Writing Course: Industry Overview

As I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided to take on another project. Short term, I might be stretching myself a bit, but long term the decision will be beneficial.

I’ve enrolled in a second course — Certificate in Professional Writing (Short Story Writing).

There are only five units in this course, so I think I’ll complete this course in roughly six to eight months. My plan is to do an editing unit followed by a writing unit. I’ve just completed the third unit for the editing course (the assignment will be posted today). I have also almost completed the first topic of the first unit for the writing course. Here are my notes:

1: Industry Overview

Writing came from the need for money and the lack of memory. Some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, in the Middle East, traders needed a way to record transactions, lists of goods and receipts. They devised a series of marks and symbols to document their negotiations. This is believed to be the first form of writing.

Writing is a way for our thoughts to endure. It allows us to discover who we are and what we have been. It confirms history. Writing allows us to make sense of ourselves and of others.

Writing gives meaning and significance. It is usually done in the form of a story and is profound, and gives integrity and wholeness. Loss of story can mean loss of culture, loss of experience and knowledge.

Writers are story tellers. The story they tell may be their own or may be someone else’s.

Writing may arouse the senses by moving us to tears, making us laugh, making us feel loved, or angry, or sad, and filling us with wonder. The words can flow sweetly, be open and honest or short and sharp. They can move with the beat of our heart or quicken it to a breathless pace.

At first, writing started as a method to catalogue quantities, costs and payments. Then, by writing his symbol on a stone, a man marked his territory. Later, leaders would instruct others to record great battles won, new lands conquered. Now, writing is used every day for communication, for knowledge, for recording history, for pleasure.

Through letters and words, the writer can preach, inform, educate, entertain, inspire and share. They can also persuade, seduce, anger, applaud, taunt, vilify and celebrate. Writing may have a powerful effect. It can change beliefs. It can change societies.

The Writer and the Writing Industry

The writing industry is huge, ever changing and indefinable. The industry, and the results of writing, include:

  • books
  • letters
  • performance writing
  • screenwriting
  • journalism
  • reports
  • short stories


The associated activities for writing are:

  • editing
  • publishing
  • printing
  • design
  • marketing and sales
  • distribution
  • theatre and screen production
  • legal processes


A writer can become:

  • an editor
  • a novel writer
  • a screenwriter
  • a business writer
  • work in publishing


No matter what your purpose is, to write you must have an understanding of the writing industry. The industry changes all the time. A writer must invest time and effort locating outlets for their work. Not to do so will lose them valuable opportunities.

Some common requisites for writers of all types are:

  • respect for language
  • knowlege of resources available
  • effective research skills
  • networking ability
  • familiarity of the law
  • an understanding of the roles in the industry


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