So what does a writer do?
Writers produce a variety of types of creative work, including novels, short stories, non-fiction, feature articles for newspapers and magazines, children's books, plays, poetry and material for radio, television and film.
They may choose their subject matter based on personal interest or be given assignments by agents or publishers.
They research, plan, draft and revise their work before submitting it to a publisher, either unsolicited or usually through an agent.
Established writers may also attend book signings, readings and discussions of their work or run workshops for other writers.
What's the working environment like for writers?
Writers generally work on a self employed, freelance basis, generally working alone and from home. Only a small percentage write full-time; many supplement their incomes by working in other professions.
Hours of work vary, with most writers developing their own schedules, although they may be required to adhere to an agreed deadline. They will also attend meetings with agents and publishers.
What does it take to become a writer?
To be a writer you should:
have literary skills
be self disciplined and highly motivated
have perseverance and determination
be happy working alone for long periods
be able to accept criticism objectively
have excellent research skills
be able to meet deadlines
have keyboarding skills
have an interest in marketing and promoting your work.
Tips from a real writer
We spoke to Audrey Niffeneger, author of The Time Traveller's Wife and asked for her top tip:
'When I was in art school we had a visiting artist attend a lesson and I laid out all my prints in front of him. He looked at them and said, ‘Well you can obviously do that, but why don’t you try and do something different?’ I think that’s good advice – if you have a comfort zone, get out of it.'
Watch our video
Jade and Oscar explain what education is needed to become a writer...
If you would like to know anything about becoming a writer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Writers’ Guild of Great Britain
15 Britannia Street
Tel: 020 7833 0777
Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
Tel: 0845 300 6200
Tel: 01932 592 151
Society of Authors
84 Drayton Gardens
Tel: 020 7373 6642
The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street
Tel: 020 7420 9880
45 East Hill
Tel: 020 8516 2977
42a Buckingham Palace Road
National Association of Writers in Education