20 Creative Writing Careers

creative writing careers

Creative Writing Jobs — They’re out there!

If creative writing is your passion, then you’d probably enjoy a career in which you could spend all day (or at least most of the day) pursuing that passion.

But creative writing is an artistic pursuit, and we all know that a career in the arts isn’t easy to come by.

It takes hard work, drive, dedication, a whole lot of spirit, and often, a willingness to take big financial risks — as in not having much money while you’re waiting for your big break.

When we think of people who make a living through writing, novelists and journalists come to mind immediately. But what other jobs are out there for folks who want to make creative writing the work that puts food on the table?

The Creative Writing Career List

Here’s a list of 20 creative writing jobs that you can consider for your career path. I’m not making any promises. You have to go out and find them yourself, but these are jobs that exist. You just have to look for them and then land them.


  1. Greeting Card Author
  2. Comic Book Writer
  3. Novelist
  4. Creativity Coach
  5. Writing Coach
  6. Advertising (Creative)
  7. Screenwriter
  8. Songwriter (Lyricist)
  9. Freelance Short Fiction Writer
  10. Creative Writing Instructor
  11. Legacy Writer (write people’s bios and family histories)
  12. Ghostwriter
  13. Travel Writer (if you travel)
  14. Article Writer (write, submit, repeat)
  15. Columnist
  16. Video Game Writer (includes storytelling/fiction!)
  17. Personal Poet (write personalized poems for weddings, funerals, childbirths, etc.)
  18. Playwright
  19. Blogger (don’t tell me you don’t have a blog yet!)
  20. Creative Writing Consultant

Now, I’m not saying you’re going to make a whole lot to live on with some of these creative writing jobs but if you do what you love, the money (i.e. the success) just might follow. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

Do you have any creative writing careers to add to this list? Share your ideas by leaving a comment.

About Melissa Donovan
Melissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. She writes fiction and poetry and is the founder and editor of Writing Forward, a blog packed with creative writing tips and ideas.

Comments

167 Responses to “20 Creative Writing Careers”

  1. GrapeMe says:

    I find it so difficult to consolidate my thoughts when it comes to career paths. I know this is only a short post with some fairly obvious suggestions, but I really have to say cheers for arranging them in a way that means I can go “Oh yeah. I could do that. Or that..”

    Baffled in the world of writing.

    • Thanks GrapeMe. I’m sure there are many more creative writing career paths, and hopefully some folks will stop by and add their suggestions. What I wanted to do with this post was present some starter ideas for career building. If you are in school or have a full time job, then these are great ways to get your feet wet and you never know where these jobs will take you! Good luck to you :)

  2. Great post!

    I can tell you from personal experience that it IS possible to make a career in creative writing. My dream was to launch an on-line store where I could showcase and sell e-mail subscriptions to my collection of short stories. Additionally, I wanted to foster other short story writers by sponsoring short story contests.

    Now, nearly three years later, LongShortStories is happily chugging along like The Little Engine That Could, bringing the best in short fiction to an ever-widening appreciative global audience.

    It does take patience and perseverence, along with a huge leap of faith in yourself and the reading community at large, to create and maintain such an ongoing venture.

    Am I successful? Yes. Am I rich? Yes, if by that you define success and richness as living out one’s creative dream. For that, I am so grateful to my loyal readers and contest entrants who see the power in the short story form.

    Go for it, I say!

    Regards,

    Wayne C. Long
    Writer/Editor/Digital Publisher

    • That’s one of the reasons I wanted to present this list — you never know where it will lead if you just start by dipping your toes in the water. And I think for those of us who are creative or artistic, there’s a true need to engage our creativity even if it’s not our full time work. And if we can bring in a little extra spending money doing something we love, all the better!

    • Kenny L. Mitchell says:

      Dear Mr. Long,

      I feel really encouraged by your post. I have been writing poetry and selling them on decorative paper with frames for years! No matter the occasion I’ve been asked to write for funerals, weddings, graduations and other occasions. I have been often asked to set up a website and wondering if you have any tips or suggestions.

      Thanks and I salute anyone who has the courage to pursue their dreams! GOD bless!

      Kenny

  3. Kelvin Kao says:

    I’ve heard of most of these, except personal poet. Of course, the creative job (though not about writing) that I wonder most about is: who gets hired to design those patterns on paper towels?
    .-= Kelvin Kao´s last blog ..Puppetry Workshop with Allan Trautman =-.

    • I’ve been to several websites for personalized poetry. Actually, that’s something I briefly considered doing many years ago, but ultimately chose another path. Funny you mention the paper towel patterns because I have wondered the same thing many, many times!

    • Rose says:

      Probably a clever little robot..

  4. Marelisa says:

    Children’s book author. :-) I completely agree with you that there is usually a way to turn your passion into a successful career, even if it involves looking for unconventional routes to do what you love.

    • Yes, those unconventional routes are the ones forged by pioneers, people who were compelled to follow their dreams. Reminds me of the saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

  5. Devin says:

    Nice list, Melissa.

    I routinely participate in two of the twenty on your list. However, I would be hard pressed to call either a career. More of a labor of love, compulsion, passion than a reliable way to pay the bills — even though I participate daily. Still, I am incredibly fortunate. I would not change my vague professional choices for anything. Best of success to all who tackle anything on the above list.

    • Thanks Devin. I believe that if we combine our passion with a desire to make a living doing what we love, anything is possible. Best of luck to you!

      • Devin says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I mostly just do what I love and somehow the bills get paid. believing in yourself is also very helpful — of course there is no reason not to.

  6. Christine Mattice says:

    Great list of creative writing careers, Melissa. To this list, I would like to add:

    1. Letter writer — writing personal and business letters for clients.
    2. Resume writer

    …and you’re right. If you do what you love, the money frequently DOES follow!

    • Thanks Christine — these are great additions to the list. Resume and cover letter writing are especially notable because one can make a good living in that field. However, I’m not sure it constitutes as creative writing so much as business writing. In any case, definitely worth mentioning!

  7. TayyTayy says:

    I’m not quite sure what I would want to do in the writing field. I don tknow because so many of them I think I could do well in. I am so grateful for this list because it shows a very organized way of showing so many possibilities in this creative field.

  8. TayyTayy says:

    Melissa. I hope I could maybe get into non fiction writing or even journalism.

  9. Cheerfreak7 says:

    Im just a 12 year old girl who wants to know what I want to do with my life when I get older. All of my other friends know exactly what they are going to be, but I wasn’t sure. So, I went and looked on some websites about jobs that have to do with writing, and this website gave me a very good idea of what I want to be, a song writer because I also love singing. Thanks! :)

    • Songwriting is an excellent career. I love that songwriters get to be creative, work with lots of other artists, and are immersed in music but don’t have to deal with the spotlight and publicity (unless the songwriter is also a star). Nice career choice! Good luck to you :)

    • Thatgirl says:

      I am too and my parents have recently asked me what I may have wanted to be and I didn’t even know so it kinda scared me and I have recently realized I like to write stories.I know how this economy works though with the unemployment and it makes me wonder if a writing career would work.I love to write though,am I crazy or something?

      • At twelve years old, there is no reason to be scared if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. You have plenty of time! Lots of people start college without declaring their field of study, and lots of people start college thinking they’re going to do one thing and then change halfway through. But if you really love writing and want to pursue it, then there’s no better time to start than right now. No, you’re not crazy. Writing is a wonderful adventure. Also, you are living in the best possible time in history to be a writer. There are tons of wonderful opportunities available to writers that we did not have ten or twenty years ago. I wish you the best of luck, Thatgirl!

