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Thread: Writing as a career

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    Registered User xtillyx's Avatar
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    Writing as a career

    Having not left school yet (I am in English 6th form), I would absolutely love to branch out into writing as a career. Is it as hard as i hear, and would it be as.. stable.. a career as say admin or something equally as boring?
    "Those who are faithful know only the pleasures of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies."
    Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Very possible. Just keep writing and whatever you do, don't listen to people who tell you that so-and-so program will open up opportunities.

    Become who you are.
    --Pindar
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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    Villainous Homyrrh's Avatar
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    Be dually realistic and opportunistic.
    Plainview: Drainage! Drainage, Eli! Drained dry, you boy! If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and I have a straw and my straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!

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    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Marry somebody rich. (I wish I had!)
    No, I kid, I kid.

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    Tu le connais, lecteur... Kafka's Crow's Avatar
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    Find yourself a decent job like teaching which allows a bit of time off and holidays, then start writing. I will not advise anybody to start off as a full-time writer. Check this link for a realistic picture of the writing scene. I would start off as someone with a steady income and leisure time and wait for success before becoming a full time writer.

    http://www.richardherley.com/FTCebooks.html
    "The farther he goes the more good it does me. I donít want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the sh1t the more I am grateful to him..."
    -- Harold Pinter on Samuel Beckett

  6. #6
    I'd stick to Kafka's Crow advice. Teacher and writer is the perfect combination. And let's face it: unless you get a deal with big time publishers, it's even possible that you won't get a cent from your first work published if you don't make it to second edition (speaking from personal experience here...). If you see writing as your means of survival rather than a hobby, I don't think you'll get much fun doing it. If you write to survive, you might betray a bit of your integrity by publishing more chaff than weath. The ideal is to write some novels while having another job, and if you do get famous, then live off writing; with fame, one can afford to take one's time to write a novel

  7. #7
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtillyx View Post
    Having not left school yet (I am in English 6th form), I would absolutely love to branch out into writing as a career. Is it as hard as i hear, and would it be as.. stable.. a career as say admin or something equally as boring?
    Only one way to find out. Speaking for myself it's a blast.
    If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.
    --Shakespeare

  8. #8
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    You could try to become a copywriter in advertising, which is the job I do. I fell into it sort of by accident a little later in life, but there are courses you can do straight out of school or university and from there the standard route is a placement, then a job. It pays well - generally better than journalism - and is something you can do freelance once you've got a bit of experience, leaving time for your own work. Advertising didn't actually involve a lot of writing for many years, but the internet's changed that. Every big and little company now needs a website and every page of that will have copy on it, which has to be written by a professional. The subject matter obviously isn't always terribly stimulating, but it's varied at least and you can learn a lot of odd little things along the way and, mainly, if you like writing and care about it, you're always honing your abilities. The novelist Faye Weldon was a copywriter in London in the sixties and Germaine Greer puts Weldon's strong style down to this experience.

    You could also consider a career in technical writing. I don't really know what this involves or how you get into it, but I met a woman who does it and she assured me that no prior knowledge, even of technical matters, was required.

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    YES as long as you believe in yourself you can do it.
    unlike me who is a long long way becoz my vocab and grammar sucks

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    xtillyx, it's a hard road to follow if you want to support yourself. As time goes on it's getting harder still. If you're born with the compulsion to write -- to tell stories -- then write you must; otherwise, don't waste your time sitting at a desk when you could be outside, breathing fresh air.

    Writing is a craft as well as a vocation. To learn it, you must read, read, and read some more. Read not just for pleasure but with an apprentice's eye. Why has the author done this? How is the plot (if there is one) constructed? If you were telling this story, how would you go about it?

    Do you like music? A writer is a musician too. Words are music of a special kind. Study the prose of a genius, like Nabokov, to see that prose and poetry are really the same.

    Are you hard-working? If you want to be a good writer you must study grammar and usage. Keep Fowler's Modern English Usage by your bedside. Read it over and over again. If you have the slightest doubt about a word's meaning, look it up before using it.

    Are you vain? Be prepared for some body-blows. Be prepared for repeated rejection, insults, unfair criticism, the assumption that your whole career is an ego-trip.

    Are you long-suffering? Can you accept that you are likely to be famous, if at all, when you are conveniently dead?

    Think about these things very carefully before embarking on a writing career. Writing as a hobby is another thing: it can be absorbing and fun, and even bring in a little cash.

    P.S. Kafka's Crow -- thanks for the mention: my server stats brought me here.

  11. #11
    Thanks for the insight, Richard!

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    My pleasure, kandaurov, though I'm just one voice. If you've gotta write, you've gotta write!

  13. #13
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Quote Originally Posted by kandaurov View Post
    I'd stick to Kafka's Crow advice. Teacher and writer is the perfect combination.
    I beg to differ. Teach and you come home exhausted. The #1 job for writers according to "Writing For Dummies" (I think that's where I saw it) is security guard. The job affords you a great deal of down time to write and think, especially if you work the nightshift. What you won't earn in salary you'll earn in time spent doing what you truly love.

    If you don't truly love to write, however, then I strongly advise you to teach, be a career man. Have many babies and grandchildren. Go to France, Vienna, many times.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-03-2008 at 06:36 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  14. #14
    Jon1jt, nice idea, and it does make sense, but I don't know a single writer who worked as a security guard, you know what I mean? Sure, to be a teacher is very exausting, but intellectually stimulating. And you get nice vacations like the students do and with those you have time to go to France and Vienna and get inspired and what not

    ...yeah, security guard would be good to write... and also to read. I might give that idea a try one day, heh

  15. #15
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Quote Originally Posted by kandaurov View Post
    Jon1jt, nice idea, and it does make sense, but I don't know a single writer who worked as a security guard, you know what I mean?
    Well, no offense to you, perhaps that's because you don't know any real writers. That's not to say they're all doing guard work.

    Quote Originally Posted by kandaurov
    Sure, to be a teacher is very exausting, but intellectually stimulating.
    Writing is supposed to be intellectually stimulating.

    Quote Originally Posted by kandaurov
    And you get nice vacations like the students do and with those you have time to go to France and Vienna and get inspired and what not
    I think the kind of writer you're talking about is called a recreational writer.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

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