Should I Become a Writer or Editor?

If you're creative and can imagine 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. For more information about the job duties of writers and editors to see which one is for you, read on. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Becoming a Writer of Editor

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 to determine which of these skills are stronger for you and which tasks you enjoy the most.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Writer Editor
Median Salary (2014) $58,850 (for writers and authors) $54,890
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 3% (for writers and authors) -2%
Work Environment Work remotely; deadlines, freelance, contracts Work from an office; deadlines, long hours until a piece is finished
Similar Occupations Announcers, public relations and fundraising managers, reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts Technical writers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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 the 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.


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. 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.

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.

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:

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