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Ask Matt: How Can I Find a Writing Job in Taiwan?

Hi Matt,

How can I find a writing  job in Taiwan? I’ve been in Taiwan for about a year and a half. I don’t feel like I’m cut out for teaching, and writing professionally has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Having just turned 30 in October, I feel like I’m going through a career crisis. How can I break into a writing career here?

Thanks!

Rodney

Hi Rodney,

Although there are a few educational publishers in other cities (most notably Kaohsiung), the vast majority of English-language publishers in Taiwan are based in Taipei, so, I would consider moving there. The most commonly available English jobs in Taiwan are:

Newspaper Copy Editor

This is not a high-paid writing job, nor is it a fun one. However, the English newspapers often advertise for copy editors, so these jobs appear to be fairly easy to get compared to others, and are very good experience for a new writer. These jobs are most commonly advertised in the classifieds of the hiring newspaper.  Newspaper reporter jobs, by comparison, are harder to get because they often require a high level of Chinese proficiency.

The most prominent English newspapers in Taiwan include: The Taipei Times, The Taiwan News, and The China Post. The government information office also publishes several other news-based periodicals in English and other languages.

Education Writer/Editor

These jobs include writing or editing articles for the various educational ESL magazines in Taiwan (such as the LiveABC group, Studio Classroom, and others) or working for other companies that specialize in test writing and educational materials. The only place that I’ve seen these companies advertise is the classified ads on Tealit.com.

Technical Writer

Taiwan’s economy is driven largely by hi-tech research, development, and manufacturing. These companies need to do business and offer documentation in English to their international customers. So, many of them require English technical writers and editors. These jobs can be seen advertised regularly on Tealit.com.

Academic Editor

In Taiwan, like every country, professors are required to publish their research in order to keep their jobs. This can be difficult for them because most journals, and many of the the most prestigious journals, are published in English. So, many professors in Taiwan require English editors to polish their work before they submit it to journals. I do this kind of editing on a freelance basis for a local University. I have never seen these jobs advertised in Taiwan. I think that most professors find editors independently, but some Universities also offer an editing service for students and employees. To find this kind of work, you would probably have to contact professors and universities directly. Over time you could build up a clientele that would keep you busy full-time.  I know of a couple of editors that have gone this route and are doing quite well.

Freelance Writer

This job is the same in Taiwan as it is anywhere in the world. Get online, look for new prospects, pitch articles, and write, write, write!  Although this is probably the poorest paying and most frustrating option, it is the one that I have chosen, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the tea in Yilan.

Finding a job writing in Taiwan is easier than back home, but still not easy.  It will probably take a lot of applications, interviews, and effort.  But, don’t despair.  You’re not the first struggling writer to break into the market in Taiwan! With time and effort you should be able to find a decent writing job in Taiwan.

I hope this helps!

Best,
Matt

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