Author and Writers



OFO No: 264101





Other names for Author:

  • Dramatist
  • Essayist
  • Novelist
  • Playwright
  • Poet
  • Screenwriter
  • Script Writer
  • Writer 
What is an Author? What is a Writer?

As a Writer your job is to create original pieces of written work for publications or for performances.

There is plenty of room to try out different writing styles and writing for different reasons. You may want to write in the form of poetry, novels, short stories, biographies, plays, or film, radio and/or television scripts.

Writers work by choosing themes or subjects for written work. They then do research into the subject, assemble background material and get other necessary information.

They then plan and organize material and write the work. They revise or edit the work, check for a coherent style, proper development of theme, plot and characterization, and correct referencing. They need to set out their original manuscripts so that they are clear and legible, that is, either typed or word-processed, before submitting their work to a publisher.

Writers often work collaboratively with visual or performance artists and other specialists such as scriptwriters, software developers, graphic designers and illustrators, to create multimedia works.

Writers may specialize in:

  • fiction writing
  • non-fiction
  • journalism
  • children’s books
  • educational textbook writing
  • historical writing
  • speech writing
  • corporate or training videos
  • technical writing
  • documentation preparation
  • freelance editorial services
  • helping others to prepare their manuscripts for publication
  • scriptwriting or playwriting
  • documentary writing
  • humour or comedy writing
  • copywriting

Work can be commissioned by a book or magazine publisher, a theatre, film or television production company, or radio or television station or network. Alternatively, work may be sold by the writers themselves or by their literary agents.

What does an Author / Writer do?

  • liaises with clients with regards to requirements
  • researches subject
  • writes
  • checks and cross references
  • re-writes over and over

Are you … ?

  • a person who is passionate about writing?
  • a creative thinker?
  • alert and inquisitive about people and their environment?
  • able to think and write clearly?
  • good at grammar and spelling?
  • good at concentrating, persevering and dedicating time to your work?
  • are you resourceful?
  • good at perfecting the details in your work?
  • able to use a computer and write well on it?
  • able to handle criticism?

How do I become an Author / Writer?

One doesn’t necessarily need to train to be a Writer, although having some professional training and guidance can help you develop your style and improve your writing experience. Having a portfolio from training at a university or college can also be very helpful when apply for writing jobs.


A Bachelor of Arts with suitable majors, such as languages can be done at:

  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Zululand
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • University of Stellenbosch

In Communication through:

  • University of Fort Hare
  • University Free State
  • University Zululand
  • North West University
  • University of the Western Cape

In Journalism through:

  • University of Johannesburg
  • North West University
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of Zululand
  • University Free State
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Fort Hare


National Diploma: Journalism

  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • University of Johannesburg
  • Durban University of Technology

If you want to work at a particular publication, its best to find out from them whether or not they need a degree or diploma or if you can just start without any formal training. Some publications prefer a university degree with relevant experience in newspaper or magazine writing.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scamsmake sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 

OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Copywriter .. or … Journalist

Is becoming an Author/Writer the right career choice for me?