So you want to be a writer huh?
I mean that’s why we’re all here right?
I’ve always thought people that say “I want to be a writer” should change their dream to “I want to be a working writer,” because let me tell you. It’s relatively easy to become a writer. It is a whole other thing to get people to pay you to write.
I mean most people are writers technically. You write a lot in school. People write text messages all day. Your aunt writes 14,000 word Facebook posts. Lots of people are writers.
Being a professional writer is a different animal.
Even when you’re a professional writer and people are legally obligated to pay you for the work you did it can still be quite the task to get them to open their pursestrings.
So if you if you want to break into the writing industry you’ll most likely find freelance or low level writing work.
Unless you’re one of those people who’s first splash into the cult of scribes and scribblers is publishing a book. Then you just go away. No one likes an over achiever.
So let’s look at some different writing jobs.
Job: Content Creator
Here’s what the job description will say:
New platform/website/startup looking for passionate and dedicated wordsmiths who want a flexible work environment and can deliver content on time.
Looking for someone with experience blogging. copywriting, and social media.
Requirements: a computer and a pulse
Pay: Up to 20 dollars an hour
What it really means:
9 times out of ten anything like this means that it’s a content mill. Which means low level writing work that they want you burn yourself out producing stuff while they dangle a carrot of higher paid opportunities.
Yes you can make “up to 20 dollars an hour” if you can write ten articles in that time because they’re only going to pay you a penny a word.
You’ll complain that this is too much work.
It will fall on deaf ears.
You’ll move on after wasting a month and they won’t care because there’s a fresh crop of writers behind you.
I wouldn’t recommend it. But hey if that’s how you get your foot in the door and build a resume it might be worth.
Still probably better than coal mining.
Creative Writing Professor
So you went to grad school after college because the job prospects after graduation didn’t look great. (Spoiler they never get better in the writing world.) And now you want to teach.
Creative writing professor wanted:
We are seeking a passionate and dedicated professional seeking to teach and mentor new writers that either have rich parents or don’t realize that they are paying for a useless degree and will probably end up in phlebotomy school after graduating.
We are looking for someone to teach at least 18 sections of classes per semester and have office hours at least seven days a week.
Requirements: A Phd or MFA in creative writing from someplace that looks they filmed Dead Poets Society there.
Candidate must have published at least one story in The New Yorker or McSweeney’s. Candidate will expected to publish at least one major project per year.
Candidates with books already published would be preferred. Best selling authors will get extra preference.
Candidate must provide their own tweed jacket.
We are looking for writers that have written about the daily struggle of being an upperclass white person.
Genre writers need not apply.
Pay: A swift kick in the rear end
Once upon a time I thought of going this route. However, I realized that I:
- Was not nearly a good enough writer
- Had no interest in going to graduate school
- Had no interest in writing literary fiction
But if you go this route I won’t blame you. It seems fun if you like teaching and have little interest in money.
This is how most people enter the writing field. It’s a good way for one on the fence to dip his or her toe into profession and see if they like it.
We are looking for freelance writers to help provide content for our new website. We need someone who can provide 5,000 word documents in under 2 hours, and doesn’t mind dealing with unhappy clients who like to change their mind half way through the project. Also must be willing to do unlimited revisions until the client is satisfied. Writer will also tackle numerous functions well outside their job description and be willing to complete an minimum of 40 assignments per month.
We reserve the right to alter your contract at any time and sometimes we will go days without emailing you.
Pay: Hahahahhahhahahhhaahahahahahha, we’ll pay you six years after the sun goes out.
These are the holy grails of the writer world. Guaranteed month every month. I thought it was a myth but’s true some writers know what they’re making month to month instead of worrying if they’ll have to sell a kidney.
A staff writing job is the envy of the writing world. You get a sweet gig in a swanky office and you get like coworkers and stuff. There’s probably like coffee and donuts in the break room.
Staff Writing Position:
We are looking to add to our staff of highly competent writers. We have an established brand and if you think that you’d fit our company culture feel free to apply.
- Bachelors degree from Bard.
- 17 years writing experience.
- Must have had a cover story on at least three well known magazines.
- Rich parents so you could do our unpaid internship in New York.
- A personal recommendation from at least one former President
- Willing to sacrifice your first born, possibly second
- Must like turtlenecks and thick rimmed glasses
Pay: 100,000 dollars a year of that sweet, sweet venture capital money. Plus expenses.
So if you’re thinking about getting a writing job these are the things you can expect to find.