What does a professional writer do?

Professional writers create prose for the purposes of their specialised function. Writers adhere to the technical and creative requirements inherent within their fields to create prose that can serve many uses, whether entertaining, educational or informative. Writers can perform a number of daily duties like: conducting research for papers, generating narrative content, publishing opinion pieces, editing their own work and the work of others, liaising with specialists in and outside their field and keeping correspondence with publishers.

Tasks:

  • Performing research and fact-checking tasks
  • Editing and revising work
  • Sourcing publishers for written work 
  • Meeting deadlines for print
  • Generating various types of creative content

What skills do I need to be a professional writer?

Professional writers must have a thorough understanding of the specific technical aspects of their chosen form of writing. The tools you need to be a successful screenwriter for film and television will be a world apart from the skill set of a journalist, or the research and formatting skills of a technical writer. It’s important to identify where your strengths lie as a writer; you may have a vivid imagination or an encyclopaedic knowledge of grammar and spelling. Often, writers spend much of their time working independently and generating content from scratch, so self-motivation is important. Meeting deadlines is also an important part of the job, particularly in fields such as journalism where stories must be submitted in a timely fashion.

Skills/attributes
  • Superb grammar and spelling
  • Able to consistently meet deadlines
  • Independently motivated
  • Research and fact-checking skills

Specialisations

As a professional writer, there are a vast amount of opportunities to forge a rewarding career path. Choosing what field you would most like to work in is the first step in identifying your strengths and aptitudes.

Screenwriter

Screenwriters have the ability to generate creative narrative content for film and television. They create content for exhibition and broadcast on the big screen and small screen. Screenwriters have a superb understanding of character writing, narrative arcs, visual writing and formatting.

Blogger

Bloggers target online trends, write for a blogging platform or simply generate personal prose for an online audience. The style, content and tone of writing is dictated by the subject of the work, the website’s style guide or your own personal voice as a writer.

Ghostwriter

Ghostwriters write across a wide range of different topics, usually for autobiographies, memoirs, articles and books. Ghostwriters perform a lucrative service - writing on behalf of, or in collaboration with, someone else. This a particularly common practice in celebrity autobiographies, where the celebrity has little or no experience as a writer.

Study pathways for professional writers

Choosing what form or genre of writing you are most passionate about will help you tailor your study choices. 

Getting Started

Choose a course that will develop your strengths as a writer

Skill Building

Expand your understanding of form, genre and style with targeted study

Professional Development

Learn industry specific skills that will help you achieve your professional writing goals

Industry Recognition

Industry certification is highly dependent on what your chosen specialisation is. Any industry certification is usually also required to accompany a body of work and portfolio of your writing ability.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your media career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

There is moderate growth forecasted for employment opportunities as a professional writer