Bored Of Writing Articles For A Living? Here Are Some Alternative Career Paths

Man dressed in coat at a workdesk

Photo: Icons8 Team

Many people dream about quitting their day job so that they can write for a living. But did you know that it’s also possible to write for a living and dream of doing something else?

Maybe career progress isn’t easy to come by (the number of writers versus editor vacancies are pretty lopsided, after all), or maybe you could do without another day of blindly producing another thousand-word article just for the sake of content.

And on top of all that, you might want your cake and eat it too—as in you’re not ready to start over in a totally new career. Well then, why not give the careers below a try?

These are opportunities I’ve personally had experience with or, at the very least, been offered a job in. So if someone like me who only has writing qualifications can land them, then so can you.

Corporate comms

Okay, I’m cheating with this first entry, as it’s pretty much still a writing gig. But hey, at least you’ll be in a different rung on the corporate ladder. People in comms usually work closely with the bosses or CEOs, which means that you’ll also be a gatekeeper of information more often than not.

Everything that has to do with communications flows in and out of the comms department, so you get to play editor sometimes, even as an executive. You’ll get lotsa people currying you for favours (to get their marketing creatives approved, for one), but you’ll also need to learn everything about the company so that you’ll know what’s publishable and what not. When I was in the aviation industry, for example, we weren’t allowed to use words like ‘crash’.

The downside? You become a frontliner once the shit hits the fan. A customer complaint goes viral? Guess who’s waking up at midnight to put out the fire. Damage control didn’t go so well? Guess who’s getting burnt.

Emcee

Writers are good with words, and they’re also mostly introverts. That’s a perfect combination of traits for would-be emcees because, believe it or not, introverts are better at addressing crowds than at chatting with a few people during lunch.

I know I’m making assumptions here, but a writer’s denser vocabulary goes hand-in-hand with public speaking. They’re the ones that typically don’t need a script, but if they do, then writing one isn’t that big of a deal.

Some of you won’t like the limelight, and that’s fine, but for those who do, this can be a pretty interesting career path that could take you places.

Writer Path Speech - Alexandre Pellaes

Instead of blank pages, you could stare at blank faces instead. Photo: Alexandre Pellaes

Chatbot scriptwriter

Yep. I actually did this during my time in a tech startup. It was just one of my many responsibilities then, as everybody in a startup was expected to wear many hats. But you know what? Another company saw what I did and actually offered me a job to solely write chatbot scripts.

Seriously.

I didn’t take the offer because that line of work didn’t interest me that much then. But for you guys who love a more predictable and linear workflow, then this might be for you.

What you basically have to do is to picture your customers’ needs when they fire up the chatbot, and work on a way from getting them from point A to point B. Bonus points if you can make it entertaining, because people aren’t stupid, and they’ll know when they’re chatting with a bot, so the point isn’t to replace a human, but to make your visitors say, “Ha, that’s good.”

Also, it’d be great if you actually solved their problems instead of giving them ten irrelevant options that take them nowhere.

Trainer

Remember that part about public speaking? You can take it one step further and become a trainer for a subject of your choosing. And if you’re like the many other writers out there, you were probably on a totally different trajectory before you started writing for a living. So your working experience is definitely one place to start.

Also, you could also be required to come up with an entire syllabus, maybe even prepare the necessary learning materials, and guess whose job that’s going to be? Of course, even if you weren’t involved in the creation of said syllabus, you’d most probably be doing the proofreading anyway.

I myself have just currently pivoted from mainly writing for a living to conducting digital marketing classes as well as being a mentor for mobile journalism. One’s paid and the other’s a volunteer project. And you know what? I think I may have just found my new niche.

Voiceover writer

This is a little on the niched end, but I have had a couple of assignments that were entirely video based. So my job was to digest a company’s profile, learn what the video team’s plan was, and create a script for the voiceover talent to read over said video.

You’ll quickly learn that what looks good on paper doesn’t necessarily translate well to voice, especially if you live in a multicultural society like Malaysia where the local idiosyncrasies and diverse figures of speech come into play.

Sometimes you might even write radio ads. It’s a pretty interesting field, though opportunities might be limited, especially seeing how most creative agencies already have copywriters on hand to do this.

Writer Path Podcast - Kate Oseen

You don’t really care how words sound until it’s time to hear your writing in audio form. Photo: Kate Oseen

Honourable mention: Book consultant

My writing mentor used to do this for a living. Note that she wasn’t a ghostwriter, but she would advise said ghostwriters, if any. Sometimes they would be novels, sometimes memoirs. But they would always involve decent payment.

Sometimes my mentor would even be flown out to her clients’ hometowns, just so she could get a slice of their lives. Then she’d come up with a plan for the entire book, and it’ll be up to the writers to finish the rest.

This one is a pretty niche industry as well, but I’m just listing this here to give you an idea of how unconventional you can be when it comes to branching out as a writer.

Keep evolving

I’ve always felt that writers were the most dispensable bunch in any company, and I’ve seen writers get left behind just because they refused to venture outside their comfort zone.

