Being a writer comes with perks, like working independently, endless potential for income, and the fulfillment of producing something creative and unique. Writers work in various roles and industries, from print publishing to medical and technical manual writing. While the various roles are different, the work is mentally laborious rather than physically exerting,
Novelists and Creative Writers
Novelists pen fictional stories for a living, either self-publishing their work or maintaining contracts with publishers. A novelist can make anywhere from nothing per year to a seven figure income, depending on her audience and her rate of publishing. Novels earn royalties each time they sell online or in print. Also, companies often buy film rights and foreign rights to creative work, from short stories to full length novels. Better yet, e-book publishing has allowed independent authors to earn more royalties from their books without giving large cuts to agents, editors, and publishers. For example, self-published science fiction author Hugh Howey reported to CNN.com that because of his bestselling e-books, he makes six figures most months from online royalties. As a novelist, you'll make your own hours and work around deadlines. You also have the privilege of a great sense of control over your work. You create the characters, the plot, and the story line. While editors and publishing professionals may guide you and make editorial suggestions, you get to write what interests you and manipulate the story to your liking.
Magazine writers research and write everything from columns to feature stories, quizzes, and informative pieces. While some in-house writers work for a full-time salary at a publication, most write on a freelance basis, pitching a story idea and writing for a payment based on word count rather than hourly rate. Larger magazines pay a higher rate per word, while smaller publications may offer a nominal payment or perhaps just a byline to the writer trying to build her portfolio and fan base. Web writers function similarly, except they are often responsible for uploading their content to a web-based system and supplying graphics, interactive links, and monitoring comments and questions posted to websites.
Work from Home
A major advantage of being a writer is the ability to start working in your pajamas each morning. As long as you have Internet access for research and a computer at your home, you can make coffee and start penning your work before you've even showered. This makes your day flexible. You can take a break for a workout, eat lunch at home, and save money on gas and dry cleaning, expenses that add up for workers expected to arrive at an office Monday through Friday. While some writers do complain that working from home is difficult because of distractions, there are ways to mitigate these problems. For example, Freelanceswitch.com suggests turning off the Internet for periods of time, listening to music, and clearing away work space clutter to alleviate distractions while working. If you know you're likely to stop writing to tackle dirty laundry or dishes in the sink, make sure those tasks are finished at night so they don't distract you during work hours the next day.
Writing is a practice you can continue for the duration of your life, unlike other jobs that require more dexterity, physical stamina, and social interaction. In fact, Thefiscaltimes.com points out that freelancing and researching for universities and companies are top jobs for retirees, because they can be done from anywhere and requires very little physical energy. If you hone your writing skills, you can always find work, especially with the vast array of opportunities available to freelancers online. If you set up a website and update it with links to your web copy, e-books, articles, and blogs, you can create a living resume that attracts clients in need of website copy, blog posts, and research.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.