  10. Chicagohopeful says:

    Melissa, I’m a former high school English teacher who realized a few years into teaching that writing was what I really wanted to do. I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education but am trying to change careers. I’ve been working on a YA novel and have been getting EXTREMELY frustrated. I have to say I found your post on accident but have found it to be very inspiring. Thanks for surge of reassurance that it can be done!

    • You’re welcome! I think it’s wonderful that you’re working on a novel and normal that you’re frustrated. Just keep at it and the frustration will eventually pass. You’ll find that in a battle of willpower, commitment wins out over frustration every time.

  11. Skyi says:

    I really want to write and it has always been a favorite passtime of mine. If i am not writing I feel empty inside like something is missing. The problem is I am scared to take that ‘leap of faith’ and make a career out of it. Instead, I search for everything else to become in life just to run from the truth that writing has been and always will be my destiny. It started back in high school when I was told writers don’t make much money. I let that get in the way of what I could be now and I quit. Now, I see writers that are better and are doing better than I am and I get jealous because I feel I am a better writer than them all!! Then I realize that talk is cheap without evidence to back it up. Can anybody offer a advice or words of encouragement for me to finally persue my one and only true love and happiness in life?? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you..

    • Well Skyi, I personally don’t think jealousy is going to get you anywhere. If you obsess over comparing yourself to your peers, you will be in a constant state of negativity. Also, you should keep in mind that regardless of how well you write, you are not entitled to success, especially in a field that you chose not to pursue. I think your best course of action would be to accept that you are where you are right now because of the choices that you (and you alone) made. Once you accept responsibility for your life, you can set a new course and start pursuing a career in writing. It’s never too late to become a writer. Stop focusing on what other writers are achieving and concentrate on writing the best you can. The only way to be a writer is to write.

      • ChelleJ says:

        Hey Melissa,

        I think your website is great! I ran by it by mistake and really found the info helpful. I am venturing out into my writing career and can use all the info I can get my hands on. I do have a question: I have started a career and have ppl supporting me in this career but I am for certain that writing is where I belong and want to do. How do I make the transistion smoothly and let my supporters down easily? :)

        Thanks in advance for the advice,

        Chelle

        • Thanks for you kind words :) Your question confuses me. Why would you be letting your supporters down if you transition to writing as a career? If they are truly your supporters, it won’t be a let-down at all.

        • ChelleJ says:

          @Melissa: That is such a great point; my road to career success hasn’t been a smooth one at all and I have dragged my dear collegues and friends through the mud until they are confused. It’s sad but true. I guess I was just concerned that after changing up my career choices so much I
          would lose the fan base I was working so hard to build.

          However, I won’t allow it to stop me and now believe that my “supporters” will be happy with as long as I am happy. Thank you for such a great site for aspiring writers like myself. Have a great weekend!

          Chelle J.

    • ChelleJ says:

      Hi Skyi,

      Wow! Is all I can say..I honestly thought that I was in this boat all by myself! Like you, I have ping ponged myself between careers and have always found my way back to writing. I mean literally I have been a secretary for over five years, graduated with a assoicates business degree, taken cosmetology courses and actually done freelance makeup artistry and STILL I find myself unhappy. I had to really sit myself down and think of what I was taking myself through…it didn’t make any sense for me not to pursue my passion; the one thing that I enjoyed most whether I was sad, mad, happy, etc. I have been writing since the tender age of six from poems to short ficition stories, won many rewards for my writing while I was in elementary through middle school. When I reached high school, I didnt want to be labeled as a “geek” and compared my life to peers which led me to where I am today. Don;t get me wrong, my life is not horrible; I have a good job and work with ppl that I am respected by but I know that life can be more fulfilling and better if I was to just do what in the heck I want to do! lol. It’s easier said than done and I know EXACTLY where you are coming from.

      Like Melissa has mentioned, don’t spend your time comparing your life to others; your path to success is truly in your hands. :) I wish the very best for you.

  12. Ren says:

    Thank you for this list!
    My dream career though is to be a show/concept writer for a theme park like Disney. There are stories for each ride and I would love to be one of the minda behind them.

  13. Jess says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I’m coming up to my last year of high school and I’m trying to think of a career path. I love to write, but I’m not sure what the best way to start. What I would like to do the most is writing lyrics, and if not that poetry. However, I don’t think I would be able to.
    Do you know how I can get my writing out after college? How difficult was it for you? How did you start making a career out of your writing? What helped you the most?
    Thank you for your time,
    -Jessica

    • Hi Jess,

      I believe it’s pretty difficult to make a living writing lyrics and/or poetry. But there are some careers in those areas, and just because it’s a challenging path doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it. As a lyricist, you will need to partner with musicians, so building a network of musicians and learning about the music industry would be a good start. I understand that some slam poets are now making a living in poetry, but their form requires live (and recorded) performances, something not all writers are crazy about. (Search for “slam poetry” or check out IndieFeed Performance Poetry podcast for more info.). You can also write poetry for greeting cards (you’ll have to do a little research on how to get work in that field).

      A good start for a poet like yourself is to take some poetry workshops, which will help you understand whether your work is publishable. But you should also submit your poetry to journals and literary magazines. Visit their websites, check their submission guidelines, and then send them your work. That is how you start.

      I made a career out of writing by studying creative writing at university, which gave me the skills (and more importantly, the confidence) to start my own blog and copywriting business.

      What helped me the most? Writing a lot and reading even more :)

      Good luck to you!

  14. Abi says:

    Hi im only 14 but writing is my life these ideas have given me a better idea on a future in writeing thanks

  15. KJS says:

    I’m 12 and want to be a Teen Fiction and/or Young Adult Novel writer.

  16. Andrea says:

    Thank you so much for this list. This will be my last year in high school before I start collage, and my dream has always been to be a writer, but sadly I have always been told that writing doesn’t pay very good unless your amazingly good. The comments as well as the posting, has given me hope about having a job in writing.

    • One could argue that few careers pay well unless you are amazingly good. I would further qualify that to say you don’t even have to be good, just hard working and driven. There are plenty of viable career opportunities in writing. I will say that it’s probably easier to make a good living as a technical or scientific writer than as a novelist (assuming you acquire the proper training in those fields), but if you are sufficiently motivated, you can succeed at whatever you want.

  17. Joshua says:

    I’ve always loved writing and video games. Me and some of my friends would literally sit and talk for hours about ideas for video games we had and would start writing them down. Even before graduating from high school, I’ve been trying to find a path that would allow me to become a video game writer. It’s been three years since I graduated from high school and I’m still left without answers. I went to college for two years for secondary English education but it just didn’t interest me the way writing for video games do. A few days ago, I went to Pittsburgh University of Greensburg and talked with a professor there to see what I should do if I want to become a video game writer. Once again, I was left without answers. She pretty much told me that she had never heard of such a thing before. Please, if you could provide me with any information, anything at all, I would greatly appreciate it.

    • I would suggest studying creative writing with a focus on fiction. Another good option might be screenwriting. Video games are stories, so you would want to develop writing skills in general and storytelling skills specifically. You might also take some courses in programming or application development. That’s not my area of expertise, so I can’t be more specific. You best bet is to find someone who writes for video games and ask their advice.

