Job Description: Creative Writer

A creative writer who approaches writing as a job, that is, a fulltime permanent vocation, needs a job description to help explain what he or she does.  Consider the following:


Purpose: To create and tell stories in writing, fulltime or part-time, for publication as novels, short stories, novellas and/or screenplays, and/or creative nonfiction.  (Can also include poetry.)


Facing the blank page

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work with the imagination to acquire ideas
  • Develop ideas into stories and determine whether they are novels, short stories, novellas, screenplays or creative nonfiction
  • Research to authenticate characters, setting, time period and any other elements
  • Write the stories, including the first draft and all revisions
  • Work with an editor to polish the stories (product) for publication
  • Research literary agents and/or publishers
  • Develop list of appropriate literary agents and/or publishers
  • Develop and write queries (sales pitches) about stories for literary agents and/or publishers
  • Send out queries, track responses in database, follow up on responses
  • Set up website and/or blog about product to generate interest
  • Read other writers’ blogs and leave comments to generate interest and network
  • Network with other writers, literary agents or editors online through Publishers Marketplace and other social networking or professional websites
  • Read novels, short stories, novellas, screenplays and nonfiction, widely, voraciously, from all centuries, in all genres
  • Read publishing trade publications and writing publications such as Publishers Weekly, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, the online newsletters from Publishers Marketplace
  • Work with publisher to prepare stories for publication whether a book publisher, magazine publisher or literary journal
  • Promote the published stories through online resources, bookstores, media, word-of-mouth.  Be available to read publicly, sign copies of book, tour or be interviewed

Additional Duties and Responsibilities:

Planning — develop annual strategic plan and goals for writing, marketing and publication.
Marketing — develop marketing plans for each project, listing markets, strategy, target audience

Budget — develop annual budget if working fulltime, track business income and expenditures, keep excellent financial records for tax purposes.

Maintain a work calendar

Maintain office equipment — buy office supplies and equipment

Manage daily mail and e-mail

Manage incoming phone calls

Work with outside vendors including the US Post Office, UPS, and FedEx Office

Maintain professional associations and memberships

Attend professional workshops, seminars, conferences

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Knowledge and mastery of craft of writing, including character development, narrative structure, plotting, English usage, grammar and spelling
  • Ability to use computer hardware and software: proficient in MS Word, internet applications, database and spreadsheet software plus e-mail
  • Typing 40 wpm or more with few errors
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred; Masters degree not necessary but helpful with marketing to literary agents and publishers (general public doesn’t care as long as the story and writing are good)
  • Highly skilled in communication, written and verbal, interpersonal and business
  • Highly organized with the ability to multi-task effectively, prioritize and manage resources
  • Critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving
  • Research skills including face-to-face interviewing, phone interviewing, library work and internet research
  • Expert at time management: identifying deadlines, next steps, meeting deadlines, multi-tasking, prioritizing.  Must be able to meet deadlines.
  • Proficient in project management: planning, identifying goals, set and manage schedule, anticipate and identify issues, remove obstacles, track task completion
  • Must be self-directed, self-motivated and disciplined
  • Must be able to work well alone
  • Must be creative
  • Must be able to handle rejection effectively
  • Must be able to work well with readers, agents, editors, publishers, i.e. accept and utilize feedback on projects

Salary Expectations:

  • $0 annually or sample copies until major publication
  • $0 to $20,000 annually after major publication
  • Do not expect bestsellerdom and/or millions of dollars 

Work Schedule: 

  • Part-time: whenever writing can be fit into regular schedule, 7 days a week
  • Fulltime: 40 t0 50 hours per week, Monday through Saturday
  • Vacation: Never to infrequent

9 responses to “Job Description: Creative Writer

  1. hehehe – thank you! Now I feel justified when I spend time reading a novel or working on my blog instead of revising. It’s part of my job description.

    • Marylisa — I view my writing as a job deserving of a job description. I am only following in the footsteps of successful writers who have done the same thing. Just don’t read all the time if you intend to write!

  2. Pingback: How to be a Writer | Anatomy of Perceval

  3. Pingback: Being an Author: Motivation | Anatomy of Perceval

  4. Pingback: Just a Hobby? Or Just a Job? | Anatomy of Perceval

  5. Pingback: Happy Anniversary! | Anatomy of Perceval

  6. Pingback: Learning and Growing as a Writer | Anatomy of Perceval

  7. Pingback: Working, or Why Making Art is a Fulltime Job | Anatomy of Perceval

  8. Pingback: Top Ten Posts of All Time on Anatomy of Perceval | Anatomy of Perceval Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.