A writer


A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles, genres, and techniques to communicate ideas, inspire feelings and emotions, or entertain. Writers may develop various forms of writing such as novels, short stories, monographs, travelogues, plays, screenplays, teleplays, and songs. They work professionally or non-professionally, that is, for payment or without payment and may be paid either in advance, or on acceptance, or only after their work is published.

Excludes script writer.

Some of the typical duties of writers are to:

  • Produce written content for diverse purposes, such as articles, blog posts, essays, marketing copy, social media posts, and promotional materials.
  • Conduct thorough research to gather information and insights for accurate and well-informed writing across different topics and industries.
  • Specialize in specific genres, such as fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, or non-fiction categories like journalism, biography, or technical writing.
  • Craft compelling narratives, characters, and dialogue for fiction writing, ensuring engagement and emotional resonance with readers.
  • Review and edit written material for clarity, coherence, grammar, and style, ensuring high-quality and error-free content.
  • Develop news stories, features, and investigative pieces, adhering to journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness, and impartiality.
  • Adapt writing style to suit the requirements of different platforms, audiences, and purposes, such as online content, print publications, or marketing collateral.
  • Write on behalf of clients or public figures, capturing their voice and perspective while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Create pitches and proposals for publishers, clients, or editors to secure writing opportunities or projects.
  • Collaborate with editors, illustrators, designers, and other professionals to bring a cohesive and polished final product to fruition.
  • Write and publish books, novels, or e-books, either independently or through traditional publishing channels.
  • Understand and connect with target audiences, tailoring content to meet their interests, needs, and expectations.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to writer:

noir writer
technical writer
science-fiction writer
creative writer
travel guide writer
medical writer
investigative writer
textbook writer
fictional writer
essay writer
thriller writer

Working conditions

Writers can work in various settings, including traditional publishing houses, media organizations, marketing agencies, or as freelancers. The work may involve a combination of independent writing, collaboration with editors or clients, and adherence to deadlines.

Minimum qualifications

While there is no strict educational path for becoming a writer, many successful writers have a degree in English, creative writing, journalism, or a related field. Practical experience gained through internships, writing workshops, or entry-level positions contributes to the development of writers. Continuous writing practice, feedback from peers or mentors, and engagement with the writing community enhance skills and creativity. Strong communication skills, creativity, adaptability, and a passion for storytelling are crucial for success in this role.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Writer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Writer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to writer.

script writer
literary scholar
copy editor
book editor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of writer.

  • Literature: The body of artistic writing characterized by beauty of expression, form, and universality of intellectual and emotional appeal.
  • Publishing industry: Key stakeholders in the publishing industry. Acquisition, marketing and distribution of newspapers, books, magazines and other informative works, including electronic media.
  • Types of literature genres: The different literary genres in the history of literature, their technique, tone, content and length.
  • Writing techniques: The different techniques to write a story such as the descriptive, persuasive, first person and other techniques.
  • Spelling: The rules concerning the way words are spelled.
  • Grammar: The set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.
  • Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.
  • Publishing market: The trends in the publishing market and the type of books that are are appealing to a certain audience.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of writer.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of writer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Linguistics: The scientific study of language and its three aspects, language form, language meaning, and language in context.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of writer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Respect publication formats: Submit text material for printing purposes. Always respect the required and expected publication formats.
  • Teach writing: Teach basic or advanced writing principles to varying age groups in a fixed education organisation setting or by running private writing workshops.
  • Negotiate artistic productions: Negotiate the terms for artistic productions with the selected companies, keeping within the budgetary limits prepared by the business leadership.
  • Liaise with book publishers: Establish working relationships with publishing companies and their sales representatives.
  • Attend book fairs: Attend fairs and events to get familiar with new book trends and to meet with authors, publishers, and others in the publishing sector.
  • Evaluate writings in response to feedback: Edit and adapt work in response to comments from peers and publishers.
  • Proofread text: Read a text thoroughly, search for, review and correct errors to ensure content is valid for publishing.
  • Negotiate publishing rights: Negotiate the sale of the publishing rights of books to translate them and adapt them into movies or other genres.
  • Manage writing administration: Manage the financial and administrative side of writing including making up budgets, maintaining financial records, checking contracts, etc.
  • Promote your writings: Talk about your work at events and conduct readings, speeches and book signings; establish a network among fellow writers.
  • Consult with editor: Consult with the editor of a book, magazine, journal or other publications about expectations, requirements, and progress.
  • Critique other writers: Criticise the output of other writers, including sometimes providing coaching and mentoring services.
  • Write to a deadline: Schedule and respect tight deadlines, especially for theatre, screen and radio projects.

ISCO group and title

2641 – Authors and related writers

  1. Writer – ESCO
  2. Writer | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Featured image: Photo by Windows on Unsplash
Last updated on January 30, 2024