Throughout the past eight or nine years I’ve been in this journey, I’ve seen magazines fold, newspapers downsize, and traditional marketing make way for the digital world. Even today, some writers still refuse to learn the basics such as SEO or even WordPress, thinking that their years of experience in print publishing will be enough to carry them through the digital era.

Thankfully, writing’s a versatile skillset that goes well with everything, so you can choose to future-proof yourself if you really wanted to. And in that sense, perhaps you should seek out new challenges not just to revive a dying career, but to improve your craft.

And in that sense, maybe you can have your cake and eat it too.

30 thoughts on “Bored Of Writing Articles For A Living? Here Are Some Alternative Career Paths

  1. “..introverts are better at addressing crowds…” Really? That’s good to know. Love your posts, especially that part about “voiceover” writing. That sounds fun. LOL.

    • Ooo yeah, sitting in a recording studio watching a voice talent read my script for an automated voice telephone programme was pretty surreal. It was a unique experience for sure.

      And yeah, am probably using too wide a brush to paint all introverts, but I really do feel like crowds are easier, because they generally don’t talk back. Unless I ask them to, that is (which is most likely planned and scripted on my end, lol).

  2. Truly, with every other blogger calling themselves a writer, other writing-invoking careers are worthwhile to list. Really loved the post. I liked it this time, talking about the alternate career paths and whatnot.
    I’ve My email imbox is somewhere where others tend to pry, with the messages on full display on the lock screen, but I’ve recently begun following you, and heck — who cares if they ask why I’ve got an email from a dude named Stuart (well, an email list anyway)? (Hmmm…Perhaps cancelling Gmail notifications on the lock screen, eh?)
    Great writing. Thanks for sharing the post!

    • Wow, I truly appreciate the fact that my posts go into your email! You have no idea how much that means to me, and how honoured I am :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Luv the options, tho for now I’m gonna stick to content creation via my blog, possibilities for guest essays/posts elsewhere and paid writing gigs wherever I might find them. The writing process itself is its own reward yeah?!

    • Oh yeah, unless you’re like me, and you actually hate the process but love the grind (and having written). Lolol.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kelvin!

      You got yourself a swanky new domain?

  4. I took a course in copywriting (a waste of money because I never pursued it, all my own fault) and I learned about all the different opportunities… As long as there are words being printed or spoken, someone’s gotta write them. It’s just a matter of looking where other people don’t think to look, I guess. And actually trying.

    • Nothing is a waste. It’s still a part of you now.

      I forget who said this, but a popular author once said that he doesn’t remember the books he reads, but they each play a part in shaping him (I might be a lil too liberal with my paraphrasing here), so yeah.

      Here’s to finding your stride in writing, Hetty, and thanks for being the top commenter here, as reflected by WordPress Insights!

      • That makes me feel better that a great author said he doesn’t remember the books he reads (though I hope he meant it more as a commentary on his own memory than on how memorable the books are). I retain about 5% of what I read now.

        I’m very honored to be the top commenter 🥳. You seriously have great content and always a unique angle.

  5. I’ve done the corporate communications gig and worked writing voice-overs. Both are great for creativity, while staying out of the spotlight. Don’t think I could emcee… too introverted for that, although you are right about it being easier to talk in front of a crowd than a small group at lunch. LOL.

    • Hahaha, that’s a weird one, isn’t it? I too would’ve thought that speaking to a smaller amount of people would be easier, but nope, in my experience, it’s way more bearable than having to share a table with a few other strangers, like at a wedding or something.

  6. A nicely diverse list with intriguing positions. I enjoy performing in front of crowds, which some people don’t understand, especially when they realize I’m mostly an introvert. But you got that right!

    • There are so many others too, and you’ll never know what you’ll end up doing, really. Life’s awesome like that sometimes, just as how you’re awesome for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Thank you for that! :P

    • Isn’t really that easy though, and don’t think it pays a lot compared to the other writing gigs out there.

      But the work is fairly linear, plus if you have data to back up your decision making, then it’s pretty straightforward. Hope you get to try it sometime!

  7. These are some interesting options! I didn’t even know they had chatbot scriptwriters. That actually could be kind of fun, and it would help hone the skill of writing short, clear, and lively sentences.

    • Oh yeah, and part of it is predicting what your users want too. Though if a company’s looking to employ chatbot writers, then chances are they already have a ton of data to base your dialogue off on. Thanks for stopping by as usual! Always love it when you do so.

  8. Very interesting ways to use your writing Stuart! I love the chatbot scriptwriter, never thought of that one! There are so many ways we can use our talents other than blogging or just writing eBooks, etc. Evolving ourselves is more important today than ever before with everything changing so rapidly!
    Thanks for the ideas.

    • I never thought that chatbot scriptwriting could be a thing too! But yeah, writers really do have an easier time utilising their skills in totally different jobs. Thanks for visiting and dropping this comment by the way.

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