Individuals who love the written word and have an aptitude for writing could be very happy in a career as a speech writer. Working directly with top business executives and politicians, speech writers determine what themes, points, messages or positions that individual should cover in a particular speech.
Speech writers need to be able to live with criticism and negative comments on the various drafts of the speech and be willing to incorporate these changes into the final product.
The average speech writer has to be able to work on a number of different speeches at the same time and manage time effectively in order to finish each document within the allotted time.
Like ghostwriters, speech writers’ work will be largely anonymous; they are seldom acknowledged or credited. This sometimes creates a dilemma for historians.
When a particular phrase, such as the one used by President John F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” gains widespread popularity, should the speaker be credited or should his speech writer receive the credit? In this case, the now famous phrase was actually written by speech writer Ted Sorensen.
Managing time is of crucial importance for a speech writer. Some clients will give up to six months notice for a specific speech, while others might only give the writer a few hours. Sometimes the speaker wants to meet the writer beforehand, but often a speech writer will write a speech for a client without ever meeting him or her.
How To Become A Speech Writer
While many professional speech writers belong to the Speech Writers’ Guild or the Professional Speech Writers Association, speech writers very often do not have any specific training in the field or area for which they have to write speeches. A degree in languages, such as an online English degree, might be all that is needed to get started in this field. A good standard of general knowledge and being well read will also be helpful in getting ahead in this career.
Speech writers who are employed in a full-time position can expect to make around $75,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individuals who work on a freelance basis could use this as a ballpark figure to work out an hourly rate.
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