author blogger copywriter travel writer
Print and publishing, marketing and advertising

Career outlook for writer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would write anything from novels, children’s books or poetry to travel guides and instruction manuals.

You could work for yourself writing novels, short stories, plays and poetry. You may wish to specialise in children’s books, travel or technical writing. You could also write for newspapers, magazines, radio, film or television. Publishing your work via social media, websites and blogs is another option.

Depending on your role, you might:

  • Choose your subject based on your own interests or on a commission given by agents or publishers
  • Come up with themes, ideas and plots
  • Research information using the internet, libraries and interviews
  • Submit your draft to publishers and agents
  • Edit your work after getting feedback
  • Chase publishing opportunities

As a successful published author, you might go to book signings, readings and discussions of your work, or run writing workshops. You could also write reviews of food, literature, film or theatre. 

You might like to become a technical writer, writing instruction manuals for a range of products from computers to kitchen appliances. You could also write online guides to IT services and products.

You may be interested in working as a travel writer, creating guide books, features, hotel reviews or travel novels. Writing travel blogs, articles for websites and social media posts could also be part of your job.

Entry into some writing careers can be very competitive, and many writers - especially novelists and poets - also need another job to support themselves. 

Whatever type of writing you do, it could be useful to develop an understanding of copyright law.

Working conditions


You would probably work on a self-employed, freelance basis. You could choose your own working hours, although you may still have to meet publishing deadlines.


You would usually work from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Persevering
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There is no set path into this career; some authors study at college or university in subjects such as English literature, Creative writing or other social science subjects.

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses) 
  • Maths
  • Social studies
  • Administration
  • ICT

Helpful to have

It can be useful to attend evening classes in creative writing. The Arvon Foundation provides residential courses in creative writing. 

If you would like to become a published writer there are things you can do to help promote yourself:

  • joining a writers club to get support and feedback on your work
  • entering competitions can raise your profile as a writer
  • blogging or developing your own website are good ways of getting your writing known by others.

You could try sending editors of journals short stories or articles.

You could also follow other writers and publishers and post comments or ask questions. blogging, facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be a good way of networking and marketing yourself.

For some technical writing roles some publishers may prefer you have a background in the industry e.g. specialist engineering.