Okay, so I know by now that if you’re in this ‘business’ of creative writing, it is highly unlikely to be for monetary reasons. Basically, if you’re not in it for the love of writing, you may as well not be in it at all. But, that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities to be had—jobwise—from writing, however contradictory that may sound. And as my Creative Writing MLitt at Glasgow University will finish in August, I just might look for some of these.
For example, I know that some people go on to teach creative writing in the community. This is how I came back to writing, through online community writing classes at writingclasses.co.uk. The personal, one-on-one attention gave me the confidence and skills I needed to keep going. This is something I’ve always valued, and which I believe is very important for a writer’s development. Many writers are introverts and so it may be difficult to take that first step towards sharing your work with others. Having people whom you trust read your work can be a tremendous help.
At the same time, it’s a huge responsibility. What if a writer you’re trying to help blames you for their work not being what they’d like it to be? What if you accidentally damage a new writer’s very fragile ego? I know how important that first round of comments can be, I’ve kept every comment I’ve received from teachers in a special folder on my computer.
Others may be lucky enough to land a job teaching creative writing at a university. In this case, it’s likely that your students will be more experienced, if not in creative writing then at least in an academic setting. That is not to say that they don’t also have fragile egos. In my MLitt programme at Glasgow University we held in depth discussions on all aspects of a piece of writing. It felt incredibly intimidating at first, especially if it was your writing which was up for discussion, but having so many people read and respond to your work could also be mind-bogglingly amazing. And it certainly left a lot for the writer to take away and work with.
I also know writers who have gone on to start their own business as a proof-reader/copyeditor and/or mentor to new writers. I can imagine this would be an enjoyable way to use your skills, especially as it’s likely that this could be done from home, in the comfort of your own living room, and you could pick and choose your clients. However, the downside (I suppose) would be having to advertise and seek out clients, as well as having to balance the independent business side of things. Although, perhaps, if you’re an independent author this is something you’re already used to. And being able to fit in a bit of proofing on the side could temporarily boost your income if done alongside other paid work.
Finally, there are those lucky enough to land a job at a publishing house, magazine or perhaps as a literary agent. These writers are lucky indeed as (one would assume) these jobs come with a regular salary, paid time off and a certain prestige in the literary world. Of course, I know that some of these jobs require a degree in publishing (as opposed to a Creative Writing degree). Lucky for me the MLitt at Glasgow University covers both the publishing side as well as creative writing.
As part of the Editorial and Publishing side of the course we had guest speakers from publishing houses, literary magazines and agents, all of whom were open to questions and very honest about what their careers involved.
However, many writers balance their non-writing day jobs alongside their writing. I understand the benefits of this as it allows time away from the writing world, which lets you return to your writing fresh, and also allows for more security perhaps than a writing related job might offer.
So, what will I do after I finish my Creative Writing MLitt? The short answer is to keep writing, keep blogging and continue trying to keep up with the literary world. However, I’ll also keep my eyes and ears open to any creative writing related jobs that may become available and put myself forward for them as and when they do. I’ll also look for any teaching opportunities that may become available, even if they are on a voluntary basis to start with. In short I will scout out any opportunities which may be lurking and try anything I can in an attempt to find a niche in a writing related field, because I love writing and would love to work in a related field. 🙂
Have I missed any writing related jobs? If so, please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Do you work in a writing related field? If so, what are the benefits of your role? Does teaching writing give you more of an eye when it comes to your own writing? If you work as a mentor do you find the balance you strike between helping other writers and your own work to be beneficial to you creatively? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Until next time!
