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amlptj
10-25-2009, 11:39 AM
Hey just wondering, how many of you write for a living? Newspapers, magazines, published books?
Did any of you go to college and major in english or something related?

Just wondering i'm a chem major but starting to wonder if i should switch to english...

alleycat
10-25-2009, 12:32 PM
Writing is not my full-time occupation. I like to eat. ;-)

There have been successful writers who knew they wanted to be writers as teens, and went to college with that career in mind. On the other hand, there is something to be said for having experiences in other fields, and there have been many who took up writing as a second, or even third career.

For you, if you're starting to wonder if you've chosen the right career, it might be time to sit down and have a honest talk with yourself. How much do you enjoy chemistry? Is it something you're really interested in, or are you just doing it in order to get a good job in the future? Even a job in a field you're interested in can be hard. I work in the architectural and engineering field, something I've always been interested in, but it can certainly be hard sometimes to get up and go into the office. Don't make it hard on yourself by choosing something you're only half interested in, whether writing or chemistry.

Whatever you decide, I would urge you to finish college. Do not fall into the trap of thinking it isn't important for whatever you plan to do ("Writing? Well, you don't really need a degree for that . . . "). It is important, and will offer you choices down the road.

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 12:55 PM
I write full-time, but I wouldn't exactly call it a living yet. My husband makes enough for me to stay home, and hopefully I'll start bringing in some money eventually.

I have a two year college degree, but my major was Political Science. Were I to go back to finish my BA, I'd likely major in History.

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 01:22 PM
I haven't earned any money to date, but yes.

Hell, I've worked jobs that cost me money.

Now that I've been involved in querying and submitting, and dealing with agents and publishers, I'd say it's a job. I wouldn't do it if I was in it solely for the money.

AnonymousWriter
10-25-2009, 03:09 PM
I wish I could write full-time but I'm a high school student.

I'm hopefully going to university next year, and I did consider doing a "Journalism and Creative Writing" course, but decided against it. I don't write for the money and I doubt I'll ever make much money at it anyway. Journalism is a fierce competition for jobs.

I'll stick to something science-related, and write on the side, I think.

CaroGirl
10-25-2009, 04:52 PM
I'm a full-time technical writer for a software company. I have an Honours B.A. in English Literature and a diploma in journalism. But what I want to do is quit high-tech and write novels full-time. Not yet.

kaitie
10-25-2009, 05:01 PM
I do all of my writing at my job. Does that count? :D

kayleamay
10-25-2009, 05:12 PM
I wrote for a newspaper in my early twenties. The pay was so low that I had to wait tables to pay my rent. So, I didn't write for a living, even when I was being paid to write.

icerose
10-25-2009, 05:15 PM
Writing and being a homemaker and mom are my full time jobs. Writing is the only one that pays me money but if I were single I couldn't live on it. 8k in 2 years is simply not enough. I'm hoping to get to the point where I could live off my writing money, but it takes time. I've been writing heavily for 5 years. There's a whole lot of time when writing costs in both time and money. Most writers, especially creative writers, do not live on their sole writing income. Even several best sellers have day jobs.

Devil Ledbetter
10-25-2009, 05:20 PM
I'm a marketing director, so a ton of promotional writing and editing falls to me. I write our ads, our blog, and am the managing editor of a 28-page magazine we publish twice a year. It has a print run of 90,000.

In other words, I'm really lucky!

I majored in journalism with a marketing minor. I'm very happy to not be in the newspaper industry right now.

Rowan
10-25-2009, 05:31 PM
I'm a CT analyst with the fed and do a lot of writing on the job but don't write full time... like Alley Cat said: must pay the mortgage and eat! I'm a one person, 2 dog household so that means work or live on the streets.

I hold a B.S. degree and actually think having a diverse professional background has enhanced my writing (ie., military experience, college, different jobs with the federal gov't --- the people I encounter influence my characters to an extent! :D ). Even with the chem degree you can take a lot of lit classes as electives (I did).

So having said that, I don't think you should switch to English unless you've lost interest in Chemistry as a major. You can always take extra lit classes later in life and above all - read anything and everything. :)

and ETA: Your avatar scares me!

sheadakota
10-25-2009, 05:42 PM
I have a degree in nursing and a BS in another field, I worked full time until about a year ago. I am very fortunate that my husband makes enough money that I only work a few hours a month now- the rest of the time is spent writing- but no, i don't make money at it yet.

kaitie
10-25-2009, 05:59 PM
You know, you can always double. I doubled in English just for fun. Seriously. I enjoyed taking the classes and thought why not? It is somewhat useful, but also a degree that doesn't necessarily have a direct job path after graduation. Try sticking with something that will help you find work, but you can always take the English courses on the side and double major or minor in it.

Kathleen42
10-25-2009, 06:08 PM
I'm a graphic designer. Occasionally I write brochure and website copy along with the occasional press release.

ChaosTitan
10-25-2009, 06:36 PM
I consider writing my full-time job, but I do keep a part-time retail job for extra money. ;) I haven't quite reached the stage where I can afford to quit the retail job completely (plus it gets me out of the house and around people). Maybe next year, publishing gods willing.

Satori1977
10-25-2009, 08:12 PM
I wish. I thought about majoring in English in college, but knew how hard it would be to find a job (unless you want to be a teacher). I have a two year degree in veterinary technology and work at an animal hospital. Love my work, but it is physically (and sometimes emotionally) demanding, and the pay is crap. I also have two kids and two dogs, so I need money from somewhere. My husband makes decent money, and I freelance for some extra cash. It would be nice to sell some fiction though, and get paid for it.

