Tuesday, June 2, 2015

#WritersLife: Paid Internships and Why They are Awesome

#WritersLife - Amber the Blonde Writer

#WritersLife. Let's talk writing in real life.

I recently made some changes and moved 600 miles from my alma mater back to my hometown. It was bittersweet, but very much necessary. Within two days of being back, I had an interview and a job offer. Look at me, being all productive! Seriously though, I'm going to talk about paid internships (which this job is) and give a few reasons why more student writers need to look into them.

Stuff Costs Money

I'm going to start with the obvious. My dream is to be a published novelist. If I quit my internships and focus 100% on that, could I accomplish my dream in a year? Possibly. It might also take me four years to find an agent. What am I going to do in those four years without a job? I will be a homeless person, which wouldn't be terrible if I lived next to a restaurant's dumpster. A good one, like Taco Bueno. 

You need money to live in this world unfortunately, so rather than working in retail or food with a job that does not relate to your career, degree, or both, why not look for a job doing remotely what you're skilled at? Which brings me to reason two...

Writing is Writing

I spoke about the need to work in writing in any genre and field in a previous post here. However, upon discussion with Eric, another peer, and the most amazing professor in the world, I realized that I wanted a little more out of my education. They taught us how to write and revise, but none of these instructors said anything about working. 

My professor did say that copy writing and blogs are not part of Creative Writing, and she's correct because the program focused on novels and poetry. What about publishing internships? Editing companies? Teaching writing of any kind? And if not teaching these outright, how about offering resources where we could find this information so we don't mooch off our parents?

I think a lot of writing, and possibly English/Literature, majors graduate and land education jobs (nothing wrong with those, of course. I was a tutor for a year) or positions not related to their field because instructors don't teach life outside of school. I'm not saying we need a class dedicated to this, but some heads up would be great. I didn't talk to anyone until February 2014 about writing jobs that don't involve novels, and I graduated three months later. 

Writing is writing folks. I would rather be writing copy, blog posts, or articles on heart health, which is what my new editorial internship with AHA consists of, than folding clothes I can't afford at a store in the mall. I'm not a high schooler. I need a big girl job, and these paid internships and advertisement jobs will pay me what a college graduate should be getting paid while still letting me put words on paper. 

Relevant Experience

There are plenty of jobs out there; what you need is relevant experience. You need to write your query letter? It'll do good to say you interned/worked with an agency or publishing company to show how seriously you studied not just writing but the industry. If you have connections, you're already doing 1,000 times better than the person who hides away in their room writing and not communicating. If not experience or connections, how about finding a job you really love that involves your field? I want to be a novelist, but literary agent is the next best thing. To do that, I need experience.

I think more student writers should look into alternate paths to follow while still traveling down the author/poet road. How many ancient and modern-day authors fought tooth and nail to be where they are now? Odds are, it won't happen overnight. Be prepared, and be happy in the job you'll have until then.

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