  18. Dream says:

    I came across this on accident. I was looking for different options to take for a career path on writing. I have not written much in my life. When I was in middle school and in high school I used to write in my Journal a lot. I had a couple friends who wrote poems and short stories I thought they were good and I wanted to try too. I wrote in my journal about many different things, but it never seemed satisfying to me. I was too embarassed to show everyone what I could write. So I continued to write secretivley. I stopped writing, and 2 years later when I felt as if my whole life was nothing I started writing again, and now I feel alive! i still don’t think my writing is the best but it has made me feel so much better about myself.I started writing a novel. My fiance is excited for me and wants me to follow my dream and do what I want to do. When I came across this I felt like someone was nudging me. Thank you so much! This has inspired me entirely!

    • Thank you for sharing your writing experiences. I’m so glad you found Writing Forward inspiring. I know what you mean about coming across something that gives you a little nudge. All my life, I’ve experienced little nudges and they have always pointed me toward writing (even way back when I had my sights set on other career paths). Those little nudges really make one wonder about destiny.

  19. Michelle says:

    I’m one of the few that lived the dream, earned money from writing and hated it! It sounds terrible, but writing for money sucked all the joy out of the creative process for me. I loved to write for school and my unpaid internship (I have a Bachelor’s in English), but the minute I needed to pay bills with my writing, the whole process felt like a soul-suck. Suddenly it wasn’t enough to write when the inspiration hit throughout the week (when my best writing happens anyway), but I had to be witty and original at the snap of a finger. Yet it wasn’t enough to be witty: you have to care about what sells, what different editors think “good” writing even is and follow contradictory style guidelines. It wasn’t that I wasn’t used to these things, but now if it didn’t happen or I didn’t sell, my power goes off. I had panic attacks every time I sat down to write. I had to go back and get a traditional job.

    But if I’m out of it, why search this stuff a month and a half after admitting defeat? It’s because I love the art of writing: the creative process, the big dreams of those starting out, the insights others have, the glory of a sentence fashioned just right after five pages of terrible ones. The monetary aspect destroyed that for me. Just goes to show, it’s not for everyone. To anyone that wants to write for a living, be willing to work long hours, open to constant criticism and have a plan B.

    • Hi Michelle, I would say there’s a big difference between commercial writing and creative writing. Commercial writing means you’re writing for payment rather than to express your own ideas. I can certainly understand how writing commercially zaps creativity or feels like a soul-suck. I’ve experienced it myself. But I hope you are still pursuing your creative writing. In fiction and poetry, I believe the best writing comes from the heart and is not driven by money or the marketplace.

  20. Jamie says:

    I am a senior in high school and plan on going to college to major in journalism. However, I do not know exactly what field of work to go into. I was thinking about writing for People’s Magazine. I know it seems far-fetched, but hey, it’s my dream! Do you know how a person might have a chance at writing for a such a successful magazine??

    • Jamie, it sounds like you have decided which field of work to go into (journalism). More specifically, it sounds like you want to write for a Hollywood gossip publication. There are probably many opportunities in that area, not limited to People Magazine. For example, there are tons of websites that focus on celebrity news and you could also work as a writer for one of the entertainment news shows (like ET or Inside Edition). That’s definitely not my area of specialization, but it sounds to me like you’re already heading in the direction that’s right for you.

  21. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the comment! I am not exactly positive that I want to write for People Magazine, but I do know that I want to write. What do you do for a living (if you don’t mind me asking)? I would love to write for any company, really. I just like to write. I am interested in entertainment. Which is why I want to write for a magazine. But, writing for something a little more discreet is fine too.

    • Well, I’m a web designer and copywriter by trade. I help small business build effective online marketing campaigns (see scribizzy.com). My livelihood is somewhat supplemented by the work I do here on Writing Forward. I’m also working on a couple of big writing projects (a novel and a book of creative writing exercises). The exercises book will be out soon and available here. The novel could take years ;) There are many opportunities for writers; you just have to find them.

  22. Jamie says:

    That is really neat! I just want to do anything to make my family proud! I love to write! :) I can’t wait to gain a higher education. Thanks for taking the time to read my comments and commenting back!

  23. Andrew says:

    Hey, i found this while looking for it, oddly enough. I am currently attending college and in pursuit of a Creative Writing degree, I am about two years in! with almost completed half of my courses for my four year, I still have some question’s as most. My concentration will be in Technical writing, Grants and contracts, but i will be writing on the side to keep the creative spark. I was curious, however, if you could point me in the direction of a detailed description of a day in your shoes as a copy write. i would much oblige Thnx again.

    • Well, that would be a lengthy essay indeed. I will say this: every day is different. Also, most of my time is not spent writing. It’s spent on marketing and taking care of administrative tasks.

  24. Many of these seem to strike my fancy. I think some of the best to go into are article writer, legacy writer, and ghost writer. Copy writer probably would pay the best. Novelist is fun, but it’s difficult to publish one unless you’re already famous or self-publish. Then no one will buy the book. :(
    As a poet, I should maybe try greeting cards, personal poems, and song lyrics. Publishing poems in literary journals and online generally doesn’t pay unless you count a couple free copies of the journal.
    My own addition is devotional writer for those of you with a religious bent.

  25. Liberating thought: even if writing does not provide a full living, it can provide enough of one to let a person withdraw from the pressure to move upward in another career. A decent-paying day job plus supplemental writing can add up to as much or more income as a hated rat race job.

  26. Adebisi says:

    Melisa,
    Thanks for the list. I am a writer who intends to find my feet more in the art of writing. I am inspired by the list. My contribution is, if you love to write anything at all, start writing. You can’t imagine where it might take you. God bless you.

  27. delilah says:

    hi I would like a career in writing but I just dont know what to do. I was into journalism but had a talk with a journalist a few weeks ago and got really discouraged. I have a blog and write short stories. But I just dont know what to do in my life. I am 18 years old and would like to stop wasting time and money in lectures I am not going to use. Currently I am doing a course on media production and I’m liking it. But it is like there is something missing. When I write I feel whole.

    • Many eighteen-year-olds have no idea what they want to do. It sounds like you know you want to write; you just need to figure out what form. College is a great place to figure that out. You can take classes in different types of writing (fiction, journalism, business writing) and find what fits. If you’re drawn to journalism, I don’t think you should give up on it just because one journalist discouraged you. Talk to more journalists, take some journalism classes, and do a little citizen journalism. Experiment and stick with your studies!

  28. Alexis says:

    I am a short story writer, and a poet. But I am only 13. Trying to hook myself into this early <3

  29. Para says:

    I’m having a hard time finding a career path. I’m still in high school, but it’s not going too well.

    My odd circumstances are going to leave me in dire straights soon, where I can either choose to drop out of high school and get my GED or go through with two more of high school. (I’m a senior, kind of. I left public school for home school, and it’s not working out. For myself or my mother.) So, I figured that now would be the best time to find a career path that is both logical but suited to my creative side.

    Is there any security in being a creative writer? I mean, this list is comparatively small when you look at more practical things like nursing degrees or business degrees. I understand that the big blow up in internet culture, creative writing via blogging is becoming a fast hit with book publishers, but how likely is it that creative writing will be a degree that I can support myself (and/or a family) on?

    • In this day and age, I don’t think there is true security in any career field. Perhaps there never has been. Careers in the arts have a reputation for being harder than other careers, but I am not sure I believe that to be true. I think these careers are different in that you usually don’t have an employer, benefits, etc. You are hustling rather than working set hours for a regular paycheck. In my experience, people with self-discipline and drive create their own job security (in any field). Also, there’s a kind of competition in the arts that doesn’t exist in many other industries.