Smish
10-25-2009, 08:54 PM
You know, you can always double. I doubled in English just for fun. Seriously.

I minored in English because it was fun. You get credit hours for reading? Awesome! :D

Shadow_Ferret
10-25-2009, 08:56 PM
Yes, it's my job. Unfortunately, I'm unemployed.

sydney
10-25-2009, 09:32 PM
So glad you asked this! I'm undecided right now, which SUCKS lol I have NO IDEA what the hell I want to do... I just don't want to be poor, ya know?

I thought about majoring in Chemistry too--I kind of wanted to do the whole anesthesiologist bout.

Anyway, obviously continue college! And changing would really depend on whether you really love the subject, I'd say.

EFCollins
10-25-2009, 09:34 PM
Writing and being a homemaker and mom are my full time jobs.

This. But just to clarify, I am searching for a pay the bills job because writing doesn't pay much at the moment. I didn't go to college... didn't even finish high school, actually, so not much help there. But, it's something I wish I had done.

ad_lucem
10-25-2009, 09:43 PM
I've written some things for a little cash here and there off of freelance websites (no bylines or even interesting subject matter, just a PITA really), but mainly I write for fun.

I don't plan to make any money from writing or art of any sort. If I do make anything close to a "living" or get "noticed" I'd probably be buried the next day from the shock.

Right now I'm unexpectedly expecting my fourth child with my husband, and completely reassessing my life goals (or rather I'm retooling them to fit the new set of circumstances). I graduate with my BS in psychology in December, or I will have finished all of that psychology BS in December--either way of looking at it is correct.

I plan to go to graduate school at some point in the next two years, barring some catastrophe, but it won't be in English.

I'd love to have a MFA or go into the arts, but like others have said, I like to eat and we've hovered close to broke for a decade. No way am I going to continue that trend if I don't have to...suffer for the art? No f-ing way. :) I'd rather have a positive bank balance.

bettielee
10-25-2009, 09:55 PM
I am cube farm inmate. Writing is the only thing that gets me up to go to that aweful farking job... where I sell plumbing parts.

ad_lucem
10-25-2009, 10:07 PM
Writing is not my full-time occupation. I like to eat. ;-)

There have been successful writers who knew they wanted to be writers as teens, and went to college with that career in mind. On the other hand, there is something to be said for having experiences in other fields, and there have been many who took up writing as a second, or even third career.

For you, if you're starting to wonder if you've chosen the right career, it might be time to sit down and have a honest talk with yourself. How much do you enjoy chemistry? Is it something you're really interested in, or are you just doing it in order to get a good job in the future? Even a job in a field you're interested in can be hard. I work in the architectural and engineering field, something I've always been interested in, but it can certainly be hard sometimes to get up and go into the office. Don't make it hard on yourself by choosing something you're only half interested in, whether writing or chemistry.

Whatever you decide, I would urge you to finish college. Do not fall into the trap of thinking it isn't important for whatever you plan to do ("Writing? Well, you don't really need a degree for that . . . "). It is important, and will offer you choices down the road.

Agreed. Life is definitely too short to do what you don't want to do, and there are plenty of occupations that put food on the table without turning you into a mere wage-slave.

The good thing about an undergraduate degree is that you can alter course later in graduate work. I hate psychology, so I'm not planning on continuing in that after my BS is finished. My middle son's current teacher was an MBA who went back for a teaching degree, and my eldest's teacher was also in a completely different industry and country up until a couple of years ago.

Oh, and this also reminds me of my favorite things Kurt Vonnegut ever said. Unfortunately, I can't find the exact quote and my brain is not working the way I want it to this morning...but... the general idea was to do SOMETHING, anything before trying to be a writer.

Have a job, travel, parent, volunteer, study, become a human lab rat, whatever, but have some experiences and find something to say.

I think that's good advice.

Just my two bits, added to alleycat's already awesome tips. Definitely get the undergrad in WHATEVER (remembering that some of the lower level coursework is common to everyone and that you CAN change majors if you need to).

Good luck :)

amlptj
10-27-2009, 10:35 PM
yeah i always wanted to be a forensic scientist and i picked my college because it was one of the best in the country for that but its a masters program, and to get into the program you have to major in either chem or bio. I chose chem because i have a higher chance of getting in the program.... but now i'm wondering if i should change all that and major in english or something because well.... ITS HARD!!! Thanks for the advice guys i think i'm going to stick to chem...

ad_lucem
10-27-2009, 11:09 PM
yeah i always wanted to be a forensic scientist and i picked my college because it was one of the best in the country for that but its a masters program, and to get into the program you have to major in either chem or bio. I chose chem because i have a higher chance of getting in the program.... but now i'm wondering if i should change all that and major in english or something because well.... ITS HARD!!! Thanks for the advice guys i think i'm going to stick to chem...

They won't accept to the Master's program with good GPA/MCAT/GRE and a few course deficiencies? Wow, tough crowd.

Freelancer
10-27-2009, 11:25 PM
Yup, writing is my primary job and graphic artist is my second partial time job (I used to make sketches, designs, concepts, sometimes even marketing advertisements or campaigns when someone hires me.). But if someone is asking me to direct something, to draw storyboards or make few other things... so something that are in my 12 pages long CV and have at least 1 official credit from it (Sound Editor, Computer Game Design, etc, etc...), I'm also used to accept tasks in those area. Well, I'm a freelancer after all. I love to make jobs parallel with each other if they're not bothering me to make the primary one. I love the challenge and I'm still soooooo young! :)