Creative Writing

The Best Career Paths for Writers and Journalists

The universe of writing is as big as any other. Perhaps even a little bigger – considering that what you’re doing when you put this particular set of skills to task, is learning how to manoeuvre and manipulate, relay and filter everything about every other school of thought.

Because language is what they all use to get their points across. And that’s the ballpark of the wordsmith; the near-absurdly powerful position you’re put in when physics and philosophy, mechanics and medicine, politics and polynomials yield to the authority of reading and writing.

For these and myriad other reasons, the world of creative writing sports a bounty of career options from which to choose, should you choose to make it your habitat. Let’s look at a few:


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One of the most practical applications for a 21st-century creative writing course is to use it as a way into the fast-paced world of journalism. Here, word counts tend to be shorter and writing is all about efficiency and eloquence. So, if you find that you have a knack for carrying your point across quickly and are the kind of writer who enjoys an ever-changing array of stimuli, journalism just may be the way to go.

Average salary: $36,196
Benefits: Option to work freelance or in-house

PR Writer

While often incorrectly grouped in among the journalistic arts, the arena of public relations is quite a bit more than that. As a PR writer, what you’d be doing is something a lot more business-angled, working closely with bodies like advertising agencies, publishing houses, or even businesses like hotel chains, motoring companies and the like. All in the vein of writing pieces which serve as promotional materials – ones which benefit the business interests of your employers. An incredible power position with much upward mobility if you expertly hone your craft.

Average salary: $70,190
Benefits: Option to work freelance or in-house; high-paying


This is the writer’s writer, the mentor and teacher of the professional writing environment. Within this role, your job would be to vet either another writer or group of writer’s works – making sure that it meets the standard of whichever working environment you find yourself in. And that working environment can take on any definition, within journalism, corporate spaces or within the world of fiction. But, whatever the habitat, this is a job that requires a keen eye and a proclivity for attention to detail.

Average salary: $57,132
Benefits: Creative control


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This the writing career we’ve all come to learn is the peak version of the artform. But while it is one of the oldest and most revered, it is but one of the many now relevant. That being said, it’s lauded for a reason – that reason being that it is arguably the delineation most arduous, the one that takes the most skill and dedication to succeed in – especially in today’s fast-paced world.

The role of the novelist is to look at the world at large, informing their work with all aspects of the zeitgeist they wish to unpack, and lever for public discussion, in the hopes of using the thousands of words they bind between two unassuming covers to effect radical change – change which will come to affect posterity in significant ways.

Average earnings: $73,860
Benefits: Creative freedom; potential for international success


Taking up the mantle as the ultra-modern incarnation of the novelist, this is the kind of artist who seeks to do precisely the same thing as a novelist, in a manner much more current and multi-modal.

Screenwriting is the beautiful enmeshing of prosaic, sonic, and visual content in order to create an immersive work of art that helps move the world forward, and toward a brighter future.

Average earnings: $80,000
Benefits: Creative freedom; high-paying; potential for international success


You may be surprised by the breadth this creative role spans. With a knack for grabbing people’s attention, copywriters are responsible for writing compelling marketing and promotional materials for a wide variety of industries and services. From advertisements and blog posts to product descriptions and site copy, the role of a copywriter is as varied as it is creative.

To succeed as a copywriter in today’s competitive industry, you must possess an eye for detail, and be fearless in the face of a semi-colon – spelling and grammar is your bread and butter. Whether you’re creating slogans, newsletters, television adverts, or social media ads, you need to be able to say a lot with just a few words.

Average salary: $61,296
Benefits: Variety; option to work freelance or in-house

Travel Writer

The dream job for hodophiles and wordsmiths alike, a travel writer’s role is to convey through words what it is like to visit and explore a destination that is unknown to prospective readers.

If you dream of travelling the world, and getting paid for it, you must be able to spin your travel experience in a unique and compelling way that transports and informs the reader. This includes writing hotel and restaurant reviews as well as destination guides which may be published in newspapers and magazines or compiled in a travel guide or blog post.

Average earnings: $44,429
Benefits: Option to work freelance; travel expenses paid


Combining two creative industries, if you have poetic flair and a love of music, a career as a lyrics writer could be the path for you.

Average earnings: Varies
Benefits: Creative freedom; potential for international success

So, as I’m sure you can now tell, embarking upon a course in creative writing is but the beginning of your personal journey. It merely opens the door to possibility. But, let it be known and forever touted that writing is the best way, the most astute way of, as the legendary writer Tennessee Williams put it, ‘imposing yourself upon the world.’

*Salary information is based on data from and

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Arlin Bantam

Updated: Sep 15, 2020


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