Love writing but...
December 14, 2012 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I've always had communications-related jobs, but they never seem to be the right fit. I'm a great writer (although I have a love/hate relationship with writing), but I also helping enjoy helping people and interacting with people, etc., and writing is a pretty solitary job. (Well, PR isn't, but that's one area I want to stay away from, as well as fundraising). Have any other writer-types who are like me found a solution? (Oh, and I don't want to take on grad-school loans right now.)
posted by trillian to Work & Money (15 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've worked with technical writers in curriculum development and they spent a lot of time consulting with instructional designers, subject matter experts, and other people on the curriculum development team. They generally had undergraduate degrees in the humanities but none that I worked with went to grad school.
posted by angiep at 7:06 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Technical writing can be a very interactive job. Tech writers spend a lot of time talking to subject matter experts across the organisation. And in some companies, the tech writers also talk with end users to find our their needs.
posted by neushoorn at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2012

If you don't mind me asking, why are you trying to stay away from fundraising? I always really enjoyed writing growing up, but I knew I didn't want to be a journalist or a creative writer. I started grant writing to nonprofits in college and am now in management for fundraising at a nonprofit. If you're a grant writer at a smaller organization, you are not just sitting at a desk writing - you are interviewing clients to include their success stories in grant proposals in communications materials, working closely with program staff to ensure that you're meeting grant requirements, and working with finance staff to create and maintain budgets. I absolutely love it, since it combines my love of writing with my love of planning and working with a team.
posted by anotheraccount at 7:29 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

An online community manager / social media manager position might be right up your alley. Lots of writing and interaction involved and there's a slight nod toward marketing but not overtly so. There's an art to interacting well with a community on behalf of its customer or member base that you might find to be a lot of fun.
posted by _Mona_ at 7:32 AM on December 14, 2012

If you don't mind me asking, why are you trying to stay away from fundraising?

Mostly the "asking for money" aspect (in person)... Some people are cut out for that and I'm not.
posted by trillian at 7:34 AM on December 14, 2012

I'm not sure if this is too close to PR for you, but have you thought about working for a nonprofit organization that has an advocacy component? Often, these organizations need people that can write compelling blog posts, op-ed pieces, reports, etc. But, unlike being a full-time writer, nonprofits often will have people serve many roles. You might get to help with event planning, fundraising (without necessarily having to talk directly to potential funders), and possibly even the organization's core programs.
posted by maxim0512 at 7:38 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Since you are a good writer and you enjoy helping others - perhaps you would enjoy teaching people to write? English teacher, creating writing teacher, English as a foreign language teacher, etc.
posted by rongorongo at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2012

I ended up in marketing writing; mainly I write RFPs (requests for proposals) for my firm. It's not exciting, but the pay/benefits is fairly good and there are lots of undergrad English and journalism majors in it. Any field that bids on work for private/public entities (construction contracts, health insurance management, what have you) does RFPs, and it's becoming more specialized as a subset of marketing as competition gets tougher.

Part of the job requires learning your field and translating tech speak into bid-speak, so there is quite a bit of communication/question asking/research going on.

Tech writing as mentioned above is also good for this.

There is also traditional ad/commercial writing, if you are willing to start as a lowly copyeditor especially. Hours are often horrible (in my experience) but sometimes pay can be good. Lots of interaction with your peers, clients.
posted by emjaybee at 8:07 AM on December 14, 2012

Community management is a good option if you have a generally even temperament and a hide like a rhinoceros. Most of my CM jobs have involved a fair amount of copywriting, and clear and controlled writing is an absolute necessity for any kind of major forum-running job. All of my contacts are in video games, but if that appeals to you at all feel free to drop me a line and I'll see what's open where you are.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:24 AM on December 14, 2012

Look into grant writing. You're hooking up people who need money with people who have money to give away. It's not fundraising in the traditional sense because the money is already being offered out by someone. It's very interactive since you need to be in close contact with the organization to reflect their needs. Very rewarding and worthwhile work.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:24 AM on December 14, 2012

Thank you for all the great ideas so far!
posted by trillian at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2012

You sound like me! I work in communications for a nonprofit. A lot of people I know do communications for universities. Community management sounds like a good possibility. A good friend is great at PR, communications and writing but her big interest is corporate social responsibility. Also you could think about constituent services. Or work in government. Tons of options!
posted by kat518 at 1:23 PM on December 14, 2012

I am a web editor but I work with a writer in a government organisation. His job is not at all solitary. He writes our annual report and our technical reports that are aimed at lay audiences. This means he has to collaborate extensively with technical and policy people as well as interacting with our board of directors. I would like his job but there's too much people work for me.
posted by plonkee at 2:19 AM on December 15, 2012

Nthing nonprofit communications. I've been in and out of higher ed my entire career, and I love it. Many colleges and universities have news bureaus that find, write, and publish (on multiple platforms) the most fascinating stories about faculty and students who are literally changing the world.
posted by shallowcenter at 3:57 AM on December 15, 2012

I think there are too many to mark as best answer -- thank you all!
posted by trillian at 8:30 AM on January 2, 2013

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