Writers and editors produce many types of written materials in many ways. They use a variety of publishing software to create articles, books, magazines, Web content, newsletters and marketing materials such as flyers and advertisements. They create everything you read and see in print or online. They are an integral part of most industries, since almost all companies have written materials that must be edited and updated.
Most writing and editing positions require or strongly prefer candidates with a degree in writing or a related field. Jump start your career by requesting free information today from the schools below:
There is a lot of competition in the writing and editing fields, since many people are attracted to it. Because of this, and advances in technology, many companies are looking for candidates with Web writing and publishing experience and advanced education, such as a master’s degree.
Writing and Editing Job Responsibilities
Writers must conduct research on their topics before writing. This research can include the Internet, the library and personal interviews. Writers then gather their material, select the material they want to use, organize it, and use words to express story lines and ideas, or to convey information. With help from editors, they may reorganize sections and reword sentences for clarity and organization.
Editors review the work of writers, checking for grammatical errors, misspellings, incorrect word choices or sentences in need of restructuring. Responsibilities of an editor vary depending on employer and type of position. Many perform fact-checking and title creation. Some also perform graphic design and page layout activities to prepare the materials or publication. Others may have to double-check the writer’s work and perform research and analysis to make sure the information is correct and accurate.
Newspapers and publishers may have several types of editors. Editorial assistants often do research and fact-checking. Copy editors focus on the copy and make sure it contains no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. They also ensure correct styles and fonts are used. Manging editors often hire and oversee the staff.
Although many writers and editors still work at companies on-site, more and more are able to enjoy the flexibility of working from home. Many companies are looking for writers and editors to perform duties on a short-term, contract basis and allow telecommuting to attract more experienced and qualified applicants nationwide that would not be able to apply for the job otherwise due to the company’s location. Many companies only require employees to have access to e-mail, Internet and word processing software (such as Microsoft Word).
Writing and Editing Training and Education Requirements
Most companies require a writer or editor to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Companies are looking for candidates with excellent writing skills and therefore prefer to hire those with degrees in journalism, communications or English. There are many topics and industries that employ writers, so employers often prefer that a candidate have experience or education writing for specific topics, such as travel or medicine.
High school and college newspapers are great ways for writers and editors to gain experience in this field. Inetrnships, though often unpaid, can be great experiences as well and allow people to learn about publishing. Many magazines, newspapers and television and radio stations offer internships for college students for school credit. Interns will work with others at the company and may write stories, conduct interviews, proofread or perform fact-checking.
Besides college education, writers and editors must also have specific personality traits in order to succeed in the business. Most importnatly, they should enjoy writing. Other traits include curiosity, creativity, motivation and perseverance. Writers and editors should have knowledge about a variety of topics and always be willing to learn. Other important traits in this field are ethics and good judgment; a lack thereof can result in lawsuits from publishing unethcial material. Those in the writing and editing field often face constant deadlines and pressure, so it’s important to be able to concentrate and focus to meet deadlines. A background or strong interest in Web design, multimedia and graphic design is strongly encouraged.
Writing and Editing Salary and Wages
Salary and wages for writing and editing positions vary depending on experience, education, employer and location. Those who work in large companies and have at least a bachelor’s degree tend to earn more. The average hourly wage is $24.42, or about $50,800 per year. The highest wages are in the business and professional industries, in which the average salary is $61,220.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Writing and Editing Certifications
There are certifications available in the writing and editing fields. Many colleges offer certification in copy editing, technical writing or creative writing. These certifications are usually not needed if one already has a bachelor’s degree, since most companies don’t require them. However, obtaining a certification may be helpful for someone with no college education who wants to get their foot into the door of a publishing company.
Writing and Editing Professional Associations
There are many professional associations for those in the writing and editing field. A popular association for copy editors is the American Copy Editors Society (ACES), which focuses on the advancement of copy editors in all journalistic outlets. There is also the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE), which is specifically for freelancers. The association aims to help freelancers advance their careers so they can achieve the kind of freelance life they wish to live. There are many other associations, some which are specifically for writers and editors of certain industries, such as books, medicine or science.