      In terms of your education, my advice would be to finish high school. However, I’m not privy to the details of your circumstances. I just think there is a greater value in getting a diploma alongside your peers.

      Nobody supports themselves on a degree. You can get a degree in astro-engineering and end up homeless. Success is the result of making smart choices, working hard, internal drive, external support system, and luck. You might find yourself eventually making a choice between living a more secure, conventional life and pursuing your dream of becoming a career writer. Sacrifice of one kind or another is inevitable.

  30. Rose says:

    My cousin has his undergrad degree in English and MFA (master’s in fine arts) in creative writing. He’s taught technical writing in college and now works at home as a contractor for corporate companies (tech writing.) He recently finished the first draft of his sci-fi novel by saving up and taking a few months off at a time. And, yes, he certainly is not a starving artist.

    I am studying creative writing and education, both of which are terribly impractical, income-wise. But it’s possible to make a decent living if you’re passionate, dedicated and willing to take day jobs that you won’t necessarily enjoy.

    • See, I just don’t think these fields of study are impractical, especially studying education (we will always need teachers). With all the budget cuts, a career as a teacher might look improbable right now, but these cuts only apply to public schools. There are many other opportunities for teachers and places where their skill sets can be used.

  31. Karolina says:

    I read the article and I loved it. I am an aspiring author (Junior in highschool), and wish to one day publish a succesful fiction novel, like many others. I always knew I wanted to write, but I was told constantly that it would not suit for a career, and that healthcare and buissness were far better choices, money-wise. I am aware that sacrificing wealth over happiness is a nessecity in this pathway, but I am not so interested in wealth. My love for writing and spreading messages to inspire people, and even entertain is what I strive for.
    I realize it is hard to make a successful fiction novel. I will forever write them, but I need a job that will at least get me by. I’m not so sure which would be best for a fiction novelist. I was leaning more on article writing, but that is more technical, I believe. I was inspired by the coments and your responses. Recently, I firmly decided to go with creative writing, but the desicion to pick what to do is dificult. I will continue writing, and hopefully, I’ll make it one day. :D

    • You sound like my kind of writer, Karolina :)

      I once heard someone say that money can’t buy happiness but it can buy comfort. Well, many writers find comfort in the craft. I wish you the best.

    • Oliver JK Smith says:

      Hi there guys! I’ve really enjoyed reading everyones opinions and experiences. I could really do with some advice of my own- I’ve always considered myself a creative soul; I’m a songwriter, have written screen plays and am currently working on my first novel. My major passion in life is professinal wrestling (eg.wwe), I currently write a wrestling blog and love the idea of one day writing creativtly for the tv shows. Having scouted my dream job with wwe, I learnt that they require applicants to have a ba degree in creative writing or a similar field aswell as experience in scriptwriting for tv. I am 22 yrs old and looking to settle down with my girlfriend however the idea of finally going to uni and gaining the skill set to at least improve my writing has big appeal. I realise my chances of ever workibg in such a niche field are slim and would settle for any work in which I could contribute to a creative process, but is uni with all its costs and time it takes to complete worth it?

      • I majored in creative writing in college and I definitely think it’s worth the time and money, especially if you plan on a career in creative writing. If the job that you’ve got your eye on requires a BA, then you should certainly pursue it if you can. Dream big!

  32. Lisa-Marie says:

    This is a wonderful post and I thank you for it. I have been struggling over the last few years when it came to finally making a decision in regard to what I want to do with my life. This has definitely given me a few ideas and I will be getting the ball rolling as soon as I possibly can! :]

  33. Matt Thatcher says:

    I recently just started a hobby of writing, they’re fictional based stories, but i was inspired by real events in my life & though the stories i write are fictional, they are realistic to a certain extent as well. Guess you could consider them historical fiction &/or drama & suspense stories. I’m kind of new at writing & i don’t know very many people that are well to do writters, so I’m kind of on my own. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of where i should start?

    • There are plenty of writers on the Internet, and you can easily connect with them. You can search for writers’ groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Check out Twitter hashtags #writing and #writers. Start a blog. Writers love to discuss the craft and share information, and the web makes it easy. If you’d prefer to do something in person, check your local community college for creative writing classes and workshops or poke around and see if you can find a writer’s group that is accepting new members. Best of luck to you, Matt.

  34. Monica says:

    Hello Melissa!
    Thanks for this list.. I’m an English major with a Creative Writing minor, and lately I have been struggling to make a decision about my future career(s). I write poetry but my main focus is writing fantasy/mystery fiction, and I’d like nothing better than to just write novels for the rest of my life. However, I know I may never be able to support myself by doing just this. I’ve been stressed out lately thinking what career I could get into, but technical writing doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t have a burning desire to teach. This list reminds me that I have more options than I thought!

    • That’s great, Monica! I too majored in creative writing (at my school, it was called a concentration). I’ve also found that most employers appreciate a worker who has strong writing skills. I got more than one promotion and/or raise because of my writing when I was an office worker! I wish you the best of luck!

  35. Tim Socha says:

    I have always aspired to become a published author, and now that I am in the last years of my life I find myself wanting to have a writing career more than ever. All my life I have worked hard to make a living to raise my family, the physical demands of my jobs have paid their toll on me, and I think it is about time I settled down and did something I could enjoy. I have always excelled in the creative arts, from writing to acting to art, but have never held a job in which I could use these talents. Following is a list of the creative writing jobs I could do from your list: Greeting Card Author, Advertising (Creative), Freelance Short Fiction Writer, Columnist, Video Game Writer (includes storytelling/fiction!), I would also like to get a few novels published. I can also draw just about anything-ultimately I would like to get my own stories published- with not only my creative writing, but my illustrations as well. I have written several books and have ideas for many more, but because I have to make a living I have been unable to get anything published because the cost is too much. In other words, because I have had to take physically demanding jobs that paid little wages I have never had the capitol to get started. I have sent out many submissions and have entered many contests, but made little ground in the creative field. I want to write, I’m good at it, and I just need to find a way to get my work noticed-this has been very difficult. I would merely like to make a living in something I’m good at and I have a driving desire to do. Is there any advice you can give me, or any contact information for agents and publishers who might be interested in helping out a new author?

    • Hi Tim, It sounds like you’re passionate about art and writing. I’m not sure how much you’ve submitted your work, but I would say keep at it. If you have a lot of completed material, you can polish it and just keep submitting it. Chances are that eventually, your work will be accepted. You might also want to start a website to build a readership and audience. A professionally designed site will be an expense, but you can start with a free platform like WordPress.com. You can use your site/blog to post your writing and your art. You can also self-publish and build your own readership. However, I would note that running your own website is time consuming and there can be a lot to learn in terms of marketing, so you might want to pick up a couple of books or hire someone to help you with the process. I wish you the best of luck!

  36. Ned-duh says:

    Wow! Thank you so very much for creating this list! I actually haven’t really thought of doing some of the jobs listed on here. I’m only 20 years old and I’m finding it EXTREMELY hard to make it in the writing business! However, I am pursuing my dream and I am planning to do whatever it takes to make it. Thank you ever so much Melissa!

    Many blessings to you,

    Nada.

  37. Peter Minj says:

    I wish to be a writer some day.I am currently working in a IT company which offers a decent pay.But I have always loved writing since my school days even though I eventually graduated in Engineering.I want to make a career switch and pursue a career in writing.I now the pay is not that great in writing but then arts is always difficult.I want to take a shot at it and live my dream.I am very apprehensive about the future and don’t know how to tell it to my parents.I keep a blog for short-stories and poems.

