The latest news and statistics show that incomes of movie writers, as well as their numbers, decrease steadily over the last 3 or 4 years: for example, according to the annual report of the Writers’ Guild of America, their overall incomes in 2012 fell 6.1 percent, and the number of people working in this line of business decreased 6.7 percent.
But this news doesn’t mean that writing has ceased to be a good prospective career choice – according to the same report the segment of television screenwriting has been on the rise for the last few years, and in the course of 2012 the incomes of people working on TV screenplays rose 3.9 percent. As you may see, this news indicates the changes in the importance of different segments of the industry rather than the degradation of the industry as a whole.
However, you should take into account the fact that these figures describe the situation in the industry as a whole. Although the market for television writing is growing, the salaries of individual TV writers are still much lower than those of movie writers: the average ones are about $68,000 and $100,000 correspondingly.
These lines of work are, however, not the only ones that are open for a person with a penchant for writing, and also not the most well-paid ones, whatever one might think. According to the information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, even the people working in loosely defined sphere of general writing (that is, freelancers without any particular specialization) earn, on average, about $97,000 per year ($46.7 per hour), which effectively puts them into the upper 75 percent of all writer salaries, including the people who work for companies (whatever you may have heard).
Technical freelance writers, that is, people who write technological descriptions, explain the workings of products and so on, surprisingly, earn much less: about $67,000 yearly on average ($32.40 per hour).
The most well-paid among the freelance writers are copywriters – that is, professional authors of advertising texts who persuade customers to buy this or that product. This, however, can hardly be called news – this line of work is traditionally very well paid, because not a lot of people possess the skills necessary for it. They earn about $83 per hour, which is almost two times as much as general writers can expect to get.
A lot of people wish to become writers, thrilled by the examples of both famous authors and well-off copywriters. But if you are going to try yourself in this line of work you should first take a very good look at the situation in the industry as of today.