An academic writer is a writer who produces scholarly content for academic purposes. While this is a compulsory duty for students and researchers, some scholars choose to make a career out of it. Starting a career as an academic writer requires you to have a high level of proficiency in language and writing skills. This career is not just for graduates who love to write. But for anyone good at research and willing to put in the time. Generally, you will play a major role in contributing to the existing body of knowledge on a particular subject through your research and writing. As an academic writer, you will be involved in responsibilities such as conducting research, writing papers, editing and proofreading.


This career path requires you to have strong writing as well as research skills. However, it also requires precision, clarity and coherence. As an academic writer, you can choose to specialise in a particular niche. You can specialise in areas such as business, government, health, education, etc. To be able to excel in this field, you need to build the right foundation and develop these vital skills as you pursue your career. Therefore, I will discuss the steps that you can take in starting a career as an academic writer. Additionally, I will list out the valuable skills that you should have and the types of academic writers.


How to Start a Career as an Academic Writer

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    You need to have a bachelor’s degree to become an academic writer. Unlike other types of writers, this career path requires in-depth knowledge of the academic field. Therefore, you need to pursue a degree program to have the foundational knowledge and skills to become an academic writer. You can pursue a degree in a field that interests you. You can obtain a degree in disciplines such as History, philosophy, psychology or English.

  2. Practice Writing

    It would be best if you practised writing frequently to get better at it. You should dedicate time to writing in different styles and formats. You can write essays, book reviews, case studies and research papers. This will enable you to develop your writing skills and help you find your unique writing style.

  3. Have a Portfolio

    As you keep writing, you need to document your writing such as articles, papers and reports that you have written. This will serve as your portfolio. This will showcase your skills to future clients and employers.

  4. Read regularly

    Being an academic writer requires reading. You need to read widely and extensively to gain an understanding of fundamental ideas and current trends in your field. Therefore, you must read books, articles, and other publications in your field of study.

  5. Submit your work for Publication

    One of the most crucial steps in becoming an academic writer is submitting your work for publication. Therefore, you should start by submitting your work and other publications that are related to your field. Additionally, you can ask editors and reviewers for feedback on how to improve.

  6. Participate in Conferences and Seminars

    Participating in conferences and seminars can help in building you up as a writer. You can learn new writing skills and ways to get better at writing in your field. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to network with mentors and partners who can guide you as you start your journey.


Academic Writing Skills

  1. Research Skills
  2. Attention to detail
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Time management
  5. Organisation and Structure
  6. Knowing your audience
  7. Writing clearly and consistently
  8. Developing an argument


Types of Academic Writers

  1. Researchers

    Researchers are in charge of carrying out research in their specialised fields and are frequently employed by academic institutions or research groups. They write pieces such as reports and research papers based on their findings.

  2. Freelance Writers

    Freelance writers work independently and are compensated on a project basis. They may write academic content for journals, websites, and other publications, including dissertations and articles. They may also work on non-academic projects such as promotional materials or articles for blogs.

  3. Professors

    Professors are considered to be authorities in their fields of study and usually possess advanced degrees. Therefore, they regularly carry out research and, based on their findings, publish books and scholarly articles. They might also serve as advisors and mentors to students seeking degrees in related fields.

  4. Ghostwriters

    Ghostwriters are often hired by academics, researchers, and other professionals to help them get their work published. They may work on academic writing projects such as books or research papers and collaborate closely with the client to ensure that the work meets their requirements.


Starting a career as an academic writer can be done full-time, part-time or by freelancing. It depends on your goal and what you aim to pursue in the end. However, whatever you choose to achieve, you should dedicate time to developing your writing skills and the important skills that are needed. You cannot become good at writing without these skills. Additionally, you should carve a niche for yourself and learn more about that field to gain expertise in it.


Good luck!

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