Job Profile: Writer
Posted on May 9, 2017
A writer creates engaging content in the format of the written word. This content can be fictional or non-fictional. Moreover, there are several variations of this job. From screenwriters to book authors and technical writers, there is hardly any industry writers cannot be found in. But no matter whether the content is imaginative or real, all writers have to research their topic to varying degrees. Some writers get credit for their work; that means they are being named as the person responsible for the original text. As a freelance writer, being publicly mentioned as the author of your work, is not always the case. Depending on what companies/industries you write for and the medium your texts are published on, your name might actually never get mentioned. If that is the case, you work as a ghost writer.
Types of Writers
There is an abundance of different writers, which makes it difficult to list them all. Having said that, we will attempt to summarise them in three different categories:
• Creative Writer
• Journalistic, Academic or Technical Writer
As the title suggests, creative writers use their creativity to come up with captivating, nerve-wracking, heartbreaking, soul-hugging (you get the picture) texts that can be both fictional and non-fictional. They write short stories, poems, biographies, novels, scripts and plays. Basically, creative writers cover all areas and genres of literature.
Journalistic, Academic or Technical Writer
Articles, publications and instructions that require expert knowledge and a great skill to make the topic accessible for the target audience, are written by this type of writer. Journalistic writers cover all kinds of journalistic reports, from current affairs to human interest stories. Depending on their area of interest, journalistic writers’ styles can vary immensely, from a neutral, fact-giving report to a humorous portrayal of an occurrence. Academic writers, on the other hand, always apply a critical approach to writing. This requires the ability to accurately describe, contrast and evaluate two or more opposing point of views in an unbiased manner. Their work can be published as a research article or paper, as a book, essay and in further scientific discourses. In some way academic writing can be seen as related to technical writing, as it also specialises in a certain scientific field, namely technology. However, technical writing is not only limited to procedures or manuals for technical devices, it also encompasses all kinds of texts that require an in-depth understanding of the topic and a well-presented explanation. This can include, but is not limited to, instructions, business proposals and product descriptions.
Copy writers create texts that are used for advertising and marketing purposes. These can include newsletters, billboards, blog posts, brochures, social media posts and much more. A good copywriting grabs the target audience’s attention and induces them to take further action, such as to buy a certain product, click the like button or visit a specific website.
Skills every Writer has to have
The Tools for Writers
Depending on what type of writer you are, you might need different or further tools. Old-fashioned materials such as a notepad and a pen can be useful when inspiration strikes or to note down impressions while interviewing a celebrity. Although an important tool for many writers, Microsoft Word will not be discussed in detail, as you probably know what it is. The following list therefore does not cover everything.
Grammar and spell checker
Tools that automatically check your text for grammatical errors, such as Grammarly, can be very helpful. This is especially true because Microsoft Word does not always spot every single mistake. It will be impossible for you to see them in your own text without technical help or the aid of a proofreader, no matter how often you read through it – our brain is extremely good at filling in the blanks or correct errors without us being consciously aware of it. This is also the case with spelling mistakes. If you want to make sure that your text is as perfect as it can be before sending it to your client, make sure to double and triple check for any errors using reliable software.
It is advisable not only for clients but also for writers to check their work for plagiarism. It can happen that a sentence (accidentally) made it into the text that is being used in a different source. A unique, plagiarism-free article/story is a sign of good quality. It also prevents potential legal issues. Plagiarism Checker X is just one example of the many online plagiarism detectors that will ensure a 100% original text.
Dictionary and thesaurus
You aren’t sure whether the word actually does have the meaning you think it has? Or would you like to avoid using the same term over and over again? A dictionary and a thesaurus can be very useful for any type of writer. There are plenty of online dictionaries and thesauri for you to choose from. The Oxford Dictionary is just one example.
Industries that hire Writers
The written word can be incredibly powerful, which is why you will have a hard time finding an industry that does not require the services of a writer in one form or another. It would be virtually impossible to list them all, so here are just a few examples of industries known to hire freelance writers:
Writers are hired by the travel industry to create a variety of written content, such as destination descriptions, marketing materials and blog entries.
With the advent of independent publishing, publishers have arisen that are in need of ghost writers to create their next bestseller. But the traditional publishing industry is also on the look-out for new talent. After all authors, self-published or not, can be considered self-employed.
Private health care is an industry to be reckoned with especially. It offers freelance writers well-paid opportunities in a variety of areas. In an increasingly online environment, websites for medical practices require informative content, which encourages patients to pay for this rather than consult ing another doctor. Pharmaceutical companies use texts to get their products noticed.
Due to the myriad types of writers, industries and alternate requirements of projects, it is pretty much impossible to give an accurate picture of how much a freelance writer should earn. What can be said for certain, however, is that most writers are paid per word rather than per hour, although per hour is also an option preferred by some clients. We will nonetheless attempt to provide you with a rough payment guide. It might still be wise to take it with a pinch of salt, and should you be unsure if this guide is at all applicable to you, please search for information that reflects your particular situation.
Writing a text needs time and that time should be adequately compensated for. Depending on the ‘difficulty’ of the topic, the knowledge required, and any further requests a client might have, it can take much longer to create the content than the process of writing itself.
Hourly payments can range anywhere from $5 an hour to $250 and more. Please note that the location of the freelance writer also plays a role in how much he/she will need to make per hour in order to sustain a successful freelance business.
Information Writers need from Clients
This is the kind of information writers need to see in a client’s job description to know whether they are the right candidates, and to be able to give an estimated price and project duration:
Related Job Profiles
Depending on the type of project a freelance writer is being hired for, there are quite a few freelancers with other skill sets that could work alongside the writer. Proofreaders, who correct grammar, syntax, and stylistic errors, should be part of any writing job, in order to give the text that final polishing. Editors expand on the work of a proofreader by making sure that the text is readable, consistent and adheres to the publisher’s standard. Although proofreaders are always essential, editors tend to be hired for books, magazines and any publication that requires such rigour. Graphic Designers could be hired to highlight the catchy lines and slogans with the use of equally captivating imagery. A Web Designer makes sure that the written content (and the graphic designs) finds the right place on a client’s website. Illustrators turn written word into dazzling images, which is most often needed for books. Voice over artist could also be hired to use the written text for a recording.
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