Should I Become a Writer or Editor?
Do you love to tell stories - or read them? Do you find yourself picking out grammatical and typographical errors from a book - or do you find yourself imagining a better story line? If you're creative and can realize an entire piece from an idea, writing may be for you. However, if you prefer offering help to others on their work, consider becoming an editor. Schools offering Communication & Emerging Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Writers and editors employ many of the same types of skills in their jobs, but some abilities take precedence over others for each position. Both require developing ideas, formulating a written narrative, applying proper English skills and proofreading. You're the best judge of which of these aspects you're best at and enjoy the most.
As a writer, you might create a piece of work, either artistic or factual, out of an idea and submit it for publication. You might write articles, promotional materials, speeches or screenplays. You could also create content for Internet use or write copy for television broadcasts.
You might work for yourself as a freelancer or find steady work for various media outlets that require you to work under a deadline. You could also become an author, producing novels of fiction or creative nonfiction. Regardless of the type of writer you are, you'll typically perform research, compile information and revise drafts of your work.
If you become an editor, instead of creating a piece from scratch, you'd suggest ideas and review writers' works to ensure that they meet standards of publication and house style. You might work as a copy editor, checking grammar and spelling, reviewing facts and assessing the readability and style of a piece. With sufficient experience, you could advance to an executive, managing or assistant editor position and assign pieces to writers and editors, handle business-related tasks and approve copy. As an editor of any type, you'll generally be expected to work under a deadline, have a keen eye for detail, be tactful and offer criticism in a helpful manner.
Choosing a Career
You could start out writing and become an editor later in your career. With strong writing and grammar skills, you could do either job or both simultaneously, but the work environment and interpersonal skills are often different for each. Ultimately, you might ask yourself if you'd prefer to work alone creating written pieces or if you'd rather work with others and handle managerial, proofreading and rewriting tasks.
As a writer, you can work wherever you want - from home, the neighborhood coffee shop or out in nature. If you work as an editor, you could work out of an office in order to handle the managerial duties you'd need to perform, such as deciding which pieces promote, negotiating contracts and handling budgets. However, one of your primary duties as an editor is making sure you're available to your writers. Both writers and editors could work long hours, weekends and holidays to get a piece completed and published by a deadline.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that in order to find a job as a writer or editor, it's helpful to earn a bachelor's degree in a field that emphasizes the craft of writing, such as English, journalism or communications (www.bls.gov). You can also major in professional writing through some schools. Courses in these majors might include topics in media and rhetorical studies, fiction or nonfiction writing, grammatical rules, proofreading and revision. In addition to formal education, many employers look for experience in the field, which you can gain through internships, jobs at school publications or even through online outlets, such as blogs.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: