Before I went to school, I did a lot of research on what I wanted to be. I emailed people from all over the world who had the jobs that I wanted to see how to get there. This was how I figured out what I wanted to do. At first, I wanted to be a copyeditor. I have always wanted to be a writer, but I wanted to learn the intricate rules of writing so that I could write in the best way possible.
After figuring out where to go to school, what to take, and so on, I started classes and soon changed my mind about being a copyeditor full-time. I thought that I would despise sales and marketing, but I actually really enjoyed it. Although I have never liked selling things to people who didn’t want them, I found a lot of joy in assisting authors with selling their books and getting the word out to other people who would be interested in them.
I asked every one of my instructors how to start my career, but found the answers to be vague and less than helpful. It seems that writers, marketers, and editors all have different starts. It isn’t as easy as “go to school, graduate, get a job” like in some professions. I faced the usual “you need experience to get experience” difficulty. I did an internship and started to offer writing and editing online and through family and friends. My business did not prosper immediately, but after I signed on with an independent publisher, things got a little better.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. I spent a few years gaining experience by offering social media marketing, writing, blogging, and even by volunteering once in awhile. I provided these things to many different businesses in various industries. I had to branch out from publishing, but I was ok with it. Still, the constant issue of inconsistent income had me down. Doing what you love doesn’t always pay the bills.
Tomorrow I will be starting my first job as an employee since I went to school. I won’t work for myself, I won’t be a consultant, and I won’t be a contractor. I’ve finally gained enough experience to become employed as a full-time marketing writer. This is both exciting, and a little overwhelming. I’ll still be taking some clients here and there, because I’m addicted to the high that comes with giving someone a hand, but I’ll be doing less and I’ll have a boss that isn’t me.
I know that many writers and editors start out by growing their own businesses while working full-time at an office or elsewhere. It’s what we have to do to get the experience that will get us to where we want to be. I don’t know if I am there yet, but I have been lucky enough to be able to catch a job doing something along the lines of what I want to.
Where are you on your journey as a professional writer or editor (or other)? What’s the best or worst job that you have had while trying to get to where you want to be?
Note: I’ll try to keep up on my posts, but I might miss a few in the beginning as I adjust to my new schedule. Bear with me, folks. I have a feeling I’m going to be pretty worn out.