If you plan to become a writer, you’re probably wondering exactly what education is required and how you go about gaining experience and skills in the profession. It goes without saying that one of the key elements of any successful writing career is the ability to communicate in a clear and engaging way with potential readers. So, it has to be assumed you’re already pretty good at written English and have good grammar skills.
If you have any worries about your written skills or want to brush up aspects of grammar, the BBC website is a great resource where you’ll also find links to free Open University courses to help you start writing fiction or learn to write essays and reports. You’ll find lots more free writing courses, tests and quizzes online and these can all help you build the essential skills needed to work as a writer.
The following brief guide looks in more detail at just what education you need to become a writer and the types of writer jobs you might want to consider.
To become a writer what education is needed?
As a bare minimum, you’d probably need to have a good GCSE grade in English language to work in some writing jobs, ideally this would be backed up with ‘A’ levels and perhaps even a degree. Significant and relevant work experience can also be an important factor that can help you switch to a writing career or obtain an offer to study at university if you don’t hold the essential qualifications.
If you’re not a native English speaker but want to develop a career in writing English you can access a range of free English tutorials and lessons online which will prove of help.
The UCAS website states that an English degree is “desirable” for anybody considering a writing career. However, you’ll discover a wide range of available degree courses that would be suitable for a writing career. These include journalism, creative writing, media, history and screenwriting.
One of the main benefits of studying for a degree is that you learn research skills and also acquire the ability to write long essays and a dissertation which improves your writing stamina. Academic work of this nature teaches you more about writing in a concise and precise fashion in order to convey the maximum amount of information in a fairly small word count.
Learn to become a better writer in the workplace
Of course, as already suggested an undergraduate degree is not entirely essential for launching a writing career. But, you may find it difficult to walk straight into any kind of writer job opening without one. If you work in an administrative role you may well have to compose letters and correspondence for your job and volunteering for any additional project work or report writing can be extremely beneficial for polishing written skills.
Furthering your writing ambition, though, does mean you need to build up a portfolio of samples or work regularly on your creative compositions. Building up a portfolio of written work and focusing on improving your ability by writing on a daily basis is essential for any aspiring writer. So, setting aside at least an hour a day for writing is important.
One good way to build a useful portfolio of work is to register with a copywriting agency like Copify. You get to choose the posts you want to write and are given an achievable deadline for submitting your work. You will soon build a comprehensive portfolio of written work illustrating a number of key writer skills which will prove valuable when applying for other writing roles.
Types of writer jobs
There are so many different kinds of writing jobs available it’s difficult to know where to begin. Some of these include:
- news writer or journalist
- feature writer
- author or novelist
- content writer
- business writer
- marketing writer
- playwright or screenwriter
- technical writer
- CV writer
Many writers tend to be self-employed and work on a freelance basis for a number of clients. They may have their own business website in order to attract writing customers, or could just work for a couple of agencies. Freelance writers generally work from home or in co-working office space, so it’s important to have the self-motivation and determination needed to meet deadlines and write on a regular basis.
What sort of person is suited to a writing career?
You’ve already noted there are quite a few routes into writing careers, but not everyone is suited to this kind of work. If you plan to become a novelist and create works of fiction, you’ll discover it can be quite a solitary lifestyle so it may not suit extroverts or people who need to be around others most of the time.
The same can be said for freelance copywriting and content creating roles, too. You’ll generally work alone in your own home or office space and may only interact with your copywriting agency or clients once or twice daily. Of course, building your business to a higher level will create a need to take on staff and work with others, so setting your objectives at an early stage means you can work towards your goals over a period of several months of years.
Extrovert characters may well find that building a career within a marketing environment would be far more fun and there are growing numbers of opportunities for marketing content writers. Most large organisations post regularly on social media channels and blogging sites, so bubbly would-be writers could well find a role of this nature far more enticing.
You’ll find out much more about potential writing careers and whether they will suit your personality when you’ve done a little more research.
Writing can be a very rewarding career or a lucrative part-time role to pay for the extras in life. Where you actually take your career is totally up to you as there are lots of writing opportunities in the modern online environment.