16 Types Of Writing Every Writer Should Master

Discover our guide with types of writing you can use in your next writing assignment; there are many different forms of writing to explore today!

As someone who makes a living writing for other people’s websites, I often adapt my writing style for different audiences and situations. The way I write conveys meaning beyond the words I use or what I say. Some forms of writing paint a picture, convince readers to act, or communicate facts using reliable sources. Choosing from the different types of writing and adapting to the requirements of a professor, business, or client is crucial to writing success.

Below, I’ll share the different types of writing you can practice and learn how to become a better writer.

1. Expository Writing

Expository writing focuses on providing facts and research about a given topic. With some forms of writing like this, you’ll explore an idea in detail and expand on that idea using factual statements. 

When writing an expository essay, you don’t seek to prove a point, persuade, or evoke emotions. Your goal is to explain something in an objective and balanced way. Read our guide to the best essay writing topics. Here are some examples of expository writing you’re probably familiar with, whether you’ve written them or read them:

  • Journalistic articles
  • How-to manuals
  • Assembly instructions

2. Narrative Writing

Stories are everywhere around you and provide ample opportunity to express your imagination.

In forms of writing like narrative writing, you tell a story that’s 100 percent truthful, primarily factual but embellished for reader enjoyment or fiction. Stories are everywhere around you and provide ample opportunity to express your imagination.

Examples of the narrative style include:

  • Biographies and autobiographies
  • Short stories
  • Novels
  • Novellas
  • Narrative journalism

The journalist Hunter S. Thompson popularized this type of writing in his articles and essays, whereby his journalism often reads like a novel. If you’d like to learn more about this style, read our guide to narrative essays.

3. Persuasive Writing

Business proposals
Business proposals are an example of persuasive writing

In a persuasive essay, your goal is to convince the reader to agree with you through strategic argumentation. To accomplish this, you employ various argumentation techniques like presenting supporting evidence for your argument, laying out points logically that slowly generate buy-in from the reader, and telling a story that evokes emotion to make the case. Politicians and leaders use persuasive writing to popularize ideas like Barack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope. If you’d like to learn more, read our guide to persuasive essays.

Examples of persuasive writing include:

  • Advertisements and marketing campaigns
  • Cover letters
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Business proposals
  • Persuasive essays
  • Persuasive social media posts
  • Persuasive journalism

4. Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is a type of writing style that overlaps with others in this list. It’s one of the most common types of writing, as students often write descriptive essays in school. One of the essential concepts in descriptive writing is to “show, not tell.” Rather than simply saying what happened, explain the how and the why behind it to paint a picture. If you’d like to learn more, read our guide to descriptive essays. You’ll use numerous literary devices to accomplish this, such as:

  • Similes
  • Irony
  • Metaphor
  • Hyperbole
  • Foreshadowing

For this writing style, you’ll choose a point of view to relate to readers. The POV can change the tone of the piece, with the third-person often sounding more formal and objective, while the first and second can seem informal. You may need a combination of more than one POV for the piece to work. Examples of POV usage:

  • First-person – I, We 
  • Second person – You, Understood You 
  • Third-person – He, She, It, They

5. Technical Writing

Technical writing involves communicating something complex in a way the audience can understand. To accomplish this, the technical writer must have in-depth knowledge of the topic they’re explaining and an understanding of the audience’s experience level. Technical writing is devoid of personal opinions. Instead, it explains a topic or concept step-by-step or logically. If you’d like to learn more, read our guide explaining how to become a technical writer. Examples of technical writing include:

  • Research papers
  • Legal documents
  • Some textbooks
  • White papers
  • Academic writing
  • Medical journals
  • Technical documentation for products and software

6. Diary Writing

Diary Writing
Many people use diaries as an external way to process how they’re feeling to deal with anger, regret, grief, fear, jealousy, and sadness

 Diary writing is a more personal form intended to log events in a person’s life and often their emotions. If you think you might be famous someday, keeping diaries could one day be resource materials for your auto-biography! Read our guide explaining the differences between a diary and a journal.

That point aside, many people use diaries as an external way to process how they’re feeling to deal with anger, regret, grief, fear, jealousy, and sadness. It’s cheaper than therapy. Diary writing can be a positive experience. People often write about what they’re grateful for, express their joy around fortuitous events, or set life goals and celebrate accomplishments.

Examples of diary writing include:

  • The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Leonardo Da Vinci’s diaries
  • Charles Darwin’s diaries
  • Marie Curie’s notebooks

7. Business Writing

Business writing is a commonly misunderstood type of writing. Many consider business writing stuffy and formal, but it’s a stimulating and well-paying field. A business writer follows a company style guide to convey an idea or concept for internal and, sometimes, external use.

For example, a business writer could take notes from an executive and turn them into a compelling business case for the wider team. They could also articulate the values of a business in everyday concise language for a presentation, pitch deck or company manifesto.

