We’re almost upon graduation season, and I’ve been thinking about those folks who want to be writers. Consider this a specialized graduation address directed to you:
My fellow scribblers, do think twice before you settle on an English major* and nothing else. Had I to do undergrad and/or grad school all over again, here are some subjects I would consider adding:
Websites and coding. I can putter around WordPress, but that’s the extent of my website creation/maintenance abilities. In my defense, the Internet of my college days was sparse, and it took the wailing mating cry of a modem and about five minutes just to see one page. None of us would’ve thought that a website would be an integral part of being an author. We didn’t have a clue just how pervasive the Internet would become
Graphic Design. I studied a smidgen of design in grad school, but it wasn’t anywhere near what I really
need. If you, like me, are challenged in the ways of graphics, www.canva.com is a handy site. Even so, if it requires anything in the Adobe family, I have to call in experts just to help me create a font image. (That reminds me that I owe Noelle a cup of coffee.
Marketing. If you’re just entering college, maybe you should consider making a degree in marketing your Plan B. Goodness knows it would’ve been more useful than my Women’s Studies minor. Sometimes, you have work at a job you don’t really want to get to a job that you do, and Marketing falls under the heading of business which has more job openings than English. I suggest you find something you like and feel called to do (teaching was my Plan B) while you work hard to make your first dream possible.
Nonfiction and freelance articles. I’m blessed with a husband who’s making more than enough for the two of us, but there have been times when I really could’ve used an income supplement from, say, magazine articles. I’ve tried to figure out where to go and what to write, but I usually end up flailing around on the Internet finding nothing. I will say that the Romance Writers Report is a great place for romance writers to get their feet wet, and I have tremendously enjoyed my experiences with them. I’m afraid, however, that my true talent is writing things for other people for free.
Nutrition and weight training. Oh, who am I kidding? I already know what I should do. I’m just not doing it. Ditto for the exercise. Eh, keep on keepin’ on. Whether you’re writing or exercising, the one way you know you’ll never reach your goals is if you stop.
My sweet cherub seniors and optimistic second career folk, I say all of this not because an English major* isn’t useful. Au Contraire. I’m not sure the world understands just how useful an English major can be. We’re fast learners and good students of life, so I’ve managed to learn a little bit about each of those subjects above. That said, if you’re starting out, then think ahead. I’m all about following your dreams, but I’m also a big fan of eating and having a roof over your head.
**cues Pomp and Circumstance**
Whether you’re fresh from high school/college or looking to jump back in, go get ‘em!
Just make sure you have a Plan B.
*BTW you don’t have to be an English major to be a writer. We are heavily represented because, hey, love of language, but some of the best writers you know majored in something else. It’s never too late to become a writer, and there’s no instruction manual, either.