Yes, You CAN Get a Writing Job!

Hello all! For this week’s post I’ll be discussing something myself and probably many other writers have dealt with: getting a job/being told you couldn’t get a job. 

Numerous times I had other students and professors say, “A writing major? What are you going to do with that?” I had people tell me I wouldn’t get a job and that I was even living in a “pipe dream” for thinking I could get my foot in the door anywhere but the big city. 

Earlier this week I was offered a job, ten miles from my home here in Upstate New York, with a local company. Seven months after graduating college, I found a job in my field. 

Anyway, here’s a few tips on how to keep your head up in the job market: 

1. Don’t Completely Give Up

I’ll admit, I was on the brink of hopelessness after not finding anything even close to what I wanted to do a few weeks after graduating. I took breaks from job searching weeks at a time, but checked back every so often for new openings. 

2. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Even if you don’t feel like you meet the qualifications, apply! You never know what could happen. If the job is based on writing skills, just do your best! 

3. Focus On Yourself

A lot of us follow what our friends are doing on social media and can compare ourselves, especially if friends find a job in their field before us. Just remember, that’s their life! You’ll find success soon enough. 

Warning: Construction Zone

This morning I thought of the analogy that editing a story is like renovating a house. You may think that you’re only doing some cosmetic changes like a new floor and a fresh coat of paint, when really, you are suddenly motivated and find yourself changing the entire layout of the house and building an addition.

This is what I have discovered while working on my story Misconception this week.

I went into editing hoping to just give the book a quick refresh, fixing grammar, changing some sentences, and lightly touching on the plot of the story. Well guess what? I found myself deleting almost an entire chapter and writing two new ones.

The goal of this was to make the story appear more logical, (since everyone knows what a stickler I am for trying to have my stories make sense.) So, without spoiling the end, here’s what’s changed in Misconception this week:

1. Introducing the Candlelight Vigil: 

Originally, chapter 8 featured a small few paragraphs about Taliah, our main character, attending the memorial service for Molly, the girl she supposedly killed, during the day at a park on the college’s property.

I got myself thinking, “Wait. How could the school have a memorial service if they weren’t entirely sure that Molly was dead?” No body was ever found. If the school didn’t know that she was dead, a memorial service would make no sense.

This is where the vigil comes into play. Readers are introduced to Megan and Giovanna, two friends of Molly who make two very different speeches about their “missing” friend. This is the game changer that caused the entire layout of my analytical house to be changed.

2. Everybody Knows Something New:

Before writing the vigil chapter, readers and Taliah thought that Molly was of course, dead. Now we all learn at the vigil that that is not the case. This requires me to write a brand new ending, as well as some searching scenes.

3. Beware The Vampire Hunter:

Chapter 8 started with the memorial scene and included the entire vampire hunter scene. This was of course, changed to expand on the vigil and include a bit of Taliah looking downtown for Molly.

Originally, Taliah was invited to a fake “faculty party” to lure her into a banquet hall where she would battle the vampire hunter. She essentially walks into an empty room at first before the lights go out.

Taliah is a lot smarter than that, so I had to put in a little more effort to try and convince my vampire gal that there was a possibility of a party going on. This included a lady near the doors handing out name tags, two doormen (who chain the doors shut after she enters) and speakers throughout the room with recorded voices on them. So, as Taliah descends down the long hallway towards the hall, she hears the noise and starts to believe that there may actually be a party.

Stay tuned for next Sunday’s update! I can’t wait to see what new ideas I’ll come up with as I keep working this week.

So, what IS fiction?

Every time I have to read a story for my extremely tedious fiction II class, I get frustrated when writing commentary at the end of the story. My professor always asks us to explain what makes the story fiction. I’m always sitting there thinking, “well it’s not true, so that makes it fiction.” Fiction=not real.

Fiction’s online definition basically says the same thing, but a lot fancier. It is defined as, “literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that described imaginary events and people.”

So it isn’t real and also requires the use of the imagination. Dictionary.com defines fiction as a “made-up story.” But then again, parts of nonfiction can also be made up. My professors called this “heavy embellishing.” So if parts of nonfiction can be made up, then therefore, the whole entire fiction story must be made up.

So we’re now at “a story where everything is made up and you have to use your imagination” as our definition.

But how can you relate this definition of fiction back to every single story you read in class? Well if a story has a dragon in it, the answer would be “dragons don’t exist, so that makes it fiction.” But what if the story is actually very realistic? Let’s say it’s a couple going to the coffee shop and they break up while they’re there. This has happened to millions of people. What makes that specific story fiction? In order to answer this question, just like fiction, you will have to make something up.

Things to Remember Around the Competition

I started worrying last night. Today is the first day of my very long anticipated Fiction II class. The intro class really kicked my butt so I’m pretty nervous about how tough the higher level will be.

Of course, when you’re in a writing class, everyone is always whispering about who the “best writers” of the class are. Everyone is going to be looking over your work. One bad paragraph could ruin your reputation, so it’s easy to start stressing about everyone else. Here’s a few tips on how to stay cool when you’re around another group of writers.

1. Remember that no one else is perfect: 

It’s true though! Every writer has their flaws, and everyone will mess up at some point. Let’s be real, we go through TONS of ideas before we finally have a winner.

2. Don’t let titles or fancy awards get to you: 

I’ve had classes with award winning writers, people that are top editors for the school paper, and people with tons of publications. It can feel really intimidating at some points, or even all time. (Mostly all the time for me). Just remember that you’re all in the class to learn and improve your skills.

