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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Jobs for Student Writers?

   
Author Topic: Jobs for Student Writers?
theworldinthewords
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So I'm a 20 year old college student who writes. That's what I do. I think of weird ideas, I brainstorm stories, and then I put them down on a page. Specifically, I do short stories, novel-esque stories, and screenwriting. So, here's my dilemma: I'm coming home for the summer (Greensboro, NC) and am desperate for a summer job. So what does a writer do for a job? Seriously, what do you do while you're writing and before you're a professional? In my case, I guess my best bet is waiting tables somewhere, but I'd kill for something that had to do with writing or the movies (I want to be a screenwriter). Did any of you all have the same predicament when you were my age? What are your thoughts on all of that?

Best,
Kristopher


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Wolfe_boy
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Best ideas? Work either in a book store, a library, or a gas station.

The first two give you near unlimited access to new reading material.

The third gives you buckets of time to read.

An alternative choice would be whatever pays the most. Writing itself generally doesn't pay well even for some professionals. That being said, there are other reasons why you might take a job that will improve your writing without doing any actual writing. For example, bagging groceries will introduce you to a wide swath of people from all different backgrounds. So will a job as a waiter. That kind of research into how people speak, how they react, the tone of their voice, their facial expressions as they move about, can be invaluable to a writer. You could also write articles and submit them to local papers, hoping to get a cople extra publishing credits. That'll likely be pro-bono work, but good practice at being concise, hitting deadlines, self editing, and translating visual memories onto paper.

Have a great summer! (Meanwhile, we're expecting 5-10cm of snow this afternoon.)

Jayson Merryfield

[This message has been edited by Wolfe_boy (edited April 18, 2008).]


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theworldinthewords
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Thanks for the advice! Snow? where are you from?

Yeah, that's sort of why I was thinking of being a waiter. Plus, you can do well in tips I suppose, if you're good enough.


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Cheyne
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If you pick waiting choose a bistro or some place less busy than a chain. I wrote many papers and stories while 'working' my way through university. Bookstores are great as was mentioned. Some give great staff discounts. My favorite though was working in a used bookstore, way more atmosphere.

As to snow-- the weekend looks shot for me too! I went and threw the last piece of snow left in my yard over the fence last weekend when it got up to 24 celcius (73 F?) but yeah we are expecting a dump
--Jayson-- I looked at your profile and see that we are nearly neighbors (Stony Plain)

[This message has been edited by Cheyne (edited April 18, 2008).]


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Wolfe_boy
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Any chance you're an Edmowrimo, Cheyne? It's nice to meet someone even vaguely local.

It's also nice that the snow hasn't started yet.

I second the call on the Bistro, and used book store. Also coffee shops, since you'll tend to have regulars that can be used for lon-term study.

Jayson Merryfield


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Cheyne
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TWITW: Don't mean to take over your thread, but...

Jayson: (Edmowrimo)not sure what this means so I guess not.
But yes it is good to see locals here. I grew up in Edmonton but now live west of Stony. Do you belong to an actual flesh and blood writing group in the area? E-mail me if you like.


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MartinV
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I'm 24, studying to be a physicist and writing with my spare time (which is not much since I have tons of studying and finally getting myself a girlfriend). Considering money, I'm lucky, because I have supporting parents and a scholarship to boot. But as everyone here I dream of going pro one day (not just dreaming, actually planning it). Until then I will finish my education and get a job that pays well enough for me to keep writing. At least that's the plan...
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SaucyJim
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As a fellow student writer, I'd have to say that I haven't found a good job that lets me write and get paid for it (beyond submitting stories and such, but that still applies since I haven't gotten published yet). My summer job has mostly been at Kmart, where the life-sucking experiences and long hours often leave be beaten and exhausted by the end of the day.

But, given access to copious amounts of receipt paper and usually fair breaks, I've been able to come up with some good ideas and even sketch out a few outlines while working. Plus, because we often carry truckloads (not hyperbole) of Harlequin romance books, I have something to laugh at to make myself feel better as a writer.

Just my two cents.


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wetwilly
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[Quote]So what does a writer do for a job? Seriously, what do you do while you're writing and before you're a professional?[\Quote]

You get a day job that drains the life out of you. It sucks that you have to give up part of your soul, but at least they pay you for it.

Then you turn your hatred of that thing you do for 8 hours every day into a dystopian sci-fi novel.


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smncameron
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I work as a lifegaurd. The pays good, you meet people, you spend time in the sun, and at the end of the day you're only working about a 1/3rd of the time. Heaven!

I would disagree though that the ideal job is one that gives you pleanty of time to read. If you are just reading, you are experiencing the stories second hand. The best job might be one that supplies you with lots of interesting material, by bringing you into contact with lots of interesting people and situations.


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Robert Nowall
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Well, don't expect much in the way of leisure time if you go to work for the postal service. It drains the life out of you. My ability to put out short stories every few days and a novel in less than a year essentially ended when I took the job. I've worked there twenty years (in fact, exactly twenty years today), and, sure, it provided me with an income, but had a bad effect on my ability to write.
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