6 thoughts on “Writing jobs”
Hi Kendra, missed your comment before, I am sorry for this tardy response. Regards tutoring, I think the best way forward is to keep your eyes open for tutor posts …here the council always seem to be looking for people to run creative writing evening classes as part of their adult education programme, there’s also the WEA, the Open University, the Open College of the Arts, and the Lifelong Learning centres belonging to the universities, there are also all kinds of opportunities to run creative writing courses with mental health organisations and outdoor/nature groups. But sometimes we need to make things happen. You could consider starting your own class. The beauty of writing is you can do it anywhere and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to facilitate. The very first classes i ran I did from my living room but you can meet anywhere, as I am sure you know, in cafes, book shops, libraries ( libraries also run writing courses), Whatever you do, good luck and don’t give up! Thanks again for kind words about writingclasses. I like to think we create a safe place for beginner and emerging writers to meet and develop their skills under the expert guidance of tutors like Anne and Elaine and Natalie. Well, I am off to give my opinion on the latest cover design for Killer Shoeshine … one of the more fun jobs about being a writer ;o)
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Hi Marianne, Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions! I will definitely check on those organisations, as well as with my local library and the council. And I will give some thought to starting my own writing class as well. Thanks again, and all the best of luck with the cover design for Killer Shoeshine, and the novel itself. I look forward to reading it. 🙂
Hi Marianne, Thank you for your thoughtful, interesting comments. It’s wonderful that you found teaching work so quickly after doing your Masters. It must have been quite an interesting experience too to begin teaching after having been a student, and after having had many teachers who were poorly prepared and unknowledgeable. I’m glad you found helping beginner writers to be important because your classes helped me a great deal. 🙂 I think this was mostly because the teachers were so helpful and spent time reading and responding to each student’s work (even in my Master’s programme we don’t get that amount of regular feedback from our tutors, so your classes are very good value indeed!). Do you have any advice for those of us who would hope to become teachers/tutors someday, as regards teaching practice and/or getting started in tutoring?
I understand what you mean about striking a balance with your own creativity and writing and other writerly activities, be they teaching or blogging/social media. I also find striking a balance to be both important as well as difficult in regards to social media/blogging. It’s easy to allow it to take more time than it should, and this deflects from time which could be spent writing, as well as creativity.
Thank you for the well wishes too. 🙂 Yes, the Masters I’m doing is online, through Glasgow University. I’ve really enjoyed it and feel I’ve learned a great deal from both my teachers (who are very knowledgeable and working writers themselves) and my fellow students. We are a small group and I think that has helped a lot, as we’ve really bonded over the year and made an effort to help each other along (it’s been a privilege to read so many great new writers work 🙂 ).
I look forward to reading your new novel when it is out, and catching up with your blog when it resumes.
Thanks again for your very helpful comment. 🙂
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Hi Kendra, as always, thoroughly enjoyed reading your post 🙂 Good luck with finding creative writing tutoring work – i think teaching is an honourable way to earn a living and many excellent writers have supported/do support themselves doing so. I was lucky. As soon as I finished my masters I was asked to tutor at the Office of LifeLong Learning here at Edinburgh Uni, and then with the OU. I felt strongly motivated to teach/tutor creative writing because so many of the short writing courses I had been on before doing my masters were truly awful: airy fairy claptrap, run by ill-prepared, badly informed writers, who hadn’t got a clue how to pass on what they knew ( if they even knew anything!). So, more than even getting published, I wanted to help beginner writers get writing, hence writingclasses – and thanks for kindly mention 🙂 Regards your question about striking a balance and creativity … being a good tutor can be very emotionally demanding, which, I think, can deplete creatively. It is, therefore, very important, to strike the right balance between supporting others and focussing on your own creative output. If that makes sense? Finding the balance is everything, this also applies to blogging and using social media. Being disciplined and prioritising helps. (I have let my blog lapse at the moment because i had to stop some things and blogging didn’t make the short list. I’ll be back blogging soon when I have more to say again and the book is out etc :)) Good luck again with the writing and finishing the Masters, is it online, Kendra – apologies if I should know this? Are you please so far with the course?
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Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments 🙂 :-). I agree, it does take a special kind of person to be a successful teacher or mentor, and that person needs to be both inspiring and patient with their students as well as demonstrating what they need to know, both through example and practice. I would feel very privileged if I ever were able to teach or mentor someone else in writing!
I agree absolutely, writing and the skills we gain from it are applicable in so many ways, and helping to inspire other writers is a great way to share in it! And to gain inspiration ourselves.
Thank you for all the assistance and inspiration you’ve given me with my writing, which has made a huge difference :-).
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Great post… I agree write because you love it, is there any other reason that inspires more than because you just love what you’re doing…..Good luck with all your writing/ writing job projects… I think you’d be a great teacher or mentor in writing. Or whatever one you do Hun.. I think it takes a special people to do mentoring because you don’t just need the writing skills, but that thing that inspires someone to believe they can fly. Or write and by the end they will have improved.. 🙂
I always feel blessed I had a mentor that helped me see I could write and improve… I also think that even if you don’t do writing as a job, you can still inspire people and share that writing glow… Show what you’ve learned along the way. I know I’ve been lucky to have a great friend to share the writing with and she does inspire me….. 🙂
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