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Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Get a Job in the Writing World

How do you get a job in the writing world? Either working for best-selling authors like yourself, or having your book published or anything relative to the writing career path? (Name withheld)

The writing world can be so versatile that it really depends on your goals. I hate to say this, but networking can be a big help. I got my job, in part, because I knew my boss’s wife and kids. Today, you don’t even have to network in person. You can meet people in the writing field online. Look for internship opportunities. I did three internships in college and not only did they look good on a resume, they gave me skills I would later use in my job today. If you can afford it, don’t be afraid of doing cheap labor—it can lead to better jobs later.

While you don't need an English degree for most writing jobs, pursuing one will not only make you a better writer and a more respected professional, but can open doors to career-related opportunities and experiences. If you do pursue a degree, it's helpful that you have a career plan in mind. Because an English degree can be so versatile, a lot of people graduate and then don't know what to do with it.

So along with the versatile thing, if you want a job in the writing world, try thinking outside the box. Most people don’t realize how many different kinds of writing jobs there are. Last year, I was looking up some of the biggest MMORPG gaming sites to see which were hiring writers. My brother and I made a list of them for an author who was interested in doing a novelization for one of their games.

My boss frequently gets hired to write and brainstorm for video games and sometimes RPG tabletop games. Sometimes he just writes the dialogue for the characters. In fact, this week, he's having me help write dialogue for a game myself. It'll be my first time. It's not anything big, just an educational game.

He’s also been hired to work on products for franchises like Star Wars and the Mummy. He wrote novels for both properties, and now one of the planets he brainstormed is Star Wars canon, so you can look for work in universes that already exist. He also worked in Hollywood for a while fixing movie scripts that had problems and rewriting them so they would appeal to larger audiences.

Then there is ghost writing, which is when someone else has a great story idea and they hire you to write it for them, because they aren’t writers. And you know those directions you get when you buy a new toy for the kids? Someone had to write those. There are technical writing jobs and teaching writing jobs, and journalism writing jobs.

I once looked into getting a job at a semi-small publishing house that was going to teach me how books were made. So you can look into publishing houses. You can look for editing jobs or proofreading jobs or sometimes even beta-reading jobs. With the self-publishing market, sometimes you can start your own business. I know of a guy, Joshua Essoe, who is a professional editor, and people who are self-publishing, go to him to get their work edited first. If you are good with photoshop and graphic design, you can start a business making beautiful covers for writers who are self-publishing, like stephscoverdesign.com does.

So in actuality, there are a lot of jobs relating to the writing world. Sometimes they may be hard to find and sometimes it may be heard to find advice about breaking into them because there are so many types and so much variety, but that's one reason why networking can be so useful.

I have a little motto I try to keep in mind: If you want something bad enough, you'll get it.

What I mean is that if you want to be a writer (or anything for that matter) bad enough, you’ll be one, because you are willing to do whatever it takes to get there. You’re willing to put in the hours, the work, the sweat, the tears, the reading, the researching, the seeking; you’re willing to put up with the frustrating days, the writer’s block, the down-right rude criticism, the stigmas; you’re willing to do the parts of the process you hate, because you want it so bad.

So want it bad, my friends.


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