love to write. I hope this blog will help me.

  • Dianne Provost says:

    I have so many passions that captivate me, but none so much as writing! I would love to be advice columnist, a Dear Abby of sorts. People always seem to be attracted to tell me their problems, and I am fortunate enough to offer sound advice to help them. ?? Maybe this is just a pipe dream, the more people I could help, the happier I would be.

  • Carole Brier says:

    I recently published a book of the memories of a woman born in Poland in 1934. She spent six years of her life in Hitler’s Germany after her family was forced into labor during WWII. When the war ended, the family spent six years in a deporation camp. In 1951 they gained entry into the United States and became citizens five years later.

    She is the narrator and I am the author. We sat and talked about her childhood for hours, and she recorded more memories as they came across. As a result we have River of Memories.

    Memories of people who lived through terrifying events are both interesting and educational. Forgotten, history tends to repeat.

    It’s just another option for people who love to write, but like me, perhaps lack the creativity required to write fiction.

  • "new girl on the block" says:

    I have done some articles & I know if I am not interested in what I am writing about,
    then it does not come out good. I am not a social media person. my dream? write
    children’s books. I have written some very short children’s stories when in college.
    I would like to do Christian stories. one writes best when it something you are very familiar with.

  • Cheryl says:

    Although I enjoy writing and have dabbled in it by writing for corporate newsletters, I find most career opportunities want someone with both a degree and experienece. It’s tough to catch a break!

  • Aarif Habeeb says:

    I am content writer and enjoy content writing but I am not earning money because I am not write for money I write only for sharing my knowledge with readers and sk only for a small bio for me at the end of the article.

    Content writing in my DNA.

  • Got me thinking there might still be something for me in writing. I’m 65 and retired from jobs to make a living and still broke on Social Security. I’ve wanted to be a working writer since childhood. I’ve done just about everything on your list and have published but not been paid for it. I do want to be an author but need to prime the pump and get my writing groove back. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Nancy! I’d urge you to keep writing- check out the many resources this blog has to get paid to write. There are several blogs that pay writers, so perhaps consider pitching those.

  • Maurice says:

    I am an academic writer and I agree with your sentiments regarding the writing tutor. However, I would also add that the writer needs to be well versed in the following writing formats: APA, Mla, Harvard, Chicago, Turabian, Oscola, among others. A good writing tutor would also have access to peer reviewed sources as well as other recognised databases such as ebscohost. The tutor would also be better placed if they had access to the turnitin program or copyscape that would help in detecting any plagiarism in the final copy of a completed order. These are just my thought on the subject. 🙂

  • Anna H. says:

    You forgot to mention blogging. Currently, I’m turning no profit off the content I share on my website, It’s Not All Gumdrops & Unicorns. However, I enjoy blogging throughout the week. I recommend checking out It’s Not All Gumdrops & Unicorns, whenever you have the chance.

    http://itsnotallgumdropsandunicorns.webs.com

    • Franchetta says:

      I love writing and would love to make a career of it. Currently, I write in a journal each morning on Christian topics. I am writing an evangelism book for teens. I started a blog that focuses on teaching and learning. I search for calls for submissions often to find places where my writing will fit. I wish I had pursued writing for a living long ago because I’m so happy when I do it. If you want to write, just do it. I really believe the rest will follow.

      The link to my blog: edknowledger.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Anna! Yes, I was trying to avoid blogging/novel writing as part of this piece 🙂 More alternatives for people who love writing, but maybe don’t want to blog or write a book.

  • Brenda Hill says:

    This is one of the best articles I have read
    on writing. I am sharing it with my 3 writing groups in Florida, California and Mexico.
    As an author and writing coach, I am often asked
    how to find a writing job or career. I advise
    beginning early. At 78, I am still writing and traveling, and publishing globally. This has lead
    to conducting writing workshops at facinating
    places in tbe world. Articles like yours make my job easier. Thank you. Please sign me up for future emails.

    • Glad this was useful to you, Brenda!

      Be sure to sign up for The Write Life’s email list by entering your email in the top right corner toward the top of the website.

  • Tech and medical writing are gold mines. I’ve spent decades doing medical “education” writing for PR agencies that service big pharma companies, who are awash in cash. I stumbled onto medical writing through a magazine editorial position years ago. Rigorous journalism skills enable you to write about anything once you master the lingo and key issues, from oil drilling to finance to cardiology. Being a specialist in an obscure and high-tech area may not be glamorous, but it’s one of the very few gigs around that doesn’t pay zero to peanuts, and you can always blog about unicorns or whatever in your spare time (I have) to keep your soul alive. (Or you may find your subject genuinely compelling.)

  • This article has really resonated with me for a few reasons. Jessica thank you for writing such a wonderful post.

    I am currently looking into Grant Writing courses and networking with Grant writers on #GrantChat on Twitter.

    Also I enjoy writing restaurant and hotel reviews.

  • Boni says:

    Thanks to all for your motivational thoughts and advice. I’m wondering if some of you might share how you got started in travel writing. I’m an interior designer near retirement and I’m thinking of travel writing to occupy the next chapter of my life!
    Thanks in advance and good luck to all with your writing endeavours.
    BG

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