A Writer’s Progress: Looking to the Future

Current readers and newcomers, as I shared a couple of years back, I’m in the process of completing a B.A. in English. I’m finally a senior. This website was created to advertise the science fiction social commentary book I completed in 2014, Vanguardian, written when my highest educational attainment level was a high school diploma. Now that I’ve reached my senior year of university, I’ve learned more about where my writing needs to be to gain an audience for my first book and the others that will follow. However, the focus of the Professional Writing page of this web site will not be on my manuscripts. Rather, its focus is on what profession I can enter while I rework, refine, and continuously produce science fiction stories.

Endless rounds of homework

Under the umbrella of the professional writing category of this site, I will write about mapping and navigating my post-graduation goals. I’ll test the knowledge of blog and writing professionals and academics I’ve studied at university through practice.

My professional writing blog is for writers or people trying to decide whether they would like to be educated as a writer, to learn from my journey; discover what opportunities I’ve uncovered in my job searches; benefit from my market research; and relate to stories about my personal journey from a non-traditional student, who wrote a book with only high school level education, to an educated professional writer. I will post my progress in uncovering what career, ahem, job path I will choose post-graduation that will aid in my further learning to be a better creative writer, while also being an enjoyable work environment.

A quick read of my opening paragraph might give some indication that my immediate post-graduation employment goals are a means to an end, rather than my ultimate goal. That assumption is correct. Creating stories about issues I care about is the reason I enrolled in college to begin with; nevertheless, I need to make a living, and writing for money is good practice for a writer. Writing is what I currently do as an administrative assistant for an expert witness industrial hygienist. The workload is above my pay grade, and I strive to make my work match an even higher pay grade. The company I work for has no permanent position for a full-time professional writer, and if it did, well, I don’t know if I’d take it. So, here are my career prospects based on the pay I’d prefer and type of work I believe will develop my writing further: technical writing, editing, or marketing.

Job Prospect 1: Technical Writing

Technical writing is an obvious choice for a professional writing major. Too obvious. Its market growth is above average compared to other fields. However, I believe the work would be dry and, possibly, unfulfilling for me. Technical writing can enhance my writing prowess through having to draft documents using clear language — playing with including correct, appropriate, and necessary details with brief accessible language. While these skills are useful and transferable even outside of technical writing assignments, the type of writing this field requires is not the form or composition I seek growth and practice with. Given the actual work, which is likely close to what I currently do: writing deposition summaries, the prospect of a technical writing job does not entice me. I will still research this field as a fall-back, post-graduation job choice.

Job Prospect 2: Editing

Editing, manuscript editing specifically, became an attractive prospect for me after researching traditional book publishing versus self-publishing. The post produced from that research can be found in the main blog of this web site. Landing an editing position, be it online content editing, book editing, or any other editing of the English language, would be an intelligent move for someone like me, someone who would do well to learn as much as she can about style, composition, grammar, etc. I could immediately transfer skills attained from an editing career to my creative writing. Thus, I will be studying this career prospect further — notice, I wrote career versus job? Unlike technical writing, I can imagine myself being comfortable as an editor. But that’s just imagining –. A hard reality of the current state of editing is its growth is below average compared to other occupations, according to 2018 stats on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. I must consider that fact as I continue researching this career option.

Job Prospect 3: Marketing

Marketing encompasses advertising, graphics design, sales, and various other positions. I was a lead web designer in a freelance partnership some years back, in which I not only executed graphics design and created marketing/advertising campaigns. As someone who feels incomplete without access to advanced photo and video editing software, I know I’ll enjoy a job that regularly utilizes my design skills.

Besides being able to exercise my creativity through visual arts and more than likely, creative writing, the higher salary potential marketing offers over technical writing and editing is a win when I consider my mounting student debt. While various occupations full under the marketing umbrella, the median pay of marketing managers versus editors or technical writers, is around fifty-eight thousand dollars above the salary of the two latter job categories (BLS.org). I’m not a money-hungry person, but I have thoroughly considered the words of Les Brown when, as a cancer survivor, he stated his philosophy on gaining wealth and how wealth played a role in his attaining state-of-the-art cancer care; we never know what life might throw at us. Besides, I’ll have around fifty-thousand dollars in student debt upon graduation, and my son will be entering college not long after I graduate.

Stay Tuned . . . 

Of my three post-graduation job prospects: technical writing, marketing, and editing, technical writing is growing at 11% above other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; marketing is not far behind at 11% growth (BLS.org); and editing, has the least rosy prospect at -1% growth (BLS.org). I won’t be making any job or career decisions based on statistics obtained from one source, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but, it’s a good starting point of nation-wide supposedly objective reporting. Check back weekly for other information I discover from various sources on my journey to decide what job or career to pursue post-graduation. Thanks for reading.

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