The Writing Industry, Is it Worth the Effort?

The Writing Industry, Is it Worth the Effort?
library2The writing industry is an interesting mélange of individuals spread among a variety of industries requiring writers special gifts and talents. Writing is a popular job. There are technically about 150,000 writers in the United States and there is a difference between “authors” and “writers”. While both career types write, authors are published and writers are often anonymous employees for employers such as: product producers (i.e.: fashion magazines, sport magazines, etc.), television, radio and printed media. Writers generally have at least a Bachelor degree, although many have higher degrees.

On average, writers earn 20-$25 per hour or approximately 55,000 per annum in the United States. There are many writers who had no particular training prior to organizational writing; many prove themselves by developing a writing portfolio. Before long, the average corporate writer may have hundreds of articles under their belt. These individuals rise in performance and outcomes developing greater and greater revenue, which evolves into a good income. Classically, technical communications (i.e.: technical writers, proposal writers, etc.) involves writers who earn far more than 25.00 per hour; these positions can exceed $100.00 per hour if they are good at what they do.

Employment Composition
The writing industry itself is composed of employed and freelance writers. Employed writers often are employed by publishing companies, television, song-writing companies, the web, magazines and movie producers. These people have a full-time job and get paid a regular salary to perform their writing. Conversely, freelance writers work for themselves and bid on jobs through magazines, the web, and other resources. Their fees are variable and they don’t have a steady income. This can be problematic where a steady income is required. A good freelance writer, however, can get enough steady work to have a relatively even income or the learn to budget their high season to afford their low season. Proposal writers, for instance, feature prolific bouts of requirement between March and September every year but October through February can be extremely lean. While Proposal Writers’ earnings may be $125.00 per hour per project in the high season, the low season may feature zero net income. With an average 80 hour project a $10K return on investment results for the Proposal Writer and two of those per month from March through September does present enough income to carry the winter “off” season. It is up to the freelance writer to budget their earnings.

The Writers’ Setting
Writers write in a variety of settings. There are those who have their own office and those that work in corporate offices. Many work in the comfort of their own homes. With the advent of FAX machines, scanner/printers and the internet, it is easy to get finished work from the writer to the employer.

A recent trend in the writing industry is the addition of online writing sites. Employers list jobs on the site and employees bid on the jobs. People get the job based on their bid and on their skills set. More skilled employees have an advantage over less skilled employees. Thousands of employees and employers find a match and their jobs are completed in this environment of anonymity.

The job outlook for writers is projected to be only 6 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is less than most occupations. Even so, the competition is fierce, with a smaller body of writers looking to get successful job. The greatest competition is for salaried jobs, which are considered better jobs when compared to freelance writing jobs.

Freelance Resources for Writers
There is a wide variety of online sources for freelancers to sign onto, including; Elance; Freelance Writers Den;; Mturk, an Amazon-based service; Scripted; Textbroker; and WriterAccess. among others (listed below). A freelancer can sign up to many different sites, for the best chance of getting a writing job. Eventually, a freelance writer develops a solid client base who typically engages them as repeat customers. As their experience grows, so is their likelihood of getting even more jobs.


There are many other resources to find freelance writing work – conduct an Internet search and find your favored resource to call home.

Ms. Donna L. Quesinberry has been the syndicated National Writing Examiner columnist for nearly ten years before the Examiner was purchased by AXS Entertainment. Donna, affectionately called “Q,” continues her column here and she welcomes questions, ideas and interviews or event announcements by email. This was a contributory story that was previously published on the

Quote: I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. ~Georgia O’Keeffe


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