You’ve heard of the typical creative writing jobs: novelist, feature writer or copywriter, for example. But professionals in these roles account for only a small percentage of the population that makes a living writing. So what other jobs are there for creative writers?
Here, we’ll share 8 creative writing jobs you may never have heard of and show you examples of writers who have made a profession out of each one.
Nearly any type of media produced in the world today relies on a script, from television shows to radio advertisements to instructional videos and more. Someone has to write that script.
A scriptwriter must be able to write in a conversational tone, producing material that sounds natural when spoken out loud. A good scriptwriter will also have a knack for taking an idea, be it a sales pitch or a plotline, and distilling it into an easy-to-understand piece of dialogue.
Scriptwriter Example: C.M. Bratton
Scriptwriter C.M. Bratton has made a living writing and selling sci-fi and fantasy scripts. Her portfolio includes work on television pilots, web series and short films. Scriptwriters generally get paid in one of two ways: either by being commissioned to write the script for a specific project or by writing a script on spec and attempting to sell it to the parties who will produce it.
Notice how Bratton’s sample summaries read like movie taglines: “Troubled by the loss of his love, an ever-skeptical quantum optics physicist must regain control of his mind or become lost in his dreams.” Now that’s a flick we’d go see!
Not all creative writing revolves around storytelling. The job of a communications director is to clearly and accurately convey fact-based information about an organization, either to internal parties or to outside groups like shareholders or the general public.
In addition to strong writing skills, a communications director must be organized and detail-oriented, staying on top of shifting deadlines while keeping all of the facts straight.
Communications Director Example: Loretta Waldman
Loretta Waldman has a strong resume of corporate communications management in the healthcare field. Her work involves drafting employee newsletters, crafting welcome materials for new hires, and writing summary reports on key organization events.
Her writing is conversational yet informative, setting the tone for how the organization is perceived among the audience who reads Waldman’s work.
The travel world has shifted dramatically with the rise of the internet and social media. Audiences are no longer satisfied with simply reading about far-off places in magazines; they want to be taken there. A successful travel writer is a true creative, bringing something more than just exposition to their pieces.
If you have a knack for not only finding interesting places but sniffing out the people and stories that set those places apart, you may excel as a travel writer.
Travel Writer Example: Amy McPherson
The travel writing world is largely freelance, as demonstrated by the diverse examples in Amy McPherson’s profile. McPherson contributes to a range of publications, from magazines to BBC. As a travel writer, much of your success will depend on how well you’re able to network and make inroads at publications that will pay for your work.
Similar to a communications director, a publicist’s job is to write and communicate fact-based information. But while a communications director typically works in-house at the organization they represent, a publicist is usually a third-party entity that contracts with a company, brand or individual.
When you think about publicists, you probably associate them with celebrities fielding questions from the media. True, this is something publicists do. But not all publicists represent Hollywood actors. High-profile business executives, authors, and politicians all work with publicists, as well.
Publicist Example: Will Ayers
For an idea of what a publicist’s work looks like, check out the portfolio of Will Ayers. As we mentioned, publicists work not only for individuals but for brands as well. Ayers is the perfect example, showcasing his work landing press coverage for well-known companies like Red Bull and Toyota.
Get paid to eat food and write about it? Yes, please! If you have culinary knowledge and writing chops, food writing may be right up your alley.
The fact is, the majority of prominent food critics (Pete Wells of the New York Times, John Walsh of The Independent, and many more) worked as journalists long before they landed their coveted positions writing regular columns about their dining exploits. If you’re looking to join their ranks, your best bet is to hone your journalism skills while nurturing your food writing on the side, like in a personal food blog.
Food Critic Example: Per Meurling
Per Meurling is the personification of the dual journalist/food critic role. On his profile, you’ll see a mix of samples from widely read outlets like Vice and Eater alongside clips from his personal blog, Berlin Food Stories.
In his bio, Meurling credits his blog with helping position him as one of the foremost experts on the Berlin food scene, which goes to show how far following your passion for writing about food can take you.
If you’re well-versed in a subject area outside of writing, you may be able to leverage your expertise into a position as a columnist or editorial writer. Unlike journalists, who are tasked with remaining objective and covering issues from both sides, columnists take a position and make an argument for one side or the other.
Most columnists focus on a specific topic, be it politics, sports, gardening or pretty much anything else under the sun.
Columnist Example: Michelle Bernard
Political columnist Michelle Bernard began her career as a lawyer and lobbyist and now contributes opinion pieces to outlets like The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. As you can see from Bernard’s lengthy resume in her bio, she’s truly an expert in her field. This–in addition to being a strong writer, of course–is key to landing work as a columnist.
According to MusicOomph, there are 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes. Though not all of those podcasts rely on a written script for recording, there’s still a ton of writing that goes into producing an episode.
Things like show notes, promotional materials and website copy must all be written to accompany each and every episode. Podcast reviews are another avenue to consider. If you’re a writer with a knack for production, podcast writing may be a great fit for you.
Podcast Writer Example: Rose Wintergreen
Passionate about music and writing, Rose Wintergreen has combined her interests to make a living working on and writing for podcasts. Her portfolio showcases a diverse set of work from production to show notes to blog posts.
As long as there’s music, there will be reviews of music. Writers who know their stuff in the music world can make a solid living as a music critic, blogger or commentator.
While many music writers zero in on one genre of music in their writing, you’ll typically find that most are well educated in music of all styles and across many decades (and if you’re looking for music to write to, check out our roundup of Spotify picks here).
Music Writer Example: Lyndon Bolton
Lyndon Bolton is a writer who concentrates on Americana, blues and folk music. His portfolio includes not only reviews but album previews, show recaps, and interviews with artists. As with travel writing, music writing relies heavily on your ability to find interesting story angles and successfully pitch them to editors who will pay for them.
Want more ideas for creative writing jobs? Browse our full directory of writers and check out their portfolios in the Journalist Directory on Clippings.Me.
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