Recently a friend told me her 16-year-old daughter was contemplating a career in writing. The problem wasn’t that she didn’t think she was good or didn’t like to write. No, she was worried that she wouldn’t make any money as a writer. Ah. The rub. Damn you, capitalism!
There is a huge misconception that writers can only make money by writing novels or perhaps by becoming a reporter/journalist. I wanted to write novels (see photo above, 8-year-old me’s first attempt at a “short” story), but I hadn’t totally thought about money until after I chose Communication as my college major. What do you mean I have to MAKE money? Like with my hands?
So, like the money-hungry, confused fool I was, I switched my major to, wait for it … Computer Science. Thinking about it now makes me want to vom, no offense to computer science kings and queens–you do rule the world, after all. But I didn’t even finish ONE computer math class in high school. From there, I took a roundabout path that, after several years of working in the corporate world, led me to reselect Communication and re-enroll in college. Best decision–both the major and the re-enrollment. But I needed that real-world experience to find out what I had probably known all along: if you’re good enough at what you do, the money will come.
I once interviewed a physician with a ridiculous amount of experience in public speaking. He said that the best skills to have are to write and speak well, regardless of your job. The fact is, every company, organization, or band of pirates needs good communicators. Advertising agencies, nonprofits (in particular), small-businesses, etc., are all looking to hire writers and editors with a special something–that creative voice you start to develop at, say, age 8.
So think big, future writers of Earth, and develop your voice. Because there will always be a place for you in the career world. Unless you’re an awful speller. Then I can’t help you.
About “A Nature Trail”
I’m sure you’re wondering about my story, right? Here’s a preview, minus the illustrations but plus the original double spaces between sentences (ghastly):
“Once there were three girls. They lived in a big house. Their names were Raina, Emily, and Denise. But their mother and father got in fights. So they decided that they should leave.”
You don’t have to be a therapist to figure that one out. Side note, the last page includes some facts about the author, such as:
“When Raina grows up she would like to be a swimmer.”
A swimmer? Really, Raina? I didn’t even live near a pool.
“In the mean time, she likes to play outside on the swings.”
Not even remotely true. I hate swings. And outside. Who writes this crap?