How to become a Writer

Writers plan and write literary or other written work for publication or performance. Writers may create original pieces of written work, which can take the form of poetry, novels, short stories, biographies, blogs, plays or film, radio and television scripts. They may also write for multimedia distribution. Writers may specialise in fiction writing, general interest non-fiction, journalism, children's books, educational textbooks, historical writing and transferring oral histories into written form, corporate or training videos, technical writing, magazine writing, documentation preparation, freelance editorial services, helping others to prepare manuscripts for publication, scriptwriting, documentary writing, humour, copywriting, editi

Personal requirements of a Writer

  • Observant and inquisitive approach to people and their environment
  • Able to think and write creatively and clearly
  • Excellent understanding of English, particularly grammar and spelling
  • Concentration, perseverance and dedication

Education & Training for a Writer

You can work as a writer without formal qualifications. Skills are usually developed through practice and experience. However, you will improve your chances of employment by undertaking some associated formal training. Relevant courses can range from part-time interest courses to university degrees. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Alternatively, you can become a writer by studying a degree in a related area at university. Entry to these courses usually requires you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Writer


  • choose themes or subjects for written work, conduct research into the subject, assemble background material and obtain other necessary data
  • plan and organise material and write the work
  • revise or edit the work, making sure that the style is consistent; that there is proper development of theme, plot and characterisation; and that referencing is correct
  • set out the original manuscript so that it is clear and legible (typed or word processed, for example) and submit the work to a publisher
  • work with other specialists such as scriptwriters, software developers, graphic designers and illustrators, to create multimedia works.

Employment Opportunities for a Writer

People interested in writing should consider related occupations until they are able to establish themselves in this occupation. This may be in areas such as journalism, editing, teaching and advertising. Writers are usually self-employed or work under contract. Many publications will have a bank of regular freelance contributors they rely on to provide content. Business writers may be employed by government departments and private businesses. Technical writers are usually employed under contract to publishers. New technologies have increased the expectation that writers have multimedia skills and work on personal computers, submitting their work electronically.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

NT 0.3%

QLD 19.4%

SA 5%

TAS 1.4%

VIC 24.7%

WA 9.9%

ACT 4.1%

NSW 35.1%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 44%

Female 56%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 7.9%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 8.1%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 9.8%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 12%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 38%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 29.4%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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