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Writer or Author

Writers and authors typically do the following:
  • Choose subject matter that interests readers
  • Write fiction or nonfiction through scripts, novels, and biographies
  • Conduct research to obtain factual information and authentic detail
  • Write advertising copy for use by newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
  • Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
  • Work with editors and clients to shape the material so it can be published

Writers and authors develop written material, namely, stories and advertisements, for books, magazines, and online publications.

Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through strong research and the use of appropriate sources and citations. Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the best organization and the most appropriate phrasing.

An increasing number of writers are freelance writers—that is, they are self-employed and earn their living by selling their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers. Many freelance writers are hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.

An increasing number of writers are producing material that is published directly online in videos and on blogs.

The following are examples of types of writers and authors:

Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce advertising themes, jingles, and slogans.


Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately portray important events in that person's life.


Generalists write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a  given field.


Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.


Songwriters compose music and lyrics for songs. They may write and perform their own songs or sell their work to a music publisher. They sometimes work with a client to produce advertising themes, jingles, and slogans, and they may be involved in marketing the product or service.


Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They produce lines for actors to say, stage direction for actors to follow, and ideas for theatrical set design.


Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or turn a book into a movie or television script. Some may produce content for radio broadcasts and other types of performance.


Journalists write reports on current events. 
Personality & Interest

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Writer or authors typically have an interest in the Creator interest area, according to the Holland Code framework. The Creator interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. 

If you are not sure whether you have a Creator interest which might fit with a career as a writer or author, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Writer or authors should also possess the following specific qualities:

Adaptability. Writers and authors need to be able to adapt to newer software platforms and programs, including various Content Management Systems (CMS).


Creativity. Writers and authors must be able to develop new and interesting plots, characters, or ideas so they can come up with new stories.


Critical-thinking skills. Writers and authors must have dual expertise in thinking through or understanding new concepts, and conveying it through written word.


Determination. Writers and authors sometimes work on projects that take years to complete. Freelance writers who are paid per assignment must demonstrate perseverance and personal drive.


Persuasion. Writers, especially those in advertising, must be able to persuade others to feel a certain way about a good or service.


Social perceptiveness. Writers and authors must understand how readers react to certain ideas in order to connect with their audience.


Writing skills. Writers and authors must be able to write effectively in order to convey feeling and emotion and communicate with readers.
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