Career Profile: Writers and Authors...

Career Profile: Writers and Authors (French version available)

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Reading is a normal part of everyday life for many people, but they might not always think about the people who wrote what they are reading. Writers and authors compose stories, write books or articles, plays, or essays, and complete many other documents.

If you enjoy working with words, becoming an author or writer might be right for you.

With a novel or book of short stories, you can normally find the author’s name printed on the front cover. These authors have created a story and written it down for others to enjoy. The same is usually true with nonfiction books about animals or subjects like geography or history. That way, readers can find other books by the same author if they like what they have read. Magazine articles or online posts about various subjects often also feature the writer’s name at the top.

Writing a book is a huge job, involving many hours of planning, writing, editing, and rewriting. Novelists can spend weeks, months, or even years on a single book, making sure that the plot works and that the characters are believable. Writing a nonfiction book can take even longer, since the process normally involves researching the subject thoroughly to make sure that the information is correct. Articles can sometimes be very quick to write, but they can also involve hours of research.

Writing can include much more than books and articles. Some people work as technical writers for companies, composing user manuals or reports on aspects of the company. Writers can work for community centres, grocery stores, car dealerships, governments, consulting firms, or corporations. Some writers work for advertising agencies, where they might compose short poems or jingles for radio or television. Others write plays, manuals, or other documents.

Working as a writer or author can be a somewhat uncertain career. For book authors, a lot depends on whether a publisher will decide that the book is worth the time, money, and effort of publishing. For other writers, career prospects are generally fair to good in much of Canada.

Salaries for writers and authors vary widely. For writers working at a business or university, salaries generally start at close to $19 per hour and can rise to about $40 per hour. However, full time writing jobs are hard to find and can be quite technical. Many writers have other jobs and do their writing on the side. Even many famous authors of popular books often have another job such as teaching to help pay for daily expenses. Working as a freelance writer is quite common.

Working conditions for writers and authors can also vary. Some people, especially in areas like technical writing or advertising, might work regular hours in an office where they can consult other people if they need information. For many people in this career, however, writing is a solitary job that they do in the evenings or on weekends when they have spare time.

Qualifications for writers and authors depend on the job and the circumstances of the work. Technical writers generally need at least a few courses or a certificate in their field, and other writers might need a bachelor’s degree in English. Generally, however, writers and authors need good language skills and the ability to think clearly and logically. Being able to work alone is also important, although writers and authors should also be able to understand and work with other people. Curiosity is a good characteristic for writers and authors.

The job of writer or author can include many different activities, but an interest in words is essential for everyone in this field. If you enjoy language and sharing your ideas with others, you should consider becoming a writer or author.



Glassdoor.ca. “Career: Writer.” https://www.glassdoor.ca/Career/writer-career_KO0,6.htm.

Job Bank. “Writer in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/20925/ca.

Payscale.com. “Average Writer/Author Salary in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Writer_%2F_Author/Salary.

Work BC. “Authors and Writers.” https://www.workbc.ca/careers/5121.

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