3. Everyone has different strengths: 

I get worried in fiction classes because I’m stronger in nonfiction. Everyone has areas of writing that they’re better at than others, and that’s totally okay!

4. Be yourself! 

While it may be intimidating to be around a bunch of competition, just remember to relax and be friendly. Having a good relationship with the class will make being there that much easier.

Four tips, because I just can’t think of a fifth one for some reason. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Tips for Landing the Perfect Writing Internship

Hey everyone. Due to the holiday and writers block I’ve been absent for a bit, but as usual I’ll try to stay current. Today’s topic: landing that writing internship that all of us college students want. 

Recently, I was accepted as an intern by a local branch of a major TV station. Just six months ago, I had to quit my shady online internship after four months. As writing majors, there aren’t as many options as other majors. It was tough for me to land this amazing internship. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll have an easier time than I do. 

1. Be Wary of Online-Only Internships 

Call me bias, but after what happened with my scam of an internship with University Primetime, I would suggest being wary of online companies. However, some people have a different experience. One of my classmates really enjoys his online internship. 

If you really want to go with an online internship, make sure that you’ve read through their website thoroughly and that they’re a company you want to work with. If you have any doubts, look elsewhere. 

2. Don’t Back Away Just Becuase It’s Unpaid

Sometimes the best reward isn’t cash, it’s experience! If you see a company that looks awesome but doesn’t pay, don’t worry. There’s always a possibility that your unpaid position could lead to a job in the future. 

3. Go to an Internship Fair

I never went to my school’s internship fair because I thought the companies there were only looking for business or finance majors. I took a leap of faith this year, but on my business professional wear, and went to every single table in the room asking if they needed a writer, editor, journalist, or blogger. To my surprise, the very first table I went to said, “Yes! We do!” When I looked down, it was the TV station. 

4. Don’t Underestimate Your Skills

One of my favorite sayings is “Everyone needs a writing major.” And it’s true! We can write, edit, are great at deadlines, and we’re masters of social media. I thought the TV station would be looking for communications, film, or even AD/PR majors. I was wrong. So don’t be afraid to go up to the table of the company that you think doesn’t want you. Chances are that they may actually do. 

5. Totally Nail Your Interview

This one is easier said than done. I’ll elaborate on this more in my next post, but a few simple tips are familiarizing yourself with the company, dressing for success, and having questions ready for the end of the interview. 

Things You Definitely Shouldn’t do if You Want Beta Readers

After four days of completing my first round of edits on my story Knowing You’re There, I am on to the next step in the publishing process: getting beta readers. While I’d love to have a great post for you guys about how successful I’ve been, I have the exact opposite. So, I’ll use my failed attempts to have a laugh and help you guys as well.

So here are five things to NOT do in the process of finding beta readers:

1. Ask Your Friends

This so far just hasn’t been successful for me. If my friends were in the writing field, not busy college students, and were being paid, you would probably have more luck.

2. Ask Your Relatives

I just haven’t even attempted this one after my past outcomes. Three years ago, all I asked my sister for Christmas was to read my short novella Euphoria on Wattpad. I gave her three months to read the 80 page book. Instead, I got a Spongebob DVD. My mom has not read a sentence of Saving Flight 926, the book I started in January.

3. Beg

If your current beta readers aren’t committed, they’re still not going to do it, even when you beg. If they’re busy or uninterested, they’re not going to do it.

4. Not Explain Your Deadlines

While I’m not a beta reader expert and really am kicking myself for not researching more on the topic, surely everyone needs a time where their beta readers should be finished. If you don’t give them a deadline, they may think they’ll have unlimited time. I literally just explained this to my boyfriend, who had no idea.

Tips for Getting a Writing Internship

I’m going to sway away from talking about edits and publishing progress to share a new experience that I had yesterday. As many of you know, I was extremely heartbroken to find out that the internship I worked so hard to get in January for the website University Primetime was a total scam.

Since then I had given up, then started trying again to find a new internship. I looked at websites again, but everything was “virtual” or solely online. I just can’t trust a place that doesn’t have an actual office. So I took a leap of faith and ironed my old blazer, fixed up my resume, and went to my school’s official internship fair. I knew that in between all the banks and logistics companies, someone, somewhere, had to need a writer/editor/journalist. So while I was there, here are a few things I learned.

1. Sell Yourself

Dressing up and bringing a resume are just part of it. Shake hands, introduce yourself, make eye contact. Talk a little bit about what’s on your resume.

2. Show a Variety of Skills

Writers don’t just write fiction or poetry. While in some areas we’re stronger than others, we can do a lot of things. We can copy edit our work, we’re vigilant readers, we most likely have a blog, and for college students, having to hand in a portfolio at the end of the semester for nearly every class makes us killer organizers.

3. Don’t Downplay Your Acomplishments

Even if you weren’t published in print or don’t have thousands of followers on social media, it never hurts to talk about a finished novel or that book you edited for a Wattpad user. Companies will like that you’re passionate and determined about something.

4. You Don’t Have to be an Ad/PR Major to Advertise

This was probably the most important thing that I learned yesterday. If a company says they need someone in advertising, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shoot and edit a commercial or design a billboard logo. Many, many companies have social media that needs managing, blogs to update, and events/products that need to be advertised.

All of us want to make it to the big leagues. We all start small. In my opinion, writers are the absolute BEST people for advertising, because we do it all the time! We know all about compelling people to read and buy our works. We have blogs and tons of other social media accounts, where we post about our books whenever we get the chance. We’re social media gurus.

So if a company says they’re looking for someone to advertise, don’t forget to tell them all the experience you have with social media!

Best of luck to all you other hopeful writing interns out there.