8. Copywriting

Copywriting describes using words to sell products and services to a target audience. A copywriter produces copy for websites, sales pages and email funnels. They aim to convince readers to act, for example, opting in for a lead magnet with their email address, taking out a trial or buying a product. A copywriter can also branch into social media and content writing. Copywriters can earn high-five and even six figures annually by providing this service to companies or clients.

The art of copywriting involves holding the attention of readers. For this reason, it’s a valuable skill for those writing online. A good copywriting formula can help a writer finish an article or blog post quickly. Learn how to become a copywriter.

9. Content Writing

Content writing is similar to copywriting. A content writer produces blog posts, articles, ebooks and guides for companies or online businesses. They may also write YouTube video scripts and social media posts.

A content writer typically charges clients a per-word rate, usually between four and ten cents, depending on the complexity of the topic. Content writing has become more popular for freelancers because most online businesses thrive on content.

A well-run niche website, for example, publishes a set number of SEO-optimized articles each month to increase traffic and revenue. The owner of this site depends on a team of knowledgeable content writers to achieve their publication and revenue goals. If you’d like to try this discipline, read our guide explaining what does a content writer do?

10. Poetry

Poetry is an expressive form of writing

Poetry is something most writers try for fun. It’s a surprisingly rewarding discipline as a writer can play around with words, imagery and sensory language. Usually, an aspiring poet isn’t trying their hand at this type of writing to supplement their income. Instead, it’s a creative challenge.

Perhaps the most accessible type of poetry to start with is Haiku. It’s a type of Japanese poetry whereby the first line contains five syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. Haiku is only one form of poetry to explore. Read our guide to the most common types of poetry. For example, consider this ancient Haiku by Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō:

An old silent pond

A frog jumps into the pond—

Splash! Silence again. – Matsuo Bashō

11. Critical Writing

A critic considers a piece of popular media and analyzes it for a general audience. The most obvious example is a film critic who watches a film and then explains whether readers should watch it in newspaper articles or online.

Critical writing is often subjective rather than objective because it’s written from the reviewer’s point of view. After all, one person’s art is another’s trash! However, writing reviews requires deep knowledge and understanding of the topic or medium in question… or at least an ability to entertain readers with your point of view. Popular forms of critical writing include:

  • Film reviews
  • Game reviews
  • Music reviews

12. Scientific Writing

Scientific writing involves writing literature reviews, peer-reviewed journal papers, and grant proposals. They read the prevailing literature about a topic, review current thinking and then provide a synopsis and evaluation. A scientific writer backs up their argument or points with evidence and citations. Ideally, a scientific writer demonstrates precision, clarity and objectivity.

However, they’re usually writing for an expert audience who understands the topic, prevailing literature or works in the field. Therefore, a scientific writer doesn’t always have to explain basic concepts and ideas as they can assume their audience knows the basics.

13. Travel Writing

Travel Writing
Professional travel writers are often paid by tourism boards 

Travel writing describes writing about your experiences while visiting a country, city or location. It sounds like a glamorous profession because you get paid to go on holiday! However, professional travel writers are often under strict deadlines and must see and do as much as possible quickly. That often cuts out any socializing. Travel writers also face competition from locals who can write about a location with more expertise than a visitor. Travel writers can earn a nice side income by blogging and writing about their trips online. For more, read our guide explaining how to become a travel writer.

14. Blogging

Blogging is an immensely rewarding form of writing that started in 1997. If you’re going to start a blog today, expect competition. Reportedly, over 600 million blogs exist worldwide.

However, a writer can find success more easily if they write within a specific niche about topics readers are searching for, rather than their day or personal lives. The best blogs are self-hosted on WordPress and monetized through display advertising, affiliate promotions, and digital products. To learn more, read our guide to blogging for writers.

15. Technical Writing

Technical writing is a specialized skill where writers take complex information and display it in a way that’s easy for readers to understand. Often, technical writing involves creating diagrams, graphs, charts and visuals to help explain the topic. Various sectors like finance, technology, IT, healthcare and STEM utilize technical writers to create articles and guides on specific topics. For more, learn how to get paid to write reviews.

16. Academic Writing

Academic writing is used for all scholarly contexts, like school essays or college dissertations. It will almost always follow a structure and usually follows formatting guidelines like MLA or APA. Writing for academic purposes will involve research and narrative in a passive or third-person voice to maintain objectivity. Many resources are available to help with academic writing; check out our guide with the best essay-writing apps to get started.

The Final Word On Types Of Writing

Writers can explore many different styles, from creative to commercial. Selecting the right one depends on the reader, editor, publication, and writing goals. If you’re bored with one style, you can always try another for fun or to flex your creative muscles. 

FAQs About Types Of Writing

How Do I Choose The Right Writing Style For A Piece?

Consider your audience and the style guide for the publication in question. Identify what type of writing the editor expects for this topic, publication, situation, or brand. Consider how your piece can inform, educate, inspire or entertain readers.

How Can I Learn To Write In Various Styles?

Reading their examples is one of the best ways to learn writing styles. Notice how the writer grabs your attention, unfolds their main points, and communicates with you. Then practice, and ask someone–preferably a writer–to give you some feedback.