Literary composition refers to any piece of written material. Classes and programs in the subject are often provided through the humanities departments of colleges and universities, and are designed to prepare students for careers as professional writers. Literary composers and creative writers often write for business, academic and artistic outlets. Read on to see if the skills and training required for this career suit your interests.
Literary composers and creative writers can be knowledgeable in many areas, including sales and marketing techniques, music, dance, drama, the visual arts, communications and media. Other important skills literary composers and creative writers hone include an ability to manage time well, perceive social situations, think creatively, organize ideas and reason cogently. Writers often attempt to master all the facets of their craft, including expression, grammar, style, mood, fluidity, revision, characterization, plot and dialogue.
Literary compositions can be categorized as poems, novels, television shows, songs, theater, librettos, operas, journalism, reviews, diaries, memoirs and biographies. Technical writers often focus more on specific, technology- or science-related materials, such as manuals or textbooks. English literary composers and creative writers must maintain a modicum of integrity, dependability, flexibility and persistence in order to adapt to new projects and succeed in their endeavors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for creative authors and writers was $55,420 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). Authors and writers can expect a job growth rate of 15% across the 2008-2018 decade. The median wage for technical writers was $63,280 in the same year. Technical writers can expect a job growth rate of 18% across the same time frame, a rate the BLS considers to be faster than the average.
To prepare for postsecondary education and an eventual career in this field, you might enroll in English, speech, art, history and computer science courses while still in high school. Depending on whether you want to write fiction or non-fiction, you could enroll in a bachelor's degree program in English, focusing on rhetoric and composition, or in creative writing. You may want to pursue a degree in journalism if you would like to write for a newspaper. Common classes offered at the undergraduate level in each of these programs include major works in the literary arts, literary theory, composition, analysis and electives in overlapping subjects such as film or gender studies and linguistics.
Many prospective literary composers and writers go on to pursue a master's degree in English or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. MFA courses often allow you to focus on your choice of prose or poetry while taking some electives. Other requisites for graduation include student teaching and the development of a thesis. As a creative writer, MFAs offer many opportunities for getting published in a literary journal, which can help your career and may lead to further publications or book deals.
Technical writers may find employment with scientific and professional service firms and data processing services. Other literary composers and creative writers might work for newspapers, advertising services and book publishers. Additionally, many writers do freelance work, meaning they are paid by the assignment.