1. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Dayjobs

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by sanco, Apr 17, 2013.

    So, I'm graduating soon. As an unpublished writer with no degree, I'd probably be working menial dayjob, hoping that someone takes me on board. I was wondering if any of the older folks here were in a similar position at my age and if they had some advice. :)
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been there and I see it all the time, especially these days. What kind of advice are you looking for? I know several writers, especially some with MFAs who are in this exact position. They focus on their writing as best as they can, not getting their self-image wrapped up with their job, and do what they can to interact with other writers in real life.

    If you're graduating, how is it that you'll have no degree? Where do you live?
     
  3. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Hey chicagoliz (irrelevant side note: I just realised your name was Chicago Liz. I'm not even dyslexic but it didn't immediately click for me.),
    I guess I just don't know how to start a career in writing other than: you write a book, you try to get it published. Maybe there are different avenues? Maybe my dayjob is related to what I wanna do in some way?

    I graduate from film school with an Advanced Diploma.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not easy to establish a career as a writer, especially of novels, so you just have to keep at it. And of course, in the meantime, you do need to come up with a way to make money. Some people are able to scrape together a living as freelance writers, (or if they have the interest and the luck, as reporters at small media outlets), or in teaching writing somewhere (although for that you need some sort of related degree).

    Doing an unrelated job can give you some good story ideas, though.
     
  5. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I guess so. Would you recommend finding an agent, or is that something I should worry about after I actually complete something.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    an agent won't help you get a writing job... agents represent/sell the work, not the writer, as opposed to what they would do for an actor... so if you have nothing marketable to offer, they have nothing to sell...

    you're best off getting a job that will give you lots of time to write... such as security on a night shift... i any case, you need to be able to support yourself for the years it can take to establish a writing career...

    since you've gone to film school, why don't you try for a job in the tv or film industry?... do you want to be a screenwriter, or novelist?... what film school are you graduating/graduated from?... and what's your 'advanced degree'?... a master's?... ph.d.?
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maia's right -- you would try to get an agent after you've completed your book. If someone approaches you and asks for money, claiming either that they are a literary agent, or that they can get you work as a writer, stay away from him or her.

    I'm still not entirely clear on your situation, or the particular type of advice you'd like. Did you not enjoy film school? Is there a reason you don't want to work in something related to film?
     
  8. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    While I did enjoy film school and wouldn't mind a small crew role in the industry, I've lost any passion to make films of my own. The only thing that interests me at the moment is writing. I'd like to be a novelist, but if I can sell a script I'd be happy.

    I'm currently at the International Film School Sydney here in Sydney, Australia, studying for an Advanced Diploma in Screen and Media (not a degree).

    Are there any jobs related to writing that a writer can do to make money, while doing what they wanna do on the side?

    And Liz, I wasn't looking for any specific advice. I guess I'm just at that stage of my life where the future looks gloomy in the shadow of a huge pile of student debt and I'm just lost, without direction.
     
  9. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This sounds oh-so familiar.
    My advice: try to find work that'll allow you to write as much as possible, maybe even something that'll help with your craft. As maia pointed out, find some job that leaves you with plenty of time to write. Or some job that inspires you to write (e.g. if you wanna write about a bartender, work as one). Third option: continue your studies in a field that will specifically help you with writing (linguistics, literature, translation...). The important thing is to keep on writing and honing your craft. Submit your works to magazines or webzines, work on a full-length novel, then pitch it to an agent or a publisher, but you'll probably have to work on the side too if you aren't blessed with crazy-rich parents. It's not so bad. Experience enriches writing.
     
  10. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice, KaTrian. I guess I just need to get out there and experience life.
     
  11. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    You could also look for writing-related jobs, like a journalist or (as in my case) technical writer. But of course you'd need some other skills apart from writing for that. And there's another downside to it, if you want to be a novelist: a day's work of less exciting writing-related activities won't make you too eager to sit down and work on your novel in the evening.
     
  12. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    ^ That is a good point. Since I write a lot for my course work at school, I tend to want to do other things in my spare time. I guess working in something completely unrelated would keep things interesting.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been there, too (and every once in a while I go there again). Sometimes it's hard to figure out exactly what you want, and there are many folks who change their minds quite frequently on this issue.

    I'm not familiar with your particular degree, and I'm not particularly knowledgable about the film industry, either, so I don't have any sense of the opportunities available for you insofar as that particular aspect of life. But you've received some good advice -- you could look for a job related to writing. Many novelists need another job in order to make a living, and often they'll do it in an area where they can write -- teaching writing, journalist, technical writer. I don't know if you have any background that would qualify you for those jobs, or what the job market in those areas is like in Sydney.

    Or you could try to get a job that has nothing to do with writing, that allows you free time to write what you want. I've heard of people who, for example, work as receptionists at some sort of business, where the really just need a body to sit out front in the office and greet people who come in for meetings or appointments, and just have to look busy, but don't have much "real" work to do. So they're able to sit at a computer and work on their novel for most of the day. Of course, these jobs are not quite the easiest to find, so most likely you'd find something in between -- or perhaps a job that you simply don't have to think about once you get home.
     
  14. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've found that my job as a freelance translator leaves me plenty of time to write, and the job itself supports my writing career (I have to be really careful with grammar, sentence structures, word choices and their connotations etc) so that definitely helps much more than my previous day jobs. I'm 1-2 years from graduating with a master's in English philology so my studies, job, and writing career (or the beginning of...) compliment one another. As a freelancer, I work from home, choose when I work, how many hours a day, when I take my breaks, how long they are etc. etc. so that definitely helps too: if I get some idea, I can stop working and jot down the things for my WIP, for instance.

    If you're bilingual or know another language about as well as your mother tongue, translation is one job option. Granted, the pay isn't much (since I'm also in the very beginning of my career as a translator), but it'll pay the bills, especially if you work for a translation company that sends a steady stream of work your way. The salary will also get better over time (when I can move on from second translations to firsts, my pay will almost double).

    Whatever you choose to do, good luck.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    tt...
    i occasionally need to refer a mentee or client to a translator, so if you'd be so kind as to email me, i'd like to discuss your services with you... can't do so here, so email is necessary, since i really can't stand those pesky pms...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  16. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I work as a grant writer for a local non profit. It lets me keep my writing/editorial skills sharp while paying the bills and helping with really great causes (I currently secure funding for an organization that provides courtroom advocates to abused/neglected children.) Lots of room to grow, a very flexible schedule, and M-F 9-5.
     

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