I'm looking for a job that involves writing and pays well. What should I look for?

  • Lawyer, historians, reporters, English teachers, editor, psychiatrist, biochemist, sociologists, chief executive – Aspen the Artist and Author Dec 6 '17 at 21:35

There are no jobs that pay well for which the only requirement is writing. This is a simple matter of supply and demand. There are lots of people who can write well enough for commercial purpose. The price for that skill alone is rock bottom.

And indeed, the ability to write is not of much use by itself. Useful writing is writing about something. To be useful, you not only need to be able to write, you need to know something to write about.

Every writing job that pays anything, therefore, requires both writing ability and something else. It is the something else, the X factor, which determines how well the job pays.

You may say, "but I can research any subject". But that does not cut it in the job market. Generic research skills (I can Google stuff) are even more common than writing skills. Researching complex subjects from scratch takes time, which runs up the costs and, more importantly, delays the writing project. For some subjects, gaining enough knowledge to intelligently research and write about a new topic in a timely manner can take years.

The X factor is what you know about the subject area you are going to write about, and, of course, how many other people there are with similar levels of knowledge who can also write. Thus technical, medical, and scientific writing can pay very well because the X factor is huge for them. (Though tech writing pays a lot less than it used to these days are more people have those technical skills now.)


There are few jobs that require only writing skills. Most jobs will want effective writing for some specific purpose, which requires specialization.

  • Journalism
  • Technical writing.
  • Translation. (Including academic, technical, or medical translation.)
  • Copywriting.
  • Publishing and publishing services.

Within each of these fields, there will be different approaches and frameworks; you might be able to freelance or seek a permanent position; you'll find particular areas of expertise and specialization; different positions will carry different nuances and different responsibilities.

Once you've got some training and/or experience in your particular field, you'll get a much better sense of what your options are. Even simply choosing your focus will help you figure out what to ask, and find the most relevant people to speak to.

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