Is content writing a good career choice? If you have a way with words, a sharp intellect, and a passion for reading, then writing is probably the career for you. But wait, isn’t there stiff competition in that area?
While the professional world shifted to work from home, many experienced professionals turned towards content writing as an alternate career. The online space is suddenly flooding with books and blogs ranging from fiction and poetry to self-help, cooking, and travelogues. Basically, there’s a book or a blog about every topic under the sun. With this explosion of blogs, every aspiring writer is asking themselves, “Who would want to read a new inexperienced writer? “
Fear not, for there is a professional world of writers much bigger than book authors and bloggers. There are creative writers, non-fiction writers, editors, columnists, and many more types of writers engaged by corporates, media, academia, and publishing houses. Believe it or not, there has been a surge of demand in the market for content writers. Remember how there’s stiff competition because of working professionals switching to writing as a career? Well, there’s also a surge in readers as a lot of working professionals have more time and interest for reading because of this sudden switch to working from home.
But even without the current surge in demand, there has always been a plethora of opportunities for good writers as well-written content has always been short in supply. It’s time we changed that by learning how we can become good writers and also probably a career out of it!
What makes a good writer?
Good writers are not born; they are made with hard work and dedication, like every other profession. Following are a few content writer skills you need to sharpen before you start your career in writing.
A stronghold over the language: Grammar, syntax, and composition: The key skills for a content writer. An employer will most certainly test your language abilities before offering you a job.
A reading habit – You need to be a habitual reader and consumer of content. This is because reading gives you ideas. Reading up is the most common method of content research before you write on any subject. Reading also improves your language skills and comprehension abilities.
An eye for detail – writing content is all about detail. Writing has always been about creating an image in the reader’s mind. The more detailed the description, the more vivid is the image, and the better is the writing. An eye for detail also means putting all the punctuation marks in the correct places, dotting your i’s, and crossing your t’s.
Diligence and perseverance – A good piece of writing is a product of thorough research, review, and edits. It is almost never the first draft that flows out of your pen. Writing is a process that requires diligence and perseverance.
Originality – Writers must be able to think clearly and write “in their own words.” Plagiarism is a serious offense as it amounts to stealing someone’s ‘intellectual property.’
Given all of the above conditions, do you have it in you to be a content writer? If you do, then you are face-to-face with the next question: What kind of writer do you want to be?
Careers in writing
Now you might ask, ‘what is the work of a content writer ?’ Well, there is an abundance of options when it comes to building content writing as a career. The best part is, you don’t have to restrict yourself to one of them!
1. Web content writer
Web content writers are the ones who write for websites and blogs. These are often short pieces of writing which involve research and knowledge of search optimization techniques. The advantage of this type of writing is freelancing as it has opened the option for content writers to work from home.
Journalists write for the media. Their work is based on news, current affairs, and contemporary subjects of interest to the general public. Journalists often have a quick turnaround time. This means they have a short period to write informative yet concise articles.
Copywriters rewrite and refine unorganized content for organizations. The fundamental challenge for a copywriter is to not compromise on the grammatical quality while adhering to SEO guidelines.
4. Technical writer
Technical writers have sound technical knowledge and the ability to explain technology in simple words. They produce user guides and user manuals for different equipment and help manuals for software. They often need to follow technical writing style guides, such as the Microsoft Style.
5. Instructional designer
An instructional designer and content writer designs and creates creative content for training students, corporate employees, or anybody who wants to learn. This includes content for eLearning, training videos, or classroom presentations. Such writers often work with multimedia developers and subject matter experts.
6. Script/Screenplay writer
Script and Screenplay writers are interchangeable roles decided based on the project at hand. They write scripts, scenes, and dialogues for movies, serials, documentaries, and television programs.
A ghostwriter writes for someone else, this means that they write but do not take any credit for their work. They are usually professional freelance writers capable of producing top-tier writing. They turn information given to them into high-quality write-ups sold under the name of somebody else as the author. Many books written by famous personalities are ghost-written by a highly accomplished writer.
8. Book writer/ author
Who hasn’t heard of J K Rowling or our own Amish and Chetan Bhagat? These are people who have gained immense fame through their writing. While they are fiction writers, many other genres could fetch a lot of royalty.
9. Academic Writer and Editor
Academic and research articles published in reputed journals are submitted by researchers and scholars. However, such people often have poor writing skills. These articles need to be edited following strict guidelines and standards of writing. Writers who assist in academic writing and editing are well versed in the research paper writing styles, such as APA and MLA styles.
A Reality Check:
Indeed, many writers quit well-paid corporate jobs to get into full-time writing. But bear in mind that their passion for writing made them dedicate long hours to writing. Again, passion alone might help you pursue your love for writing, it will not help you grow in this field. You need skills, experience, and lots of practice. Even seasoned writers need to revise their copies repetitively before finalizing their work. Despite this effort, their editors make further changes and corrections to elevate their work.
So what should be your educational direction to pursue a career in writing?
While your career mentor is the best person to guide you in this, a degree in literature or comparative literature or journalism and mass communication is best advised. In addition to this, you must hone up your language skills. There are numerous free and paid online courses to help you with this. Furthermore, you can also be a specialist, such as a technical writer or an instructional designer. For this, you would need to learn about the relevant standards, protocols, and technologies involved through specialized courses. This could be followed by an internship in a reputed organization or under a skilled writer, which would be a significant advantage in advancing your career.
But before you plunge into the world of writing and writers, it would be wise to consult your career mentor and understand the direction you can take. Even if a Dheya test confirms your potential as a future writer, you still need to make a choice from the different kinds of career opportunities available today, some of which are mentioned above, and then prepare yourself accordingly.
Finally, remember the wise old saying – Practice makes perfect! Be motivated, determined, confident, and never lose sight of your goal. At the same time, overconfidence can nip your career aspirations in the bud. An early failure may demotivate you and move you away from the path that is meant for you. You can always contact Dheya Career Mentors if you learn more about content writing as a career!