1. Brigstock
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    Brigstock New Member

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    Help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brigstock, Jul 14, 2010.

    I'm looking for some advice. I live in the UK and have graduated from a decent University with a 2:1 in Literature and Modern History. I may become a teacher or social worker, I don't know. Whatever I do I have a compulsion to write (not fiction though). I have no ambition to become a full time writer, but I would like to write in my spare time. Can you be a part timefreelance writer? A part time freelance journalist? What should someone like me write about? Who could I write for? I love the world of ideas: philosophy, literature, history (any period), psychoanalysis etc. Above all I love language.

    Intellectually I'm pretty average, though I was often told I write well. Of course, what I'd really like to do is spend a lifetime writing articles and books on whatever took my fancy (who on here wouldn't?:rolleyes:), especially on history. Why do people take pleasure in the thought of you being disappointed and unfulfilled (if one more idiot says "welcome to the real world"...)? I know you have to earn a living and I don't even want to be a professional writer. I just crave a creative outlet. I tried working on my local newspaper and hated it (stupid stories, ignorant, over-ambitious journalists with no interest in writing as a craft).

    The life of academics puzzles me. Outside of lecturing what does an academic do? How does a lecturer in Medieval History or literature earn his pay? Do they write for magazines? for journals? Can anyone have a go at writing for such journals?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You can be whatever makes you happy. I've been sooo many things that I can't remember them all.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You can try submitting articles to magazines and see how that goes. Being a freelance write can be a great way to make some extra money, although it probably won't be enough to support yourself.

    Professors/lecturers get paid more than enough money to support themselves. They write for magazines/journals mainly because they are interested in the subject and/or are required to publish X amount of articles per year by their university.

    There is also a distinction between journals and magazines. All of the articles in journals I have read are written by people with academic affiliations. This is mostly because journal articles are written for other knowledgeable people in that field. They may contain lingo that an ordinary person would not know. Therefore, it would be very hard for an ordinary person to publish something in a journal. Also, some journals require the authors to pay to get published. For professors this isn't a problem since their funding takes care of that.

    Magazine articles, on the other hand, are more geared toward the general reader. This is the route to take for a freelance writer, although keep in mind that not all magazines can afford to pay in cash.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...of course you can!... that's what the 'freelance' label guarantees one... i was one myself...

    ...sure... they're called 'stringers' in the us and they write the occasional news item/article for local to major newspapers...

    ...anything you know about, or people/events in your area, etc.... you could do profile pieces on people or businesses... reviews of whatever... news articles on local politics, etc....

    ...any magazine or newspaper you can convince to take on your writings...
     
  5. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Part time freelance is almost an oxymoron. You're also a fair bit away of swinging a lecture on medieval history though. I had a brilliant British literature professor who taught his classes stone drunk, but gave lectures on things like the hierarchy of angels, and was a great student of Ptolemy. I mention him because you mention becoming a teacher, but you don't so confident about yourself. Having not met you or known you beyond the 265 words + 1 smiley you've posted I don't think you're up to it. What do you say to that?

    Kidding of course. Newspapers are writing factories. You follow the whatever style guide/manual you use, if you use one, and you throw out stuff quick and dirty. I tried it, I like it so-so. Rare moments give you a chance to be creative.

    So, you're faced with the dilemma of writing what you want, for other people. The things you write have to be interesting. Got a job? Why not spend a paycheck of photographing and writing about the Gulf oil spill? Or wait, I forget that you live in the U.K. Um. The Polish?

    The point is you have to go where the news goes or draw your readers in some how, just like you'll have to draw your students in eventually. If you can't think of any one idea, maybe you have too many?

    Though, if you want specifics, the big book of stuff is called Writers Market, which is for novels, short stories, poems, etc. There are other versions which cover specific topics like journalism and magazine publishing. I'd recommend signing up for their site, since it's cheap and pretty useful. It's a basic list of every print publisher in existence.
     
  6. Brigstock
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    Brigstock New Member

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    Thanks for your advice everyone.;)

    I doubt I'll go into teaching actually. I am looking into becoming a social worker. Maybe I could write about my experiences? I guess most aspiring writers want to write fiction, short stories, novels, plays, poetry etc, or to write about politics. Well, the machinary of government holds no interest for me and, while I love fiction, I'm no good at it. I love the sorts of essays people like Bertrand Russell and Aldous Huxley wrote (my favourite book of all time is Huxley's Devil's Of Loudon- a true account of the execution of a French priest in 17th century France). I admire them because they were true polymaths who simply dashed off wonderful essays on whatever took their fancy: 'Happiness', atomic war...Stephen J Gould was another such writer.


    Perhaps I should do some postgraduate work? Then again, I remember a teacher at school who had a Phd in history! Kinda depressing really. I mean you go through all that and end up teaching bored 17 year olds. He seemed a pretty miserable guy who gave the impression of being entirely unfulfilled.
     
  7. maureencooke
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    maureencooke New Member

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    Ahhh, I'm in the U.S., but your post speaks to me.
    I've been a part-time freelancer for years - meaning I haven't made enough money at it to support myself. :D
    I've also been an instructor at the community colleges here in the states, both as an adjunct (meaning no possibility of tenure) and as one on tenure track.
    And whoever posted about the journals is right - they are designed for professionals in the field and to someone outside the field, they'd be pretty darn dull.
    Nice thing about teaching at the college level is the autonomy. Great thing about teaching at the university level is not only the autonomy but also the hours. Perfect hours for a writer.
    And the wonderful thing about being a social worker is the satisfaction you'll get from knowing you're helping.
    Good luck.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how so?... or did you mean to say it's a 'redundancy'?
     
  9. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Probably.
     

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