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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Because Apparently Money is, like, Important

I have a conundrum. But I feel it is a conundrum that troubles many writers. So, what better way to solve said conundrum than to blog about it?

I'm in college now, have been for what feels like twenty years but in reality has only been about three and a half (including two years PSEOP). And yet, after all these many, many, M-A-N-Y classes, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Before I got to "real college" (aka: not PSEOP) and people asked me what I wanted to do, I would grin and tell them, all proud and confident-like, that I wanted to be a writer. And they would grin and respond, all mocking and arrogant-like, "But how are you going to make money?" Well, up until last semester or so, I didn't take that question seriously. I assumed that once I became an "official author" someone would send me a machine that magically turned the pages of my novels into $100 bills. But alas, dreams get smashed, reality sets in, and I discovered that in Real World, novels don't magically turn into $100 bills. Not even into $50 bills.

So, here's the conundrum posed as a question to all: How do you make money? Do you have a side career? Do you freelance it? Do you have a loving and patient spouse who brings home the bacon while you face your imagination? (That kind of rhymed...) Or are you one of those "starving artist" types who is okay with being scoffed at by those high-and-mighty business folk who can actually afford health care? Psh. Who really needs health care?

Basically, I'm looking for someone to tell me what to do with my life. Seriously. How can a writer make a living in a way that doesn't make her want to stick something hot and sharp into her eye? Or does it just come down to accepting a job that isn't necessarily fulfilling in order to support your craft?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night.


Jill Wheeler said...

I teach! That's how I've made my millions (in student loan debt).

Natalie Whipple said...

Well, right now I stay home with my babies while my hubby works (which was always kinda the plan).

BUT, when I was in school, I got a minor in editing so that I had something that could make some kind of money if needed.

I think it's definitely important to have a "fall back" to get you through the rough times. Good luck in deciding, I know it's hard.

Sara Raasch said...

Jill: I guess people are never specific when they say they've "made millions." I bet there's a lot of self-professed millionaires who are really just in debt up to their ying-yang. Makes me feel better.

Natalie: Editing can be a minor?? I've never seen that...my colleges are boring :(

As of right now, I'm leaning toward an event-planning career. Possibly.

Natalie Whipple said...

Yeah, I think it's pretty rare for it to be its own minor. At my university it was just created my second year there.

Usually I think it's an emphasis within the English major.

Event planning is fun though! And you'd probably make more money.

Sara Raasch said...

But with an editing minor I'm guessing they made you learn specifics? Like gerunds and infinitives and all those other grammar nasties? *shudder* Somehow I don't think my excuse of "But I just KNOW it!" would be enough to pardon me from learning all the "names" for everything. Fickle grammar rules.

Hopefully event planning pays enough to pay off those millions I've earned in loans. Oh, money. Can't we all just get along (without currency)?

Jill Wheeler said...

Check your email! I'm freaking out!!

Sara Raasch said...

I just checked it! I'm freaking out for you!!

Natalie Whipple said...

whoa, um, why are you guys freaking out? I'm hope it good freaking:)

Sara, it wasn't so much grammar as it was punctuation and editing for certain genres. Like I took Book editing (you could also take magazine and technical). And I had classes about publishing (like history of the book, as in how they are made and their evolution). Can you tell I LOVED my major/minor?

Sara Raasch said...

Nat: That sounds WAY more fun than it sounded in my head. And I am now jealous that my inky-dinky state school (that really isn't very inky-dinky) offers only straight-up English. Boo narrow major list.

And it is a good freaking out. I shall let Jill be the one to reveal, of course ;)