    • Most writers start their careers while they have full time jobs. You can definitely ease into a writing career. If you can get paid for a few freelance projects, get a blog and audience going, you’ll be able to lay a solid foundation for a future career. Best of luck to you!

  38. Quadree Breeland says:

    Hello, my name is quadree Breeland and I am a 19 year old college student in Delaware and I am looking to transfer to Columbia college in Chicago. I might not be the greatest writer but I love it. I have written 2 full short scripts. One is a police procedural and the serial killer who kills people with their own video games. Literally and the other is a thriller about a guy who quit the CIA because of problems with his father and a Russian terrorist comes back to try and kill him and anything around him. I love writing and I am very creative. My dream career is to write the dialogue, story, or the missions in video games. Basically, I wanna write for games. I know I won’t get a job like that as soon as I get out of college, but I have no problem applying for a job as a comic book writer, game or film reviewer, or writing for a web series. Im not really a novelist, but I wouldn’t mind taking a job like the ones I stated above when I graduate. I guess all I want is a reply with school advice and career advice. I am trying to find a good blog or site to post my stories at. I’m trying to find schools for me with film, or writing in the entertainment industry. I’m trying to find schools with dorms, clubs, and a good social life. You know, parties and stuff.

    • You have some great story ideas that would work well for scripts or video games. I would suggest that you try to find an internship with a company that produces video games. If you do that while you’re still in school, you’ll have a much better shot at landing a job in your chosen field when you graduate. Good luck to you!

  39. Hello! I am 17, an avid writer, and personally found this post quite helpful. Here are some careers that may be repeated, but are worth saying again:
    1. Screen- or play-write (Hollywood, baby!)
    2. Book critic (Believe it or not, when you read something as a writer, little… nuances stick out)
    3. Eulogy Drafter (Sure, it’s morbid, but someone’s got to do it when the mourning can’t pull themselves together.)

    Also, I’m applying for a job at a local bookstore. Keep your friends close, right? At the moment, I have a small number of short stories in the works, but I have two novels throwing themselves onto paper as well. Both are fantasy, my forte, and one is something you won’t find in ant bookstore. (And if you do, I need to look harder, because I personally like the theme very much!)

    Finally, please check out my site! I encourage people to send me stuff to post (or to post it themselves, but I haven’t quite figured out how that would work…), and to check out the… story that is up there. I’ll have more up soon! I promise!

    Thanks for your time,
    Leo Faic

    • Ah, book critic is a good one! I haven’t heard of eulogy drafters although if I remember correctly, many newspapers offer writing assistance for obituaries. Sounds like you’re quite busy with your writing! Good luck on getting that job in your local bookstore :)

  40. Rachel says:

    Blogging sounds interesting and fun, but I don’t know how to pinpoint a topic to dedicate a blog to! I’m not an expert at anything and don’t do much of a hobby that I think could carry out well as a blog. Any ideas, suggestions, etc?

    • Hi Rachel, You could always write a personal blog in which you share your personal stories, ideas, and experiences. You can also do a photo or art blog. You do need some central theme or topic to write around.

  41. Katherine Hou says:

    When I was purusing an art undergraduate degree in philosophy and graduated in 2009, I had no idea that a career in the liberal arts can be this tough. My hobby of writing has started upon graduation, and had been looking for work that can utilize my writing skills ever since.

    I have seen job posts that requires a degree in journalism if were to pursue staff writer, but no mention of a degree in philosophy.

    I came across your website and like what you blog about.

    • Thanks Katherine. Yes, it’s tough to get these jobs and many work best as second jobs or extra income. Part of what determines whether you can land these positions is your skill level. It’s all about practice and getting in those 10,000 hours. Keep at it!

  42. J says:

    I want to add Medical Writing/Editing to this list. Although some may think that it is not “creative writing”, it can be very creative depending on the type of medical writing that you do. Medical Regulatory writing is more factual, but consumer medical/health writing can give you the chance to be creative and factual at the same time. Medical Writers/Editors are paid very well ($45,000 to $100,000) and you do not have to be a medical professional to write about health topics.

    Resources to learn more about medical writing:

    American Medial Writing Association

    • Hi J, I appreciate that you mentioned medical writing but when we differentiate between business, academic, and creative writing, medical writing definitely does not fall under the creative category. It is a form of scientific writing. Copywriting (what I do) requires a lot of creativity but it’s still not creative writing; it’s a form of business and marketing writing. However, I’m glad you mentioned it because for creative writers, there are a lot of opportunities in the field of business, scientific, and technical writing. While some of these careers may require education in their respective fields (and some may not), they are industries where one can make a good living as a writer.

  43. Creating Writing high school freshman says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for creating this article!

  44. Leonora says:

    But isn’t making a career in writing only just … too dangerous. Because I’ve always wanted to be a novelist but I also want to make a (possible) career in the medical department. So I was thinking isn’t having a “back-up” plan better? And if so does it have to be from the same branch?

    Thank You.

    • I wouldn’t call creative writing a dangerous career choice. There’s no reason you can’t study medicine and write. You could even be a medical writer. You might look into majoring in medicine and minoring in English. There’s nothing wrong with having a back-up plan and no, it doesn’t have to be in the same discipline.

  45. Julie says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for this wonderful post. I have a BA in Creative Writing and really wish I had done more during uni to try out different writing careers, as internships seem extremely hard to come by for graduates.
    Any words of wisdom on how a graduate might gain professional experience in a particular writing field, short of going back to school?

    • Well it depends on which writing field — fiction, poetry, journalism? One thing you can do is submit your work to professional magazines and journals and build up your writing credits. You have a blog (that would have been my next suggestion). Get your work out there; that’s the best way gain experience.

      • Julie says:

        I would really like to try my hand at journalism, but I’m starting to think the only way to do that (as a graduate without experience in the field) is to offer my services for free. But I also like your suggestion about submitting to magazines. I once read “Do good work. Then put it where people can see it.” Exposure is definitely something I need to work on! Thank you again.

        • Thanks Julie. Writing is one of those careers where you may have to do some free work or take an internship to prove yourself before landing a paid gig. Musicians have to do the same thing. They play for free (or for pennies) — sometimes for years — before they start getting paid. Submitting to magazines is a great way to get experience and get paid since they often buy articles based on merit. Good luck to you, and keep writing!

  46. AT says:

    Thank you so much for making this website, and I can see that you are very dedicated to helping people pursue a writing career. I’m a junior in highschool, and I have considered many careers, but whenever I thought i knew what I wanted to do, deep down I knew it wasn’t. I finally figured out why I’ve been unable to pick a career, and it’s because I absolutely love to write. I would write all day, everyday if I could. I just thought that writing was a hobby, and I couldn’t make a career out of it. I now know that I can make a career out of writing, and this is what I wish to pursue in college. Only problem is that my parents want me to be a doctor or something, but this doesn’t interest them. All they care about is me making enough money, but I feel that money isn’t everything, and I would rather do what I love, and be happy. I have faith in myself, that someday I can be a sucessful writer. I just wish my parents could see that this is what I love to do. By reading all your posts on this website, it has really helped brighten my day, and it has shown me that I’m not alone, and that I can do what I love, if I have faith in myself. thank you

    • You’re welcome :) I’m glad you found strength and inspiration here, and I wish you the best of luck with all your writing and education. Keep writing, no matter what!

  47. Jane Kashtel says:

    “Now, I’m not saying you’re going to make a whole lot to live on with some of these creative writing jobs but if you do what you love, the money (i.e. the success) just might follow.”

