Journalism and Professional Writing

By Taylor Hanson

“I am finally out of college, ready to build a career as a writer, and start a new chapter in my life.” This is what many aspiring professional writers say as they take their first steps towards building their career. But what does a career for a journalist and aspiring writer look like?

Before taking these initial steps, it is important to know how to obtain a career and what requirements there are, as well as duties you will perform. This is why I decided to research what kind of jobs are available for journalism and creative writing, as well as the requirements they prefer.

I also found that being familiar with other writers and their work improves your own. Performing marketing and editing tasks to get a book published, as well as work with co-writers and editors is important for development. This aids creative writers but also others whose work involves writing.

Life as a writer

Becca Hanson

I conducted an interview with a relative, Becca, who has two books published and a lot of experience in performing duties as a writer. Her occupation is a sociologist who conducts qualitative research. In this career, one must perform a lot of data analysis and writing based on the data collected while conducting research.

I asked her what education she has for her career, “I received training in my master’s program in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and my PhD program in Sociology at University of Georgia.” These were the first steps in her career in research and data analysis, and how to publish about her research.

According to Becca, she did not receive much training on how to write books in these programs. Instead, she learned how to write by, “looking at other authors I admired, reading their books not only with an eye towards substance but structure and style.” She also mentioned that co-authoring has been extremely helpful to her as it has allowed her to work with others in her field with more experience and learn how they write.

“At the end of the day, writing is about producing a lot of material you will never use, editing, writing, and rewriting. It is having the patience and commitment to return to the same chapters over and over again to improve phrasing, organization, and flow. Those are probably the most useful skills I have ever learned while writing these three books.”

Becca informed me that academic publishing is different from fiction or non-academic publishing. For her publishing process, Becca prepares a book prospectus consisting of 5-10 pages, which provides a summary of the book’s arguments, a breakdown of its chapters, presentation of the book’s contributions relating to other scholars, and finally, a biographical sketch that positions her as an expert in her field.

During the interview I learned that having connections with editors helps the publishing process. Becca met two editors she has worked with at academic conferences, and she has cultivated a relationship with another editor for years. In her explanation of getting books published, Becca informed me, “Once you have a contract with a book publisher, it is completely up to you to produce a manuscript that can be sent out for review. So, it is important to be well-organized and plan ahead so you can complete the project on time.” Her advice for future job seekers? “Get involved in groups and events that are organized around your profession of interest as soon as you can.”

Job Searching

I wanted to see what kinds of jobs might be available to aspiring writers, so I researched job advertisements on, and , which are highly recommended sites for job-searching. General Assignment Reporter for 1819 News, one of the jobs on their site, requires 3-5 years of experience covering news for online publication, a bachelor’s degree in journalism (preferred but not required), and experience in journalism (three years is preferred). Tasks include writing stories to attract readers to expand 1819 News, collaborating with editors, and producing different news features as well as analysis of complex issues.

Digital Copywriter with Strong Automotive Merchandising, the second job advertisement I found, requires a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism or writing. The employers prefer their applicants to have at least one year of experience in copywriting. Employees will perform responsibilities such as creating blog posts, working closely with Content Marketing Coordinators, proofreading, and editing content, and digital reporting.

The last job I found was a novel writing job for eGlobal Creative Publishing, requiring no prior experience except writing. Tasks include writing about fantasy, fiction, romance, video games, LGBTQ+ issues, and many more topics. This would be. I found many jobs that piqued my interest, which provided comfort that there are opportunities for those of us pursuing a writing career. I recommend these sites for anyone in search of a job if you aren’t sure where to start.

Learning how to find the information needed to pursue a career is essential for me as a creative writing major and aspiring journalist, but also for other careers. Pursuing a career requires this kind of research early in life to make sure you are taking the steps that will help to build your specific career. It is helpful to know what kind of jobs are available, what is required to obtain them, and what tasks you will perform to make sure the job fits your interest.

While performing my job search analysis, I had difficulty finding the exact jobs that fit a creative writing concentration. There are a lot of jobs available for diverse writers in many concentrations, such as proposal writers, proofreaders, and news reporters. I learned not only that there are many different careers for writing, but many that require different expertise.

Using What You Know

After my research, I now know what a creative writer and journalist needs to focus their degree on, what duties will be performed as a professional writer, and what jobs are available. I also learned how to gain connections and build my way in the writing industry successfully. In all, I believe this process provides clarity, understanding, and self-discovery. I was able to discover what kind of future I can have, as well as how to pursue it correctly.

Before conducting research for this article, I was unsure of what it meant to be a journalist, and even less sure of what kind of journalist I wanted to be. Following Becca’s advice, making connections, staying consistent and dedicated, and preparing to create a lot of content to continuously recreate will help me and anyone in this occupation become successful as a writer.

I hope this helps anyone wanting to pursue a professional writing career. These steps I took to gain a better understanding of what a writing career looks like and how to obtain it are helpful steps for anyone searching for a career. Job sites such as and are helpful sites to find job advertisements, but there are many other sites available if those do not meet your expectations.

Gain connections and talk to your teachers for advice on achieving a successful writing career. There are never-ending sources, and no one can stop you from becoming who you want to be. “Talking with people working towards the same goals, or people who are already working in the profession, helps you prepare but also develop networks and a base of support.” (Becca Hanson).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *