That very question has been the voice between my ears throughout my University and post-University months. I could never really give anyone a straight enough answer; most of the time, I’d just shrug and then make a joke about being a starving poet on the streets of Paris (my last stab at romance) with my dog ‘Clover’ (named appropriately).
In all seriousness, I’ve never really found a positive answer. I’ve Googled the question countless times (pathetic, I know) but I’m still not any wiser. I’ve heard vague talk from people making the points “creative writing can’t really be taught” and “a degree won’t really increase a writer’s desires to become published.” Fair enough, I thought, but I already knew that. The primary reason I went to University in the first place was to “find myself”, and generally just get away from all the commotion going on back home. Maybe I should have thought about the job prospects of a writing degree a little more, but no point dwelling on that now. By then, I had developed a passion for writing and was just going with my instincts.
So. I’ve recently graduated, and now I’m thinking “damn, what’s next?!” I emailed the careers centre and came up with this list of possible jobs:
• Newspaper journalist
• Editorial assistant
• Publishing for media, and performing arts
• Screen and radio writing
• Video game content writer
• Freelance writer with extra job to fund
• Proof reader
• PR officer
• Press sub editor
I was also given this piece of advice:
“Many English students write for student newspapers and magazines, get involved with student radio or film societies or volunteer in the community or local schools. For you as an English student doing a non-vocational course, the skills you develop outside your study are critical in developing a rounded CV. The combination of evidence of skills gained from work experience and extracurricular activities, as well as through your study, can help you in CV writing and job applications — and boost your employability,” they say.
During my studies, I had work experience as a football writer, so I thought that would shift my CV up the employer’s pile a little. As yet though, I haven’t been able to find a job in the Yorkshire area that relates to Creative Writing.
I’m currently freelancing while working a “proper job” to keep a roof over my head — which seems to be the common thing with most writers and Creative Writing graduates I’ve spoken to.
So yeah, at this point in time, I’m not really in the position to give advice to fellow writers on the subject of employment — I’m just looking to get a discussion going. I’m still learning, like many others, and would appreciate any words of encouragement.
Oh, and a final word: I don’t regret my choice of degree by any means, and I still have a strong passion for writing despite the risky nature that comes with wanting to be a writer. As an Individual, I feel my experience through University has developed my technique and belief in my abilities, particularly seen as though all students were encouraged to share their work with a variety of audience.
On a personal level, this was definitely not a bad thing.