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!