1. roguishwriter
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    roguishwriter New Member

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    I can and want to work with words. Any advice?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by roguishwriter, Apr 19, 2010.

    Hello all,

    I'm a 24 year old university student enrolled in the business college. I'm going to be graduating soon. The particular degree I chose to pursue for money and security turned out to be something I absolutely dread, and therefore I don't see myself really committing to it in the future--at least not to the extent that I'll be successful and happy.

    What I wanted to do going into university was major in English Creative Writing, because I had such a talent for writing in High School and I was always teeming with ideas, opinions, characters, stories, and the like. And I'm still like this, which has translated into me recently writing screenplays and short stories. I'm writing a spec script for a TV show and am trying to hone my short story writing so I can jump into a novella or novel, for which I have some promising ideas lined up.

    I wrote a humorous opinion piece for my school newspaper and submitted it as an outside submission and it got put on the front page. So I was happy about that.

    My creative spirit just won't be silenced. And my writing hand can't be stopped. So I need to find out how I can immerse myself in a creative/writing-oriented workplace. I can write. My peers say I can write well naturally, so I want to put my pen to work.

    How can I really start writing for money? I hear about these freelance writing on the internet and blogging, but I'm just not sure. I imagine an office with staff writers and proofreaders. This is where I want to be. How can I get involved? I have a lot of content to offer. I can write practically anything, so long as I have some direction and structure and an air of legitimacy that goes with it.

    I'm a budding wordsmith with a sense of humor and can employ my insight to great effect, but I need a place to start. I need a career that complements my entrepreneurial writing endeavors (screenplays, novels, etc.)

    I live in Los Angeles, so I know there is written content needed here. If anyone knows how to start, what prompts to use as examples, etc. I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks for your time, people. :D
     
  2. nettkkr
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    nettkkr Member

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    Well, I think you're headed in the right direction with the enthusiasm. But what I think you need is to sit down with maybe a newspaper in the area, nothing large like the LA Times, but something small. Maybe even a tabloid paper to get started. Just a thought, I know most writers would rather skip the tabloids but, it could be a place to start.

    Another avenue is just to write. Write a small story or two and submit them to periodicals or magazines and see if someone bites. It's a long road that most are unwilling to take. I salute you with your attitude. But it is one step at a time. If you finish your degree, at least you have one. Most newspaper and editorials want at least that slip of paper saying, "Ha, I finished school." Trust me, I know. But, continue writing. Take that pen to paper and draft up a few short stories or a novel and see where it takes you. You never know until you try!
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Start small and work your way up. Submit articles, stories, etc. to magazines. Also look for internships for newspapers and/or magazines. That will really make a different if you want to pursue a career as a staff writer or regular contributor.
     
  4. Fallen
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    Along the usual submitting paths as a writer, I volunteer for a publishing company too. It keeps me on my toes but also in the thick of what I love doing: writing. It has the potential to lead to paid work, so, I guess I'm saying turn your talents in every direction (don't just focus on being a successful author, consider combining all writing options).
     
  5. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    There are loads of avenues to pursue. To get into journalism you will need to take a short course to learn the basics. Most newspapers will give you some work experience but there is a lot of competition. They are unlikely to offer you paid employment without a nationally recognised qualification, usually a certificate in journalism or something equivalent. Local newspapers will recommend a course if you contact them.

    Other than that, there is the editing and publishing industries, again usually very competitive and requiring qualifications, you may have to sit an exam as part of the interview process too. Not impossible to get into though, particularly if you approach a small firm for work experience first then make a good impression. They all network so you can get recommended to other companies.

    I got into copywriting through a graduate training programme at an advertising agency after my degree. They are usually keen to take on graduates and pay you a pittance at first. If you can network and sell you will do fine. It is pretty corporate and clients are usually a pain in the backside but it's creative and lots of scope for freelance once you have done it for a few years. Mine has led to lots of interesting stuff like music, art reviews, travel writing, etc.

    Other than that, keep writing and sending stuff to magazines & publishers. Find a publication that suits your style and audience, try to make a contact there and just don't give up. It is easy to become cynical but there are loads of writing jobs out there if you are as dedicated as you sound.

    Definitely good to have a degree to fall back on, business degree will never do you any harm. Writing is a business after all...

    If you become an expert or authority in any given area it gives you potential to write about that. People will pay for articles provided you can prove you know what you are talking about.

    As in any competitive industry, work your ass off, work harder than everyone else you can see and it will pay off. Good luck, stay positive and be true to who you are. :)
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Y'know, it's not negativism if it's true, so don't be too hard on mommamaia. She knows whereof she speaks! It may be cold and it may be hard to take, but it is also quite true that, less than 20 percent of writers ever make any kind of money at it. And of those, only a tiny fraction are able to truly make a living at it. That doesn't mean you shouild give up on it. It is just a caveat to prepare a novice writer for what lies ahead. After all, J.K.Rowling did absolutely everything wrong in submitting her Harry Potter stories. She was, in fact, by popular accounts, moments away from having her ms stuffed into an envelope and shipped back to her when a clerk or somebody started reading it and took it back to her boss saying, "This is good. You need to take another look at this."

    And, besides, for all of the eighty percent who don't make it, there is another twenty percent that do! What do they say on the lottery commercials - "Somebody's gonna win ..."?

    There are a lot of avenues to consider when pursuing a career in writing. Copywriting for commercial or instructional purposes is one extreme and novel fiction writing is the other. In-between you'll find magazine articles, freelance essays and newspaper articles, advertising copy, greeting cards, short story anthologies, full-time journalism (which, unless you have an exhibited background as a writer will probably require at least an Associates degree in journalism). Public relations is also a great place to pursue a career as a creative writer but still have the security and benefits of a reasonably secure paycheck.

    There are many roads from which to choose and the availability or opportunities for success depend, not merely on your gifts and talent as a writer but your location (if you choose to work locally) and just how much time, energy, and work you wish to invest.

    In other words: keep an eye on your desires but don't quit your day job ... yet!
     

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