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Writer

No Formal Qualifications Experience Needed VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 10 Preferred Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

Also known as Author, Novelist and Technical Communicator.

Writers plan and write literary or other written work for publication or performance.

Writers may create original pieces of written work, which can take the form of poetry, novels, short stories, biographies, blogs, plays or film, radio and television scripts.

They may also write for multimedia distribution.

Writers may specialise in fiction writing, general interest non-fiction, journalism, children's books, educational textbooks, historical writing and transferring oral histories into written form, corporate or training videos, technical writing, magazine writing, documentation preparation, freelance editorial services, helping others to prepare manuscripts for publication, scriptwriting, documentary writing, humour, copywriting, editing text into accessible 'plain English' form or writing text for musical works.

Work may be commissioned by a book or magazine publisher, a theatre company, a film or television production company, or a radio or television station.

Alternatively, work may be sold by the writer or a literary agent acting on the writer's behalf.

Writers often work with visual or performance artists.

In the business environment, writers can work as communication specialists.

They may design training seminars or packages, facilitate workplace discussions, identify problems in documentation and conduct communication audits.

TASKS

    Writers may perform the following tasks:

  • choose themes or subjects for written work, conduct research into the subject, assemble background material and obtain other necessary data
  • plan and organise material and write the work
  • revise or edit the work, making sure that the style is consistent; that there is proper development of theme, plot and characterisation; and that referencing is correct
  • set out the original manuscript so that it is clear and legible (typed or word processed, for example) and submit the work to a publisher
  • work with other specialists such as scriptwriters, software developers, graphic designers and illustrators, to create multimedia works

PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • observant and inquisitive approach to people and their environment
  • able to think and write creatively and clearly
  • excellent understanding of English, particularly grammar and spelling
  • concentration, perseverance and dedication

Interest Area

Artistic/Creative Literary Influencing/Personal Contact Clerical/Administrative

SPECIALISATIONS

Technical Writer - researches and writes manuals, textbooks, online user guides and other information-based material. Technical writers need to understand and explain complex technical information. They may specialise in IT, engineering, finance or help documentation.

Ghostwriter - researches and writes books, articles, stories or other texts on behalf of another person. Celebrities and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft autobiographies.

Blogger - researches and writes web content to publish online.

EDUCATION & TRAINING


No Formal Qualifications Experience Needed VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 10 Preferred Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites

You can work as a writer without formal qualifications. Skills are usually developed through practice and experience. However, you will improve your chances of employment by undertaking some associated formal training.

Relevant courses can range from part-time interest courses to university degrees.

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in mass communication, journalism or professional writing and editing. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Alternatively, you can become a writer by studying a degree in a related area at university. A number of universities in Australia offer relevant degrees. Entry to these courses usually requires you to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact Open Universities Australia or the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Writers are usually self-employed or work under contract. Many publications will have a bank of regular freelance contributors they rely on to provide content.

Business writers may be employed by government departments and private businesses. Technical writers are usually employed under contract to publishers.

People interested in writing should consider related occupations until they are able to establish themselves in this occupation. This may be in areas such as journalism, editing, teaching and advertising.

New technologies have increased the expectation that writers have multimedia skills and work on personal computers, submitting their work electronically.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Writer Australian Society of Authors Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Australian Society for Technical Communication Inc.


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