7 Fulfilling Writing Careers You Should Know About

7 Fulfilling Writing Careers You Should Know About

Making a living by your writing wits can be a daunting challenge. In this age of competition, finding your niche is essential to break out from the pack.

The good news? If you’re willing to venture a little further off the beaten paths of freelance journalism, blogging, and Great American Novel writing, you can find some pretty cool gigs.

Check out these seven unconventional writing jobs:

1. Ghostwriter

When celebrities, politicians, and other fancy people want to publish a book, blog post, or tweet, they often don’t want to go to the trouble of actually writing it. That’s where a ghostwriter comes in.

This gig is great for privacy, solitude, anonymity — and a decent paycheck. Plus, the people you write for usually have a solid platform of readers built up, so you usually don’t have to do any marketing, pushing, or promotions. (Check out this great post on The Art of Manliness for more insider ideas from a professional ghostwriter.)

2. Game Writer

Game writers create the dialogue and narrative arc of video games. You probably won’t be winning any prizes for your incredible prose (“I took an arrow to the knee!” is a typical line), but this job has a major bonus: it’s collaborative.

“You have to work with game designers, level designers, and the artists,” said Haris Orkin, a writer on Dead Island: Riptide. “It’s really a collaboration between all of it, because the story is told by every part of the game, as much by the level design and the art as it is by writing.”

So if you like writing but aren’t fond of languishing at home, alone, in your pajamas, this could be a good match.

3. Technical Writer

Technical writers take complicated information and put it into simple-to-understand language for instructions, user manuals, and more. Demand is high (8,500 new positions by 2020) and the pay is good ($65,000 on average). You won’t get many opportunities to craft flashy dialogue or intense prose, but you will use your creativity to solve the puzzle of how to communicate in the clearest way possible.

4. Translator

If you know a second language — especially if it’s a widely spoken one like Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic — you can make bank translating technical, business, or government documents. (You can also try your hand at literary translation, but the competition is often tough and the pay is often low.)

In terms of location and hours, translation gigs are extremely flexible. But you’ve got to have intense attention to detail. “The kind of person that makes a good translator is the same kind of person that makes a good librarian: someone who’s a little (or a lot) obsessive-compulsive,” writes Sarah Lindholm of the Detail Woman blog. So if you love those picky details, consider this career. (Or be a copy editor. That’s a good choice too.)

5. Advertising Copywriter

Mad Men got you hooked? Well, it’s true: Advertising is a seriously creative field. “Advertising copywriting is a career in which you can be creative and work with creative people,” writes John Kuraoka, a 20-year veteran of the ad industry. “Advertising agencies attract creative people because the industry appreciates and rewards creativity. Therein lies the challenge: copywriting is a career in which you must be creative, on demand.”

Writing ads is fun, but not because it’s easy. It’s because it’s very, very hard.

6. Content Strategist

Content strategists wear many different hats, but their work boils down to one big task: figure out how content (blog posts, images, white papers, web pages, social media conversations, email newsletters) can help a company reach its goals. Content strategists do a lot of things that don’t involve writing — like content audits, editorial calendar management, and outreach strategy — but without a firm understanding of what makes great content (Storytelling! Drama! WIIFM!) you’re sunk.

This is a great gig for writers who crave variety.

7. PR Specialist

To attract the eye of the media, a PR specialist must think like a journalist. Clients hire you for your ability to listen to their needs and then craft a story that media organizations deem newsworthy.

If you love writing, but want 1) a steady job at a firm, 2) a regular paycheck (average salary is $58,000), and 3) a people-person work style, consider PR.

Would you go after one of these gigs? Why or why not? (Did you like these ideas? Click to tweet them!)

Filed Under: Freelancing
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9 comments

  • Elke Feuer says:

    WOW! Who knew there were so many options. Each of them are appealing, except maybe the translator. I only speak one language, so that might be a challenge. 🙂

    Great post, Annie!

  • benzeknees says:

    Who knew? I used to work for the Wpg. Free Press & I used to help people write their ad copy as part of my regular work.

  • Joe Orozco says:

    Grant writing is another excellent niche. It’s a good way to raise funds and draw attention to social issues you care about. Pay can range anywhere between $25 to $100 an hour. You take a risk with smaller nonnprofits with shoe string budgets, but then, you’d take the same risk with small businesses.

  • Abbie says:

    Love these ideas, but wonder how a writer can find opportunities like these?

  • Dick Hangslow says:

    ” but this job has a major bonus: it’s collaborative.” Yeah, that’s what every writer loves… collaborating with engineers! SIGN ME UP NOW! ROFL

    • Anonymous says:

      Reading this three+ years after it was written. Put a big smile on my face! 🙂
      My job, which requires me to collaborate every single day, and involves only 20-30℅ writing makes me like your comment all the more.
      But few people understand!
      Give me a job that I can do from the comfort of my home, without much rush and lets me earn a decent living, and I’ll call it heaven! Actually, so will most people 🙁
      So, it’s not specific to me or to writing then.

      I just used a lot of words but made no point..except that I love writing, and my writing is purposeless.

      Good day to you sir!

  • Clay Smith says:

    Hi there Annie

    Thanks for giving such a nice ideas for our purely writes, who are trying to get some bucks online. I really appreciate this.

    Regards

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