    Therein lies the problem with this article. That’s not how writing works; “success” is not synonymous with “the money.” The vast majority of novelists could not live completely off their book sales, and I can think of no short fiction writers who could make that claim. Don’t even get me started on poets; getting published in the most highly regarded journals in the country leads neither to fame nor fortune. 

    Writing isn’t accountancy or business management. You don’t get into creative writing to fulfill some sort of career desire. You do it because you feel compelled to write, because you have something to say. It is the effective communication of the idea that defines success, not the money attached. 

    • The problem with your comment, Jane, is that is disregards the title of the post that it criticizes. Young and new writers often ask me about whether they can make a career out of creative writing. This article answers the question can I make a living doing what I love (writing)? You may feel there’s something wrong with that, but I don’t. In fact, I admire people who pursue their passions and attempt to turn them into viable careers. People do need to eat.

      “You don’t get into creative writing to fulfill some sort of career desire. You do it because you feel compelled to write, because you have something to say. It is the effective communication of the idea that defines success, not the money attached.”

      I don’t think anyone has the right to tell other people why they should write or how they should define success. You and I come from a similar place since these ideas reflect my own personal feelings about writing, but I would never tell someone else what constitutes a valid reason for writing or how they should define their own success. There are, indeed, people who get into writing to fulfill a career desire and who define success by how much money they make.

  48. Jane Kashtel says:

    “The problem with your comment, Jane, is that is disregards the title of the post that it criticizes.”

    It does indeed, because it’s a faulty premise. Let’s look at your list: there are very, very few novelists who are able to live completely off their royalties, and I don’t know of any short fiction writer anywhere who could make that claim. As for “personal poet,” even professional poets who win the country’s best prizes don’t “make a living” from their poetry sales. Calling these “careers” would be misleading.

    But notice how many novels, shorts stories and poems get published every year. My point was that writing is a field not exclusive to professionals. Anyone can write a novel with the possibility of publishing, but it is disingenuous to call this a “career” when it’s not a main source of income for most.

    “There are, indeed, people who get into writing to fulfill a career desire and who define success by how much money they make.”

    Writing is not economics or finance, it’s a process of communication. Using this communication tool as a money-making strategy would involve telling people what they want to hear. There are descriptions reserved for those who only tell others what they want to hear.

    • Jane, you seem to be more interested in looking for minute points to argue rather than grasping the full intent of this post. There are plenty of novelists and other creative writers who have built full-time and part-time careers with their work. I happen to know “personal poets” who subsidize their income by writing personal poetry. Might I suggest that you open your mind to the possibility that the people you know and experiences you’ve had are not definitive? You are merely presenting your opinions and personal experiences as facts, and they are not facts.

      I don’t care if a writer’s work is a main source of income, a part-time source of income, or if it doesn’t lead to any income at all. My job here is to encourage writers to pursue their dreams and that includes trying to make a career out of their writing, if that is what they want to do. I never said that writing is economics or finance. I said that some writers get into it as a career (James Patterson is an example — he himself says he’s a better marketer than writer). If you think such people are hacks or sellouts, then that is your opinion. I have my own opinions about it, but I don’t go around publicly judging other writers because I have not walked in their shoes. I do not know what is in their hearts. And neither do you.

      “Using this communication tool as a money-making strategy would involve telling people what they want to hear. There are descriptions reserved for those who only tell others what they want to hear.”

      There are also descriptions reserved for people who go around the Internet stirring up malicious arguments and for people who lack manners. I neither appreciate nor welcome your insinuations. Such insults, however cloaked in wit, will only get you banned from commenting here. I built Writing Forward to be a positive, uplifting space for writers to explore their craft. It’s a shame that you’re so pessimistic about other people’s potential and what is possible for aspiring writers.

  49. Yuly says:

    Thank you for your ideas in writing career paths, it gives me some things to think about. As a child and in my teen years I used to write short stories. However, as an adult I have lost that creative side and find that I am empty and in need to be creative. I have considered pursuing a MA in creative writing with hopes that I can find that creative side of again. I feel, however that spending the time and money on this degree may not deem worthy because it is incredibly difficult to obtain a job that pays well enough to keep the bills paid. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Yuly, I don’t think anyone can tell you whether it would be best for you to pursue writing on your own or to get an MA. If you are disciplined, I think you can do it on your own. If you need a lot of direction, guidance, and support, then an MA program might be better for you. Either way, you can pick up plenty of books to inspire you. When I’m uninspired and need to get more creative, I usually go through creative writing exercises and prompts, which always get my ideas flowing again. Good luck to you!

  50. Molly Kluever says:

    I’m in the 8th grade, and it seems that whenever something is needed, such as a testimony of my school, a farewell speech for a retiring teacher, or a greeting at an event, my name always seems to come up. Then I get a phone call, saying what is needed and the deadline. I’m glad to do it, and obviously I don’t charge anything. However, if adults always think of me, a kid, when they need something written, surely other people will do the same when I’m older.
    Is my reasoning off, or is that a possible job opportunity?

    • If the school is calling on you for writing, then that is certainly a testament to your writing abilities. It’s a good indicator that you are a talented writer, and yes, I would say that if you enjoy writing, these are all signs that writing might be a good career option for you.

  51. Hadassa says:

    I just completed my engineering(Civil Engineering). I have absolutely no aptitude for that subject. I did it due to pressure from family. Now, its my career. My life. I feel its high time I take a stand. I have great passion towards writing. I have thereby, developed decent writing skills. So, I would like to pursue a career in the same. Right now, I need some place to start and venture into the world of writing. That’s exactly where I need help!

    • I have to admit that I honestly don’t understand why some families pressure kids to pursue one particular career. I guess I can empathize when it’s a family tradition (five generations of doctors or something like that) but I can’t get behind it at all. I think each person should pursue what’s in his or her heart. Do what you love!

    • martha says:

      I agree. Kids should decide for themselves. And where are the guidance counselors in all this?

    • Kevin says:

      I’ve experinced the delima’s first hand similar to you,concerning family and friend’s who where great math major’s but couldn’t get through college without the English major’s writing their paper’s?I was the English major who didn’t even finish my assocites in literature because I couldn’t do Algebra.Yet my god given passion is english and the art’s ,and especially writing.All I can say is ,especially in are high tech world today,pursue what your gifted at,and if it’s writing ,do what your heart’s telling you,don’t be like so many and waite till your 50ty,you can still do it,don’t let friend’s and family say different,one dedicated art person that does give a dam.

      • There is a lot to learn by getting a degree, so I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t finish your associate’s in literature. However, there is a lot you can learn about the craft by simply reading and studying on your own. With or without a formal education, it takes a lot of work to make it as a writer. Good luck to you.

  52. Quadree Breeland says:

    I’m a college student and I need some advice for a journalism career career. I love the entertainment industry as a whole. Video Games, movies, tv shows, celebrities, and music. I am currently in school for journalism and I just need help what kind of journalist I should be. I’ve already looked into entertainemt journalism and I live that. Writing articles/pieces about the entertainment industry looks like an awesome job. But what do entertainment journalists focus on. Do they just focus on being on the red carpet all the time or writing articles about celebrities all day? Do entertainemt journalists write articles about Video games, movies, tv shows, music, and other celebrity stuff. Should I become a freelance journalist? I guess my dream job is to write articles or do reports for ign in New York or another entertainment company with an office. Maybe a staff position?

