If you say you’re a writer, many people will assume that you’re working on the great American novel, but fiction is far from the only type of writing work available.
The writing world is vast, and there are many ways you can use your skill with words to earn a living. These eight writing careers aren’t as glamorous as being a novelist or poet, but they have the potential to pay your bills.
And if you are, in fact, an aspiring novelist or poet, these jobs can help you hone your writing skills as you work on your magnum opus.
The word “copywriter” is somewhat nebulous, and there’s some dispute over what it actually means. One basic definition is that a copywriter writes advertising and marketing copy for businesses, websites, and products.
Their goal is to make the business or product sound as appealing as possible so that people make a purchase or take some other action.
Copywriters work closely with clients and rarely get any recognition themselves, so if you want to write without drawing a lot of attention to yourself, copywriting might be a good fit for you.
Because their work often requires them to write about a wide variety of businesses and services, copywriters must be good researchers and quick learners.
They also should be able to adjust their writing style based on their client’s needs and the intended audience. Copywriters write almost anything, including blog posts, articles, emails, social media posts, website copy, and catalogs.
Though print journalism is declining, web-based journalism is on the rise, so there is still plenty of room for new talent in this career.
Journalists track down and report the news. They sniff out interesting events, gather information, conduct interviews, and summarize their findings with news stories that keep the public informed about what’s happening in the world.
Many journalists work for a specific publication, but some also do freelance work. Writers who are curious, outgoing, and enjoy a fast-paced job would probably thrive in the field of journalism.
A ghostwriter writes content that is published under someone else’s name. They are paid for their work upfront, but they get no public credit.
Ghostwriting can be lucrative work, but it usually takes some time to break into the field since most people want to hire an experienced writer.
If you’re not interested in fame and have some freelance experience and publications under your name, ghostwriting might be an ideal way for you to pick up some extra work.
Grant writers write proposals for government grants on behalf of nonprofits or other organizations. Some grant writers are hired full-time by the organizations they write for, while others work on a freelance basis.
Writing grant proposals requires a particular skill set, an in-depth knowledge of business and technical language, and a great deal of research. Because of this, many grant writers have a legal background.
Ebooks’ popularity is soaring, and with the advent of self-publishing, anyone can write them. Most ebooks are non-fiction and provide information on a specific topic, although some fiction genres also sell well as ebooks.
Some writers create ebooks and sell them under their name, resulting in more income over a more extended period of time. Others ghostwrite ebooks for other people, which offers the benefit of getting paid for your work immediately.
Ebooks tend to be shorter than print books, so they are easier to write. It’s unnecessary to have any prior experience when you start writing ebooks – you need some knowledge of a topic and the ability to present that knowledge in an organized way.
Technical writers produce how-to guides, user manuals for appliances and software, and other written documentation that pertains to technical information.
Technical writers need to be detail-oriented, methodical, and patient when troubleshooting problems. If you prefer to write in a creative or evocative style, technical writing might not be the job for you.
Technical writing aims to communicate complicated or esoteric information to the average person, so a knack for clear and concise distillation of ideas is a must.
Technical writers generally need a deep knowledge of the area of technology they write about in addition to strong writing skills. Many technical writers either have prior work experience in a technical industry or have a degree in a technical field, such as engineering or computer science.
It’s rare for someone giving a speech to have written that speech themselves. Politicians and public figures often hire speechwriters to craft speeches for them. Speechwriting requires a strong affinity for the spoken word.
A speechwriter needs to know their way around the speaker’s style, be familiar with the audience the speech will be delivered to, and understand what effect their words will have on listeners.
Political parties and large organizations often have speechwriters on their staff. Some speechwriters also do freelance work or find work through an agency.
A blogger’s job is to produce posts, articles, and other web content that people want to read. The amount of blogging work available is increasing as blogging becomes more popular.
Some bloggers run their sites, while others produce content for other people’s or organizations’ blogs.
For example, you could make money learning how to blog on Medium. While you aren’t paid directly to blog on Medium, you can earn part of the revenue share when your blog performs well for the readers.
Writing is a big part of blogging, but the job also requires conducting research, finding images to use, maintaining a social media presence, and interacting with readers and subscribers.
There is plenty of money to be made in writing if you know where to look.
Jobs like technical writing and copywriting might not be the most exciting way to put words to paper, but they can be satisfying to earn a living.
If you’re looking for a way to make a living as a writer, one of these writing jobs might be a good fit for you.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.