Writing & Editing

What it is

Writing or editing written material, either as an employee of an organization or on a freelance basis. Almost all organizations in all sectors need writers. Hence, there are many ways to become a professional writer or editor. Whether employed outside the home or freelancing from home, you can use your writing and editing skills to earn a living.

Starting points

Cruise job boards for positions “writer” or “editor” in the title, especially in companies you like. Consider freelancing: if anyone has ever asked you to help with a writing project, that was your first client. If they paid you, even better! To get more business as a freelancer, get testimonials, set your rates, and build a website. The barriers to entry are low, but developing a good clientele takes time.


Writer-editors can advance into management of their respective areas, and can advance into company management, with additional professional development. Freelance writer-editors enjoy great flexibility and can shape their practices over time, but they will always have to market themselves to bring in new business.


All humanities and social science disciplines provide good background for a writing/editing career.

Personality and outlook

You must enjoy writing and editing, and be able to use those skills in the service of someone else’s goals rather than your own. If freelancing, you must be entrepreneurial in order to attract clients, craft your brand identity, assert your value, and make business decisions. Social skills are important in both settings.


Start developing a clientele while still in your program; this will help you regardless of whether you choose to be employed or to go freelance. Choose service assignments that will allow you to write in new genres. Do informational interviews with successful writers and editors (there are many on Versatile PhD).

Real Life Examples