    Or maybe I should try games journalism? But dont entertainment journalist write about video games too? I’m a gamer and I would love to write about the newest games or movies coming out or do reviews.

    • I’m not an entertainment journalist (or a journalist for that matter), so I cannot give you career advice, but you might try reaching out to an entertainment journalist who can answer some of these questions for you. Good luck!

  53. Stephanie says:

    I am currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing and I have to say that this is one of the most accurate lists I came across. What is good for aspiring writers to keep in mind, especially those with CW degrees, is that writing is a craft. It’s very practical, so unlike history, philosophy or literature degrees a writer has transferable skills.
    If you are a writer looking to make some money while writing a novel or a collection, you can offer editing and proofreading services. Becoming a content writer is a profitable pathway as well. A lot of companies look for skilled writers to produce their online articles and they usually pay well. And for the more daring, there is online publishing. Is not a guaranteed route but it gives you a boost of confidence; no matter how much you make, it’s good to know that somebody paid to read your work.

    • Thanks Stephanie. I’ve taken the online and self-publishing route and haven’t looked back :)

    • Matt says:

      Just a little quibble: A history degree does produce transferable skills related to research and analysis, writing, word processing, etc.. It’s not “just learning names and dates.” :D

    • Lila says:

      Stephanie,

      Where in the world did you find a PhD program in creative writing? The highest I’ve found is a masters.

  54. Christina says:

    Thinking about chaning careers. Although I got my B.G.S – General Studies and and a Masters in Management – I took a lot of creative wirting classes in college and it is something that I think I could be good at. This might be a good place to get some ideas on getting started. Thanks!

  55. vivek says:

    i am doing engineering first year..i took the decision as i have always been quite good at maths and stuff..but i started writing last year simply for the passion that was ignited by some great novels and i am totally a novice in it..yet i like it a lot.
    So right now i am in a dilemma which career path i should take…one thats based on my interest but im not so good at(writing).. or the one in which i am good at(maths,science)??

    • I think most young people struggle with this same dilemma. Unfortunately, nobody can tell you which life path is best for you. You must find that answer within yourself. I do think that you can pursue both science and writing (you could, for example, become a science writer). You can also study writing and become better at it. It’s up to you.

  56. Quadree Breeland says:

    I want to get into freelance writing in the entertainment industry. I love writing and I’ve looked into copywritimg and story producing. Any advice or any writing careers I should take on?

    • The best advice I can give you is to study writing and the entertainment industry. If you want to write entertainment news, you might want to major in journalism at a university. For screenwriting, you can major in film studies at many universities. Get to know the industry and keep working on improving your writing. There are also tons of resources you can get if you don’t go to university. Start with the “Writing Resources” section here on Writing Forward, then head to your favorite bookstore and search for books on your field of interest. Good luck!

  57. mari says:

    wow! you guys really love writing. Me too but I’m taking up pre dentistry right now but i really love writing much more. Actually i just wanna try this course but i think i’m not gonna continue because writing is really my passion and i’d love to pursue it. my parents don’t know any of this yet and i’m planning to tell them..any advice for me guys? thanks to whoever answers this.. :)

    • One thing to keep in mind is that you can study dentistry and writing. You can choose writing courses for your electives and set aside a little time each day for your writing. As far as changing your studies, I believe that each individual has to find his or her own path. Once you find your path, I think you should follow it, because I believe one of the worst fates is a life of regret. Hopefully, the people in your life will be supportive, although unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Ultimately, only you can make this decision. It is a big one. Take your time to think about it. Consider talking to a career counselor, who should be open-minded and objective.

  58. Alyssa says:

    Okay, so I’ve been thinking about the popular question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?”. Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and I LOVE books. Seriously. If I wasn’t on a competitive, year-round swim team, I could read all day. I have been thinking about jobs that circle around the actual “writing” idea, if you know what I mean. I’ve considered being an editor, since I love books, but I’m not quite sure what an editor does. Any ideas?

    • Editors do some writing but their main function is to make editorial decisions. Their duties vary depending on where they work. A magazine editor, for example, decides which stories go into each issue, which one gets the cover spot, and will also assign articles to the writers. An editor at a publishing house makes decisions about how the text will be revised for publication. Editors also actually edit, meaning they review the writers’ work and make changes to improve it. I don’t know for sure, but I would think (hope) that someone would start out as a writer before becoming an editor. I suggest using Google to learn more about different careers for editors.

  59. I recommend experimenting with different types of writing to choose the right field. Spend a month exploring journalism, a month writing fiction, and a month with poetry. Eventually, you’ll weed out the types of writing that aren’t right for you.

    • Philip says:

      Hey there,

      First of all, thank you for this post and all your replies. It’s very good of you to reply to everyone who needs direction. So, my dilemma is that I will be commencing my masters degree in September and lately I’ve been thinking of pursuing a creative writing masters instead.

      I’ve just finished my undergraduate degree in communications and I was deputy editor and features editor of the monthly university arts magazine, which I absolutely loved and learned so much through. My undergraduate thesis was in the form of a creative writing novella, which was roughly 18,000 words. I had always wanted to try my hand at fiction writing and by completing the thesis I became fully aware how much I enjoyed it. I also received very positive feedback from lecturers.

      Once I finished my undergraduate degree, I applied for and received a place on a masters in public relations, which I think I would enjoy as it’s media related. However, as mentioned, I’ve been seriously considering giving up the PR masters and applying for the creative writing one instead. My issue is that I am torn between a course that’s practical and could very well lead to a successful career, and a prestigious CW course that I’m highly interested in but may be quite impractical in the long run. I have this dream of travelling and writing novels (long shot I know) and a CW masters could help me bring my writing skills and ideas to the next level. So, I guess I’m asking if you think a CW masters is necessary in becoming an author?

      And what would your opinion be on switching courses into CW or staying with the original choice? Would it be more wise to stick with PR (which I’m currently interning in) and try do some writing on the side? My only problem is, with writing I feel I need guidance, direction and deadlines. I may find it hard to do it on the side, especially when the majority of my energy would be going elsewhere.

      Any info/advice would be great :) And sorry for the long post.

      Philip

      • No, you definitely do not need a CW masters to become an author. My guess is that most published authors don’t have masters. I once heard a bit of advice from an author (can’t remember who) that I thought was sound. She said that if you are self-driven and will do your writing and study the craft on your own, then you don’t need a masters. One of the benefits of a masters program is that it forces you to write and learn. If you do that on your own, you don’t really need the coursework (unless you want it for prestige). Having said that, my guess is that there is value in a masters program, in being immersed in writing and literature and surrounded with other writers, even for those who are self-driven.

        Having said all that, nobody can tell you what to study. It’s a classic dilemma: follow your dreams or do the “smart thing.” Only you know what is the right path for you.

  60. Danny says:

    I just graduated with a BA in creative writing about 5 months ago, and I’ve been applying for jobs in the creative field like crazy. I’ve applied for practically every advertising firm in the Chicago area and I’ve heard back from two of them. I don’t know if it’s because I lack experience, or the economy is just that bad. I’ve tried applying for jobs out of my field, but it’s still no dice.
    I hope I can find something extremely soon, as I’m near desperation at this point. I really hope there’s hope, so I don’t regret getting a BA in creative writing : (.

    • I held office jobs for several years after earning my BA in creative writing. Since I had a degree in English, my employers often gave me writing assignments (including editing and proofreading), which helped me build my experience. It doesn’t happen overnight. Get a job to pay the bills and keep writing. Eventually, you’ll find your path. Good luck!

