What can I do with a BA in English and a desire to write?

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WRITER_bannerAlexandra from the University of South Florida asked:

I am moving to the big and beautiful city of Atlanta, GA to start my career. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English – Creative Writing. What type of jobs am I qualified for with this degree, especially in the area of writing? 

Hi Alexandra –

On some levels I offer you the advice I offered to Kayla from UW-LaCrosse in my blog What can I do with a psychology degree?:

Explore – Be Curious – Ask Questions – Test Drive Careers – Connect the Dots! 

Now, specific to your desire to work in a writing-related area and do so in the Atlanta area.

This is a bit tricky.  Companies don’t typically hire writers in in the same way they hire accountants, physical therapists or sales representatives.  They hire people to do jobs and many jobs require candidates that can write well. Finding a job that requires you to be able write well is different from pursuing a career as a writer.

Finding a job that requires writing skills

Honestly, most jobs require that you be able to communicate effectively in writing, but most jobs do not feature “writing” or “writer” in the title.  If you work in public relations, public affairs, education, business communication, sales, publishing, journalism, fundraising, sales, or media, writing will likely central to what you do.  So, if any of these industries interest you, seek out work in them.

The best way to start is to create an inventory of your interests, hobbies, skills and passions.  Your job will consume much of your day.  Time will go by much more quickly if you are doing something you find interesting. So, start your search by trying to identify industries, work spaces and work cultures that interest you, and then within those industries look for opportunities that involve writing.

Some places to start looking include:

MediaBistro Job Postings

International Association of Business Communicators Job Bank

IABC Atlanta Career Center

Public Relations Society of America – Georgia Chapter Job Bank

University of Washington’s Careers in Editing and Publishing resource page

As you pursue jobs and get ready for interviews, be prepared to answer the four most important questions of your job search.

Pursuing a career as a writer

Ah, a noble pursuit; but noble pursuits are not always lucrative ones!  If you really want to be a writer, start writing . . .  now!

You are probably going to have to become a freelance writing professionally.  When you freelance, you only get paid when someones buys something you have written.  Once you have established a reputation a quality writer,  people may start offering you money to write things before you write them, but until that time, you write and hope someone will buy your stuff.  Writing is a craft even more than it is a business, and you have to hone your craft if you hope to turn it into a business.

But don’t go it alone!  Writers and aspiring writers alike support each other.  When you get to Atlanta, join a writers group an connect with the other writers in your new community:

The Atlanta Writers Club

Atlanta Writers MeetUp Groups

Georgia Writers Association

Village Writers Group

National Writers Union

Also, be sure to monitor the writing-specific job and opportunity boards:

FreelanceWriting.com – Writing Jobs in Atlanta

Atlanta Writing Jobs on Twitter – TweetMyJobs 

WriterJobsATL on Twitter – SimplyHired

Writer – Atlanta GA – Indeed.com

Council of Science Editors Job Bank

National Education Writers Association Career Center

Good luck on the move to Atlanta!


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