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. 

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. 

I Quit My Writing Job. Now What?

I’m going to take a rare moment to blog about my personal life instead of making an advice post, since I’ve been so busy with my summer job and feel like I’m currently out of advice to give.

Over winter break, I slaved over my laptop, browsing internships.com and filling out over 10 applications and learning to write several cover letters.  I found a job that looked awesome. I’d not only be paid, but I’d be writing fun list articles all about college for a website called University Primetime.

Long story short: I worked hard on my trial articles, made it past several cuts, and eventually found myself employed, writing, and having articles published on the cite. However, after getting paid for my first two articles, I was no longer getting paid for anything that was published on the site.

The Facebook group shrunk from 160 to just 18 (seven of them admins who didn’t submit content) writers over four months, many of them facing the same issues that I had to deal with, I assumed. After requesting for over a month to get paid the $70 they owed me for my published articles, I dropped the site over a week ago. The guys in charge never responded to my final request to be paid for my articles.

While it was an awesome learning experience, I’m thoroughly upset because all of my hard work seemed to go to waste.  I turned down other offers to work for University Primetime.  I figured I’d have a cool job and make some side money, and it would count as credits towards my degree.  Now I’m here all summer with nothing but my regular job. I’m not gaining any experience towards my career.  My resume is going to stay stagnant.

I guess now I’m trying to warn people about the website and figure out what to do as far as an internship goes.  So, don’t ever work for University Primetime, unless you want to deal with a bunch of rude guys who run a click-bait site with no helpful information. I’m going to have a new post eventually describing what happened exactly with the site in detail. But for now, I guess it’s back to the drawing board with my internships.

Querying: A Dieing Practice?

This semester I’ve had the agony of taking my required writing 381 course, also known as technical and professional editing. As an editor on Wattpad for over 2 years, I figured I’d not only love, but ace this class with no problem. Currently I’m riding on a low B average–one of the highest grades in the class.

Long story short, I believe that my average is so low because we’re using outdated methods, such as editing in print instead of online, etc. One of these other issues is querying.

In my own words, I’d define querying as adding comments or “queries” to ask the author questions and offer them suggestions. Mainly, you must use an extremely nice tone. “Please consider switching these two sentences.” And so on.

Now, while I believe it is crucial to ask the author about fact checks and so on, but if you’re going to rewrite a sentence or do something else small? I don’t think they’re needed. Here is why.

One of the number one rules in editing is “do no harm” to the manuscript. This was a good rule to live by, but not for today’s generation of new writers. I’ve edited for probably 100+ people in 2 years. Trust me, they do not care about harm. These authors want me to murder their stories, no questions asked. I even had a user last month ask me why I left certain sentences of her story the way they were!

The only time I had anyone question my edits was 2 years ago. Just one, single user. That’s it.

I think this change has occurred because we live in such a convienient world. Teens today don’t even need to leave the couch to order a pizza, or even wait for dial up Internet to check their email. They don’t want to do more work.

I was even frustrated a few years ago as a freshman. I was an opinion writer for my college newspaper. My editors would leave a bunch of comments on my articles, many telling me to “add a comma” or something else menial. Of course this would seem annoying to someone. They were editors in paid positions, and I felt like it was their job to fix my work. All they did was tweak a few words and fill my page with comments.

If we do this today, with these new generations, expect a lot of frustration. Editors should just be allowed to fix the content without filling up a page of suggestions. The writers don’t want to go back and fix it. They want it done one time, because they’re paying you as the editor to do so.

Bottom line: less queries. More editors doing what we love to do: fix things.

:) Using Emojis :P in Writing D:

I’m sure you must be surprised with that title. I was surprised too, when I started seeing emojis in the text of a story. Yes, this is really happening people. New writers have started putting emojis in their stories. 

The first time I saw this was last year. It looked something like this in the text:

I may be different, but that’s just who I am. 🙂 

Are you scared yet? Because it only gets worse. Lately I’ve been seeing winky faces in stories as well. 

Now of course, who could forget the beloved TTYL series, which involved similar things? Of course, there are exceptions. 

If characters are texting, IMing, emailing, or posting a status, then of course, pile on the emojis if you want. 

But in the actual text of the story? Just no. I’m really hoping that this doesn’t become an “ok” or norm in the writing word. I don’t think I could ever take a story seriously with smiles and winky faces in the middle of a paragraph.