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Thread: Work/Write Balance- career paths in writing

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Cekrit's Avatar
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    Work/Write Balance- career paths in writing

    This may be personal but I figured I'd ask since I've had some difficulty.


    What do you do for work?


    Currently, I am droning away at a Call center, and have been at one or another for about 5 years. I can't seem to get myself out of a cubicle or away from the phones because they are the easiest jobs to land. I have two degrees in creative writing but alas- it's incredibly difficult to find a job in my field.

    I write in my free time, which I have since I'm stuck in a non-career job.

    I guess my question is as above, as writers what do you do for work?

    If any of you have Bachelors or Masters in writing than your answer or any advice would be especially helpful as I've just been running into a stone wall for years with degrees I'm starting to feel were useless to get (and I REALLY don't want to feel that way.) I live in a city that's 20 minutes from Providence, RI and abut 40 from Boston, MA- so commutin and even finding a job as a writer/editor/copywriter should not be an issue but they seem almost non-existant even in these big cities.

    Deep sigh.
    Sera needs you! [YA dystopian fantasy]

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  2. #2
    figuring it all out Splendor's Avatar
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    My degree isn't in writing, however, I write a LOT for my job. This was my career path and maybe it will help you.

    Work jobs for money that I don't necessarily like in corporate America for xyz years.

    In 2010 decided to return home and volunteer at a nonprofit.

    While at the non-profit I was given the task of thanking donors, creating newsletters, posting on social media etc. I fell in LOVE with this stuff and was given a TON of creative freedom.

    I was offered a job eventually at the same non-profit and learned all I could about grants, fundraising etc. Took as many classes, workshops as I could and then was offered an amazing position in Donor Relations/Stewardship (look it up) at a great University. This position involves a lot of writing on behalf of President, Board members and I'm constantly having to be creative with what I produce.

    I still can't believe sometimes how much I like my job now and am so thankful to not be at a job where I feel mentally and physically drained.

    So my advice is to volunteer part-time for a local non-profit because they usually let you soar and spread your wings for free . Many will let you come in a few hours each week in the evenings if you need to or work remotely from home. Our graphic artist did that until he built up a business for himself. I started off one day a week for about 4-5 hours and that opened the door of opportunity I'm currently in. I did move on to another non-profit for at total of 4 years non-profit not that great salary work.

    If you want to get out of the call center and move on to something close to what you love (and work that actually feels fulfilling and rewarding) this is the route I recommend and when you get enough experience you can seek opportunities at a hospital or university where the pay and benefits are even better.

  3. #3
    A seadog looking for crewmates Elenitsa's Avatar
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    I am an economist. I have a PhD in World Economics and I work in EU project management.

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    -A swashbuckling adventures RPG, set in 1720 in West Indies, open since August 2010;
    winner of Distant Fantasies& RPG-D Member's Choice Award; RPG Conference's Originality Award; 2011 & 2012 Simming Prizes-

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi, I am a lawyer. Have been for a while and I absolutely hate my job. Every time I see someone now who wants to be a lawyer, my first question is - why. The work is so tedious that I feel I am getting stupider by the minute. I would love to maybe use my lawyering skills at a nonprofit or somewhere where i could feel I am making a difference, but, alas, I am stuck in the corporate grind. I wish not everything revolved around money.

    I do not think i am a writer, but I would like to write as a creative outlet, as I am a very creative person inside.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hey Cekrit (and all),

    This question raises a really good point- how many of us would love to write for a living (it's our passion) but struggle to do so because it's a hard industy to crack? I work for a newspaper, so I do write for a living- in the non-fiction sense! And I feel very lucky to do so! I get to write for a living, and I love it.

    You say you write a little on the side already, so I don't know how much of professional writing is new to you, buuuut... My personal experience is that getting into a lot of the career-writing jobs doesn't necesarily require a specific 'writing degree' as such. It's about what you can do, not what it says you can do on paper that matters. Many places I've worked don't even bother to check your diploma and so on- they're more interested in the quality of your writing and if you have fresh ideas to bring to the table or not.

    If you want to break in to a writing field- in something like copywriting for instance- a good portfolio is the best place to start. Getting published online is a good idea; you can either contribute articles to websites for free (by way of building up your portfolio) but there are some pay per article websites and magazines out there. That's how most of the journalists and writers I know got started.

    One good idea might be to start a professional website/blog to display your work on, if you don't have one already? Just check out a "101: How to Start a Blog" guide like this one to get you started, it's very easy and usually free.

    I would also recommend that you get involved in your local literary scene as much as possible- attend spoke word events, literary festivals, poetry readings and so on. Networking is never a bad thing. You can also volunteer to take part in not for profit literary journals, mags and zines, if you know of any that are hiring.

    Then just start emailing everyone you'd like to work for! Contact the editor/webmaster, where possible (usually you can find them on google/linkedin), and have PDF'd copies of your writing to send to them as examples of what you can do.

    It's a bit of slog, but once you get your foot in the door, you'll find there are plenty of opportunities and directions to go in

    Good luck! x

  6. #6
    At one with The Force Keithy's Avatar
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    I'm currently my wife's carer as well as chief cook, chambermaid and cleaner here. I sometimes joke that I was an old washer woman in a previous life.

    A long time ago in a galaxy far far away I wrote address entry programs and worked in database management. I also wrote computer user manuals. Since then I've had boring jobs, but at least I could sit and imagine scenarios and scenes in order to break up the tedium. About two years ago I had an idea for a book which seemed cool but I put it aside because it didn't seem worth writing down. Six months later I picked it up again and here I am.

    I do have a degree in computer science with a bit of economics thrown in, but never found it very useful.

  7. #7
    Dead. Snitchcat's Avatar
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    You might find the following two threads helpful, or an interesting read:

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/show...highlight=work
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/show...highlight=work
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