Job Description:

A writer is a person who engages in the act of writing. This includes individuals who create content, such as articles, essays, reports, scripts, poetry, or any other form of written communication. Writers can be professional or amateur, and they may or may not have published their work. Writers may write for various purposes, including journalism, marketing, entertainment, education, and more.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • choose a subject based on personal interest, or at the request of an agent or publisher
  • come up with ideas, plots or content headings
  • research information using the internet, libraries, site visits and personal interviews
  • develop your story, article, blog, review or instruction manual
  • submit your draft to a publisher or editor
  • revise your work after getting feedback
  • upload your work to websites or social media, or look for publishing opportunities
  • attend book signings, readings and discussions of your work
  • run writing workshops

The difference between a writer and an author is, in essence, all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors. Being an author usually implies that one has completed a substantial creative work and seen it published. Writers, on the other hand, encompass a broader category of individuals who engage in writing activities for various purposes and may write shorter or less formal content.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent written communication skills
  • persistence, discipline and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an author doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, but there are subjects and skills that can be helpful for developing the writing and creative skills needed for a writing career. Here are some relevant subjects and skills:

  1. English Language: A strong command of the English language is crucial for writing effectively. GCSE English Language or equivalent courses can help you improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills.
  2. English Literature: GCSE English Literature or similar courses can expose you to various literary works and help you analyze and appreciate different writing styles and storytelling techniques.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training or self-teaching


You’ll need a high level of writing skill and talent. To develop these skills, you could get a qualification like a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • creative writing
  • communication and media
  • English language or literature
  • creative and professional writing
  • journalism

You could also do a postgraduate writing course to get into this career.


You can do several things to develop your writing skills and learn more about the world of publishing. These include:

  • joining a local writers’ group
  • entering writing competitions
  • blogging online

Direct Application

You might be able to apply directly for technical writer jobs in industries like engineering or pharmaceuticals, if you’ve got the relevant background and qualifications.

Experience in journalism could also help you to get into travel or broadcast writing.

Other Routes

You could work in TV or radio as a scriptwriter. You may be able to publish and sell your work without formal training or qualifications, if you’re exceptionally talented and have taught yourself. A literary agent may be able to help you with this.

Career tips

You’ll need:

  • creative ideas that will sell
  • good research skills
  • the ability to express ideas in a style suited to your intended audience

You’ll also need to have confidence in your writing, be able to accept criticism and remain positive.

You’ll need a portfolio of your work to show to employers and commissioning editors.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance or be self-employed managing your own hours.

You could work in an office or from home.

Career Path & Progression:

You could self-publish, in traditional print format, online or through e-books.

You might be able to promote your work by entering literary competitions, become a book critic or teach creative writing in colleges.