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.

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. You may like to consider a VET qualification in mass communication, journalism or professional writing and editing. 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. A number of universities in Australia offer relevant degrees. 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

Writers may perform the following tasks:

  • 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

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. 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. New technologies have increased the expectation that writers have multimedia skills and work on personal computers, submitting their work electronically.

Specialisations:


Blogger

A blogger writes articles and opinion pieces for websites. While they often work freelance for a range of clients, they can also be employed in-house. They write pieces that are less formal than traditional journalistic articles, with the main purpose of their work being digital marketing and search engine optimisation. The work they produce is designed to engage readers and drive website traffic.


Ghostwriter

A ghostwriter researches and writes books, articles, stories or other texts on behalf of another person. Celebrities and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft autobiographies.


Technical Writer

A technical writer researches and writes manuals, textbooks, online user guides and other information-based material. Technical writers need to understand and explain complex technical information. They may specialise in IT, engineering, finance or help documentation.

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