The field of creative writing is concerned with the production of material outside of the realm of technical and professional writing. The written work can be in the form of prose, poetry, or script. The field is highly competitive, though there are various subfields in which creative writers can specialize. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these subfields include:

  • Authors.

    Authors write creative content for books, journals, magazines, and other publications. They write fiction and/or nonfiction material, and they’re classified by the type of writing they do, e.g. novelists.

  • Screenwriters and songwriters.

    These writers produce material specifically for performances and broadcasts. They are responsible for television shows, films, plays, and lyrics.

  • Copywriters.

    These writers produce advertising material for specific products and promotions. They often work with clients to write unique copy and develop slogans and hooks.

  • Editors.

    Editors are in charge of planning content and reviewing written work. They correct mistakes, review ideas, and rewrite material.

  • Freelance writers.

    Freelancers write independently. They are self-employed and therefore are unaffiliated with any business or journal. They market and sell their work on their own.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Creative Writing?

Though creative writers are not required to have a degree to produce content, the BLS states that most creative writing jobs require a degree in a field such as English, communications, or journalism. There are also many creative writing colleges geared toward providing students with the skills necessary for producing creative material. Specific requirements for creative writing positions vary based on the industry and employer.

As with the education requirements, salaries for creative writers vary based on field. According to the BLS, salaried writers made an average of $53,070 in 2008. Editors made an annual average of $49,990. Freelance writers usually get paid by the job, and a freelancer salary will therefore vary based on the number of jobs fulfilled.

According to PayScale.com, the best city for writers is New York City, which boasts a large salary range of $29,441 to $146,166. Washington D.C. is another city with good prospects for writers, with salaries ranging from $41,400 to $68,000. In San Francisco, California, writers average between $38,884 and $52,000 annually. Despite these numbers, there is no guarantee that moving to one of these cities will result in success. Careers and salaries for creative writers are dependent upon many factors, including experience, the employer, the job climate, and ability.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Creative Writing?

Online creative writing degrees are conducted via an online portal from which students can access course work and assignments. These portals also allow students to upload completed projects and download lecture materials. Many have forum and chat options for communication between professors and students. Creative writing students take workshop classes where they share their work with peers and help each other to improve upon their writing. The best creative writing programs balance a workshop curriculum with literature and critical analysis classes, as reading and interpreting literature can help students develop their own writing abilities.

For bachelor’s degrees, students also take general classes in areas like history, science, and math, to become well-rounded learners. Master’s and doctorate degree programs focus heavily on the production of writing, and often involve research and a quota of creative material. At the doctorate level, colleges for creative writing expect students to write a creative dissertation prior to earning their degrees.

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