Sara Lang

What they do:

An author is someone who comes up with their own ideas and writes about them, while a writer is someone who writes about another person's ideas or just writes.

The typical duties of a writer/author include:

  • writing about something that interests them or their readers (fiction, nonfiction, etc)
  • researching their topic, and making sure they have valid information
  • working with editors to get their work published

Specialties within the occupation include poets, journalists, fiction writers, etc.

Work Environment:

Authors and writers work wherever they have a computer, such as an office or at home. There are not really any potential hazards, but it does depend on where you work.As a writer/author, there are many physical, mental, and emotional demands. For example:

  • You may not have enough time to spend with your family or friends. That would be an emotional demand.
  • You may not be able to get enough sleep or eat properly. That would be a physical demand.
  • You may be stressed because your readers are expecting something, and you're not ready. That would be a mental demand.

Those are only a few examples.

An author's/writer's schedule mainly depends on them. They set up their own hours, but sometimes have deadlines.

How to Become One:

A college degree is usually needed to become a writer/author. To become a full time one, a bachelor's degree is required.

Important Qualities:

  • excellent writing skills
  • good with computer
  • willing to be patient and flexible
  • creativity
  • perseverance

Writes and authors usually need years of on-the-job training. If writing about a specific topic, experience on that topic would benefit them.

Certifications can be awarded to writers and authors by certain associations. These certificates can help them get better jobs. Example: the American Grant Writers' Association gives the Certified Grant Writer.

Writers and authors can have other work experience by working at local (college and high school) newspapers, radio stations, theaters, magazines, etc. This work experience helps ready them for other, higher up jobs.

Writers and authors can advance because of popularity, getting published more often and by better publishing companies, and improving writing skills. Sometimes writers do not have enough regular work, so it can be hard to advance.


The current median annual wage for writers and authors was $55,940 in May 2012. Half earned more, and half earned less. The lowest income was $27,770, and the highest was $117,860.

Job Outlook:

The employment of writes and authors is expected to grow 3 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than average.

The industry is growing, as electronic books are now becoming popular and it is easier to self-publish.

More articles and books are being published online, and more readers are buying and reading electronic books.

Demands for online books are increasing because they are easier to buy and store in most cases.

All-in-all, writing is becoming more popular online than ever before.

Similar Occupations:

Similar occupations include:

  • Editors: Edit writings for publication. They need a bachelor's degree, and the median pay is $53,880
  • Technical Writers: Write instructions and other articles on how to use technology. They also need a bachelor's degree, and the median pay is $65,500.
  • Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: Report news that happened locally, nationally, or internationally. They need a bachelor's degree, and their median pay is $37,090.
  • Public Relations Specialists: Create an appealing public image for an organization. They need a bachelor's degree, and their median pay is $54,170.


Occupational Outlook Handbook:


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