Writer’s Advice – mixed bag February 2014

There is a lot of advice out there for amateurs and for those aspiring to be professionals. It does seem to be true that when the successful are polled although they did all have to write well and make the right connections the ways that people connected the dots, so to speak, is not the same. It seems the individuality does have a real influence on the best methods for how someone can find their own greatest success.

For those really just looking for a steady job there are ways to do that as a writer but the whole approach and ambiance may be different from that of ‘the writer as artist’ or ‘big, huge star author’. The most published writers are often the journalists, advertising writers. The other mos published do so as part of their daily jobs that may make some writers uneasy. As previously mentioned: grant proposal writers and people working corporate documentation.

Other prestigious positions as writers, are the academic realm and in the arts.

Nonfiction books often sell more easily than fiction although passionate readers of fiction may find that hard to believe.

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Types of writers continued

Last week one post was about types of writers and some of the types of professional ones.  Like most industries, it all seems the same at first, but the more you learn about it, the less like that it stays. 

Advertising: there are writers who work for advertising agencies.  Some agencies do work with freelancers, others do not.  For people who do not only write, this can be a good match.  You have to like people, creativity and the true nature of advertising.  If helping people is everything to you – this may rapidly decay into mere profiteering.  If you just like to get paid and deal with creative people, you might really like this industry.

Documentation: I didn’t even know about this until I was over 40 years old.  These are corporate positions.  If you already work in a large company with numerous departments – ask around, and you just might find that you can get a spot in the documentation department. 

Writers in documentation departments are less likely to have journalism or communications degrees than the people working in TV, newspaper staff, magazine staff and ad. agencies.  They are more likely to have a technical skill such as engineer and want to write.

Grant proposal writers:  These people may or may not admit that they are even writers depending on how they got there and how they really feel about it.  They do write, but normally they make their money writing proposals for an organization to get grants.  There are a few specialist freelancers who write grant proposals.  This is another one of those weird little jobs that one might not have thought of when one think “writers”.

There are more than just these.  Hope this helps those wondering what “writers” means in terms of job titles.

Writer’s advice: do you want to earn a living? Dec. 2013

OK, today is another ‘advice’ day.  For writers: there are amateurs and there are professionals.  There are only some people who are able to transition from doing something for fun into being really effective professionals and still like their job.  In 2011 or so, I did a little casual online research about writers because I got so fed up with seeing journalists earning a living and novelists claiming that it is impossible to earn a living by writing and reading articles about rich novelists.  Obviously, something isn’t true and something else is. 

There are channels of writing which seem to be mainly ‘professional only’ writers.  These people very often majored in journalism or communications and worked exclusively as professional writers after completing their educations.  Others went into advertising.  There are numerous other writers who got jobs in the industry despite having studied something else because they needed jobs.  They could stand it; so they stuck with it.  There are people in publishing who ended up being regularly paid to be editors although that was not what they initially had in mind. 

There are journalists who still hide and cry in bathrooms because they wanted to be short story writers or novelists but gave that all up so they could feed their families writing nonfiction in a corporate atmosphere.  Most of them are grateful to be earning a living although this has not turned out the way they had hoped when they were very young and idealistic.  Now and then, one of those people, who has been earning a living writing for many years will finally have a break through with a publishing company that accepts one of their books.  Some of those do go on to become famous authors rather than only respectable article writers.  They cry tears of joy more than sorrow if that happens. 

There are other types of success stories in the industry: the truth is not just that everyone who tries fails nor that everyone who goes for it wins.  There are hordes of writers who manage to get something published here and there, and get paid sometimes.  Most of those people always earn their living doing something else.  A lot of that type of success can be judged as failure and as success.  If we look at it as if it were a test in school when A is best and C is passing but not great (this is not the case with telc, by the way, in telc C means fluent in a language, A is only a beginner and B is conversational/intermediate)…then a lot of writers do C & B work, which often means it doesn’t yield a middle class income but they get some credits, some experience, real pay and all of that but nothing like the rich people who do the equivalent of somehow ‘acing the whole thing’ and ending up not just rich but famous and beloved for having produced really wonderful, powerful, excellent stories. 

I think that’s enough for today.