  61. Xinyiteoh says:

    Erm hello Melissa.. I actually want to do Creative Writing since I love writing, but I also want to do History since I love both. However my parents object to both and want me to pursue some medical degree or something. Can you erm like give me some points to argue my pitiful cause since I don’t really think I’m into doctoring since I’ve got a slight phobia of blood and ever since Biology dissecting stuff had never exactly been my thing?? I hope it’s not too much to ask.. thanks in advance

    • I am just going to be straightforward about this because I get a lot of emails and comments from young people like yourself whose parents are pressuring them into some career they abhor. I believe that each of us knows in our hearts who we are and what we want to do with our lives. If you have a phobia of blood, then it’s blatantly obvious that a career in medicine would be completely inappropriate for you. Now, if you had that phobia but desperately wanted to be a doctor, I would encourage you to get over it. But since that’s not what you want, why should you torment yourself? I understand why some parents advocate certain careers for their kids – they associate success with money and prestige. I do not. I equate success with happiness. And I believe that once we become adults, it is our own responsibility to find our happiness. So, once you are an adult, it’s up to you to find your path and follow it. Do what you love.

  62. Darren says:

    What is the difference between journalism and creative writing? I am still not very sure even after researching on the net. I have a dilemma on which course to take. I want to be a novelist but that might take years to complete a book. So, what my mother advised is that I should get a stable job that ensures my survival while I work on the book first. Which one should I do?

    • Journalism can fall under creative writing. For example, if you wrote a literary nonfiction book on a specific person or subject, it could be both journalism and creative nonfiction. Journalism is one of those forms that has become a bit gray. Originally, journalism meant reporting on the facts, objectively. Nowadays, a lot of journalism is heavily colored by the author’s personal views and ideologies. A novel is creative writing and not journalism at all; it is fiction where journalism is fact-based.

      I think getting a stable job while writing your first book is a pretty smart way to go. Do you even have a choice? I mean, unless someone is willing to support you while you write your book, you’re going to need a job to pay the bills.

  63. Erica Barrus says:

    I have always had a passion for writing, but never had confidence to let anyone read any of my work. I do not have a fancy education, but I do have an amazing imagination! The work I did when I was younger my mom found and was amazed by my story. I do enjoy wrting poetry and short stories. During the development of my son, I wrote in my journal Letters to Baby. As the pregnancy developed things were less than peferct and not very positive. I stopped writing my Letter’s to Baby because it was sad things written. I only wanted my child to know he was loved from day one no matter where life took us.
    The baby is now 10 yrs old and so much has inspired me to write again. I started a story that I hold dear to my heart and I am super excited about it. I dont expect publishing ever, but I would like to get an outside opinion from someone in the industry that could give me tips and tools to help my creativity develope. I also would like to know some avenues I can go down to continue writing for fun and just to get things out of my mind. I am sure it is hard to make a living writing, but if I can make a little something to put away for a rainy day that would be great! Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!

    • I would actually recommend that you take a creative writing class or workshop. An in-person one would be best but if you’re too busy, try to find an online course (community colleges are great for this). This is an ideal way to connect with other writers while getting mentoring from someone who is experienced (the teacher) and you’ll find that many other writers share your insecurities. Make sure you vet the class first to make sure it’s credible. You might also want to research the instructor a little.

      Another option would be to find a local writing group, but that may be more challenging since writing groups often arise out of established relationships. However, there are some open writing groups, especially online and in larger cities.

      Your first hurdle will be to work on your confidence and worry more about strengthening your work than what other people think. Everybody starts somewhere. As long as you’re willing to work at it and improve your skills, it does not matter where you are now with your writing.

  64. Thomas Thyros says:

    Hello,

    I am a discouraged writer in need of some information. I have been writing for a little over a year and I have had some success. I have been nationally published, being a staff member on one magazine start-up, an editor-in-chief of one failed start-up magazine, and I am a staff member for an online magazine for which I publish an article every three months. I have also been published on a few other informational websites. Additionally, I have ghost written close to 200 articles on a low paying website.

    The problem I have faced (which has caused me to stop writing now for several months) is the total lack of pay I have received for my efforts. So many will ask you to write; however, they do not want to pay a reasonable rate for your craft. This is the only problem that I face as per my writing. I thoroughly enjoy writing, but I cannot continue to write for such low pay. Any tips, advice, what have you, would be appreciated. Otherwise, I will have to give up writing and move on to something else. Thanks.

    • I had the same problem when I first started freelancing. Then I realized that the reason I was getting low paying gigs was because I was accepting low paying gigs. The better paying jobs are harder to find and in my case, I started my own website and business to attract clients and set my own rates. This involved a lot of marketing to get my own clients and they are business people rather than content farms. However, there is a caveat: the writing must be at a professional level to warrant higher rates.

      • Thomas Thyros says:

        Hello Melissa,

        Thanks for responding. I haven’t accepted a low paying writing job in some time now, nor have I used any content farms. I can market well as I am a singer songwriter, and I have made good progress with it in that realm. My writing is always professional and of the jobs I have found they have paid well. However, it seems as though it is near impossible to find enough well paying writing jobs to make ends meet. Anyway, again, thanks for responding and for your suggestions. Best of luck to you.

        • Well Thomas, I wish I had some solid advice to give you, but I don’t know enough about your business and marketing strategies. I do know that there are plenty of self-employed and freelance content writers out there. I’m sure a lot of them struggle to make ends meet but plenty of them have found considerable success. When I first started, I did my best to seek out successful writers and examine their approaches so I could learn from them. I do think having one’s own website and operating as a business (or professional consultant) makes a huge difference.

  65. Perfect!

    I was just having this discussion with a friend a while back about how people get locked into three options when they write and that’s it. There are so many other opportunities out there if you know where to look for them. You just have to be open and aware of what is really out there.

    Thanks for sharing this, I am glad this came along at the right time. Maybe I’ll send this over her way today!

  66. This is not totally related to creative writing careers, but I really wanted to comment on some of your posts about creative writing inspiration and prompts but comments were closed. I think randomness is one of the best ways to spark creativity, if it can be refined and focused. I’ve actually been working with two other creative writers on a school project (we’re in college) called Muse, whose purpose is to inspire writers by providing random words and pictures. We prototyped several versions and ended up with a version that allows writers to infinitely scroll through a mix of random and associated words, learning from what the writer clicks. Then on the next page it offers random pictures from the internet (as well as random tweets and online posts) associated with each word. Feedback we’ve gotten is that one word or one picture can help someone determine what he or she is writing about. There was one instance where a picture associated with the word dream lead a writer to change their poem to turn darker and be about the line between dreaming and death. It’s been incredibly interesting seeing how different people associate words and pictures and how the visual aspect is more useful to some than others.

    Check out our project (it’s completely non-comercial, like I said, we are students): museinspire.com

    We’d love feedback from writers!

  67. Robyn LaRue says:

    Holy comments, Batman ! :) #3, #5, #8, #19, and, one day, #10. My idea of a great career. :)

  68. Madonna Weaver says:

    Its so good to read through the interests in writing and thank you for the informative comments. I have self published a poetry book that people can use in their cards, tributes. on blurb.com called Handy Verse for Occasions with a possum on the front. I am working on my children’s stories and acitivities and will self publish in September this year. and I am blogging the challenge on madonnamm7.wordpress.com I had written the stories many years ago and did not have as much motivation and my husband encouraged me and I was inspired by the movie Julie and Julia (Meryl Streep) and started the year challenge.

    Regards Madonna Weaver

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