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Is there a specialization (i.e. creative, technical, or professional writing) in my English degree that I should really consider for the future?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Cheryl’s Answer

It all depends on what kind of writing you want to do. If you want to have a day job and work on your own content in your free time, any kind of writing could either help or hurt you. You may find that writing every day for your job motivates you to keep writing, or you may find that writing all day for work takes the fun out of it and you don't have the energy for your own writing.


If you don't aspire to be a published author yourself, you should consider your working style and what motivates you when considering what kind of writing you want to be responsible for 40+ hours a week. Technical and professional writing can be dry and boring. Creative writing can have its challenges, but may offer more variety.


I majored in English Literature, and got into the field of technical writing. After two years, I was so bored with it that I got out of that field and moved into Human Resources instead. The beauty of the English degree is that it equips you with skills that can be used in a variety of careers. I know many English majors go on to careers in education and law. You could also consider journalism or public relations writing, if either of those options interest you.

Cheryl recommends the following next steps:

Think about what type of writing motivates/de-motivates you, and what you are interested in doing on a full-time basis.
Various types of writing careers will have different levels of communication with others - how much time do you want to spend in front of a computer writing versus collaborating with others?
Think about if you want to write long content (tech manuals) or short content (press releases).
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Devon!

When I was an English major I also specialized in both creative writing and technical writing. For me, I wanted to pursue creative writing because I was passionate about it, but I knew technical writing was a more assured career path for me. The benefit of doing both was that I learned how to write for different audiences for different purposes.

For that reason, I would recommend trying out specializations and seeing what you're more interested in– but also so you're prepped for a variety of career paths. I ended up pursuing technical writing which led me to become a content designer, which means I write copy for software and also write technical documentation. I love the work, the creativity I get to use, and my flexible work hours.

Technical writing may yield you a more standard (but in my experience, flexible) 40 hour a week job, while creative writing may be more self-focused and moderated. That's not to say you can't make a 40 hour a week job out of blogging or similarly creative pursuits. I would highly encourage you to try out specializations your institution may offer since they will likely bring you closer to what you can see yourself doing as a career. The beauty of an English degree is a range of skills that any company or organization will need.
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Lucy’s Answer

Be a well-rounded writer. Write about politics, business, legal, social justice and animal rights topics. Write only about what moves you. Write and teach English grammar and composition to get really good. What you may be missing in your language skills, you will fix as you teach!

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