Monday, October 7, 2013

Different Venues to Being Labeled A Writer

Jennifer Rova
Does the title mean you have to write a New York Times "Top Ten Fiction" books in order to be or think of yourself as a WRITER? Does this mean that you have your name above the title in your mystery book? There are  twenty categories of writing that will define you as a writer.

 "Writing" Original source unknown.
 Play writing---the writing is challenging but more so finding someone to produce your play is harder. A limited number of plays are produced each year and you have to have connections or be at the door when opportunity knocks.
      Poetry---a difficult way to earn a living. There just isn’t interest in today’s world to support poetry. Competitions are numerous however.
      Resume---not a strong wage earner but combined with other types of writing, it has its niche.
      Magazine articles---a popular form of writing. You may write for women’s magazines like Good Housekeeping and Family Circle, men’s magazines like Esquire and Men's Health or specialty magazines such as Iowa Farm Wife that hire outsiders to write for them on a per story basis. Some of the racier magazines pay up to $1.00/word. The lead-time is up to a year ahead.
      Screenwriters---writing screenplays for TV or movies. Movies pay a lot especially if the movie is a success and you have negotiated your contract well, as can writing for a hit TV series.
      Nonfiction---this category contains many subgenres. The stories must be true and accurate. They can be biographical books or articles, stories about any subject for any variety of audiences such as horse riding, sheep tending, sewing, camping, fitness, biographies, etc.
Academic---academicians must “publish” which is doing research, writing about it and finding the appropriate venue for publication. Other academic writing is for the bragging rights of having an article you wrote published in some credible magazine or online but there is often no pay. The pay for the former is that you are allowed to keep your job!
 Speechwriters---these jobs are mostly in the political arena but also may be part of another job like being the VP of a large company where you are asked to write the presentation/speech for your boss. 
Greeting cards---these jobs pay adequately and can be steady employment if you work for a company like Hallmark. These businesses often use freelance writers when they want new materials.
Columnists--- a work-your-way up profession. Writers usually have undergraduate college degrees in journalism or political science and start writing anything for small newspapers. Given time, opportunities and good work, you may be offered a job at a bigger newspaper until you have a reputation for something----adroitness, insight, sharp analytical abilities or a certain savvy or humor in an area.  A steady column may be offered for writing regularly in a newspaper or magazine. This can lead to full books outside of the newspaper job. Fareed Zakaria writes for TIME magazine while Ann Landers and her sister wrote advice columns for newspapers.
Journalists are similar to columnists. Most have college degrees. Some are all-category writers while others specialize in business, coverage of war or near-war situations, local stories, and politics. Some may write a series of articles following an ongoing event or through sleuthing, uncover a scandal or expose fraud.
Copywriters are among the best-paid writers. They are the people who write ads like “Folgers coffee. Mmm, mmm, good” and “Bounty the quicker picker upper.” There are other aspects to copy writing and it pays well, again up to $1/word. It can be freelance or on-staff positions in ad agencies. The ability to sell anything, window cleaner, a fantasy story, a pair of skies or a political mystery all use the talents of the copywriter to market the product.
 Songwriters---most people do not think of writing songs as a writing profession. It is combined with the ability to also write music or collaborate with someone who writes the music and you write the words like Rogers and Hammerstein.

Ghost writers---a decent paying freelance job with little or no glory. A famous person will “write” her memoirs but you do the actual writing based on interviews with the person. You may get your name mentioned or not. “My Life” by Sandra Bullock with Jane Doe”, Jane being the ghostwriter, or “Elizabeth Smart: My Story” without  your name. (Both are fictitious books made for this blog example.)
Game writers---if you are into computer games, you know the market for video game stories is huge. This writer works with a team of artists and computer specialists to make a video game that appeals to a certain age group. If you write a successful one, it can be part of a series. You can always moonlight as a fantasy or Goth writer in the evenings.   
Grant writers---freelance or work on staff for a not for profit organization that needs funding. You write or petition a targeted foundation, company or business for money for a specific project through a “grant proposal.” This type of writing takes the understanding of how a not for profit organization functions, what its needs are, the details and goal of the project for which the organization is seeking funding. Writers take a percentage of the grant money when it is given (and nothing if the NFP does not win the grant money), or gets a straight fee or is part of a full time job with the agency.
 Fiction---children’s books, ‘tweens, and adults, plus many genres like mystery, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, or learning for children among others. This field is wide open and well known. It can lucrative and is always hard work both writing and marketing your work.   
Online---this can be writing a web site for a business, your own blog or writing for an e-zine. Some businesses pay you to write about their horse stables or golf course while with your own blog, you write for something other than money unless companies pay to advertise on your site.
 Sermons---a specialized niche for a specific profession. It takes insight, knowledge of religion, and determining the right angle for his/her congregational demographics.
  Newsletters---this can earn you a profit after a lot of hard work and time building an clientele. Some businesses hire freelancers to writer a monthly newsletter for its clients or staff. If you freelance, you will need to build up a series of clients in order to earn a living at this type of writing.

Then there is travel writing, cartoons, letters, toasts, short stories, long stories...You can write. Sit down, get busy and good luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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