Have a way with words but trying to figure out what genre or field suits your style? Writers come in all different varieties. Not everyone is cut out to write a novel, but then again, you might have a story inside you waiting to get out. You could even use your knack for writing to help launch a lucrative career.
Answer the questions below to see what kind of writer you are — or could be. Along the way, we’ll share links to online courses in case you need a little training to freshen your skills, advice from an expert author or just the motivation and know-how to reach your goals.
1. Do you prefer just the facts or making things up?
Either way, you’ll need to know the basics, like how to use the language properly (yes, your English teacher was right — grammar matters) and how to research to find the information you need. You’ll also need the determination to stick with it. Writing is rewarding, but it takes a lot of work.
If you like to spin a yarn based more on imagination than reality, you’re definitely in the realm of fiction. Skip ahead to Question 7. If not, continue on.
2. Do you like to write for personal reflection?
If you want to write about your own experiences, that’s a worthy cause. You may consider being a memoir writer to aid in reflection or even to help you become a better writer in other avenues. This type of writing can be a great exercise for introspection as well as a wonderful way to leave a legacy for loved ones.
3. How are you with technical details?
Have a knack for weeding through systems and processes and making sense of it all? You could be a technical writer! There’s a huge demand for these writers who can translate complex details into everyday vernacular, and the pay is competitive. For this one, it helps to have experience or a professional certificate you could show a prospective employer. Depending on your needs, you can choose from a six-week class or six-month certificate program.
Technical writers can also specialize in a specific subject area, from finance to IT. One approach is to start with a foundation in the craft of technical writing and then advance to a specialization as you become more experienced.
4. Want to write for business without the tech focus?
Congratulations! You’re a copywriter. Or you can be. Businesses need professionals who can write compelling content about their products and services. You could write for digital or print media or both, and it could be long-form or short-form. The business needs will determine the project specs, but a solid understanding of business writing will help you excel.
5. Would you rather help a nonprofit raise money?
Hello there, grant writer. Similar to technical and business writing, grant writing is an in-demand field that requires gifted writers who can capture the essence of the material in a clear, readable format. Grant writers most commonly work for charities, creating grant proposals to help their organization get the necessary funds to carry out their mission. This is an especially great career choice for those who like to have a greater purpose in their 9-to-5.
- A to Z Grantwriting
- Get Grants
- Grant Proposal Writing Advanced
- Writing Effective Grant Proposals
- The four courses above comprise our online Grant Writing Certificate.
- Becoming a Grant Writing Consultant
6. Do you want to write for the public at large?
You’re a journalist! As a journalist or freelance writer, you can target a range of publications: newspapers, magazines and blogs, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. You may want to consider focusing on a specific subject matter, such as food, travel, politics or another popular topic. From there, continue to hone your writing skills and expand your portfolio.
7. Are you ready to write from your imagination?
If you skipped past all that nonfiction writing above, you already know you’re a fiction writer. You don’t need a degree in creative writing to become an author, but support from other writers and guided workshops can help. Stretch your creativity with challenges like National Novel Writing Month or take a class to refine your art. Just like a technical skill, creativity takes practice.
- Fiction Writing Advanced
- Write Fiction Like a Pro
- Writeriffic – Creativity Training for Writers
- Writeriffic 2 – How to Make Money From Your Writing
- Creative Writing Certificate
- Advanced Creative Writing Certificate
8. Is there a genre of fiction that intrigues you?
You could be a genre writer, but don’t think only about subject matter, like romances and historical fiction. Consider different forms, such as plays, novels and short stories. Think about possible audiences: adults, teens, children. The classes below may help you get started, but spend a while reflecting on what types of fiction writing you most enjoy. And the best advice? Read!
- Introduction to Screenwriting
- Mystery Writing
- Writing Fantasy Novels
- Writing for Children
- Writing Young Adult Fiction
9. Dream of sharing your work with the world?
Some people write for their own sake or a small audience of friends and family, but if you want the world to read your work, become a published author. There are many routes to publication, from literary agents to self-publication. Much of it depends on what type of work you’re creating. These resources will help you get started.
- Beginner’s Guide to Getting Published
- Publish and Sell Your e-Books
- Write and Publish Your Nonfiction Book
Whether you make it famous, land a technical writing gig or finally put those personal memoirs on paper, we hope you’ll drop us a line to let us know how it goes.
Now, get out there and start writing!