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Careers in Writing

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase in jobs for writers over the next ten years. Both the BA in English and the BFA in Creative & Professional Writing help prepare you for entry level positions. There are several things you can do to enhance your ability to work your way up to the job you want.

  • By the time you are a junior, start looking at job descriptions for writers and editors. When you find the job you want to have, take a close look at the qualifications, then seek out courses, internships and other means to acquire that knowledge and those skills. One good place to try: http://www.monster.com.
  • If you are interested in being a literary editor, major in the BA in English. Also consider the internship and professional writing courses available in the BFA.
  • If you want to write for a living, take professional writing courses, especially in electronic writing and freelance writing.
  • Talk to your academic advisor about finding an internship in a place you would like to work. Internships are often one of the best ways to enter the work world.
  • Become familiar with the issues of working writers. Visit the web sites of professional writer organizations, especially these:
  • National Writers Union http://www.nwu.org
  • Authors Guild http://www.authorsguild.org

Talk to your professors about your career goals and ask for their advice about how to get to there.

What about my creative work? 

A few people do make a living from their creative work, but it usually takes many years of writing and publishing to get to that level. Try to decide now: How do you want to spend your time? And pay your rent? Do you want to do this while you develop your creative work? You can freelance, work for a magazine, go to graduate school, teach, or work in a career entirely separate from writing. If you think about this now, you can adjust your undergraduate study to prepare for your working life.