Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get Paid to Write?

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Sure, writing is neat and all, but what application does it have in the real world? Ever hear this foolishness from someone before? Well, if you majored in English, History, or pretty much any liberal art in college you probably are all too familiar with this attitude. To all my fellow book enthusiasts out there, I know you need no explanation. But the core of that dogged question still remains, can you survive simply on writing…particularly in this economy?

Yes, yes, and yes. The reason I bring this up is due to the fact that when I talk to younger people I know who are starting off in school or have to choose a concentration in college, they keep asking themselves what major will provide a job with a viable paycheck. I understand the motive here, but I fear that this outlook can create some dangerously backwards thinking. Lots of book-lovers out there may shy away from studying things that really interest them, like English, History, etc. for this very reason. But what I really wanted to do today is to highlight and praise all the avenues out there for people interested in making a living writing. I know a lot of people on this blog and on other sites I follow where I’ve met tons of great people whose primary occupation revolves around writing.

Now I’m not saying you’ll turn into a millionaire, but writing can still pay the bills. I myself work as a Technical Writer, creating documentation for processes and procedures within a larger company. You can work for a corporation doing this or freelance, but either way I know lots of fellow writers making their way in the world by happily putting their writing skills to use.

You can also teach, both publicly and privately. I know some great writers who teach every level of public education, but also writers who teach seminars and train other employees how to apply critical thinking skills in the workplace. Many companies hire such people.

There are so many other occupations that all revolve around writing. Editors, both freelance and for every kind of corporation, from travel publishing houses to newspapers to blue chip companies. Journalism and freelance writing also keeps writers in the black with many online websites and established media groups paying writers to work up new stories for them every week. The list goes on and on: advertising, sales, marketing, law, customer service, etc. All of these branches of the working world contain specialists who actually get paid to write!

I suppose what I’m really trying to do with this blog post today is offer hope. To all those readers and writers out there looking for a day job that won’t suck their souls dry. Something that will enable them to be a not-so-starving artist and afford them the necessary room in their lives to continue nurturing their creative and literary endeavors. I know that both for my pocketbook, but more importantly--for my self-esteem, it helps to know that even while I do love fiction writing more than tech writing, I can still say that I do work as a writer. So don’t give up on your writing, your reading, or your creativity. Pick a career that appeals specifically to you.