Dear fresh-out-of-college writer,
When I graduated from college with my creative writing degree in 2013, I too was bright eyed, bushy tailed and perhaps a touch delusional. I whole-heartedly believed that all it took to create an instantaneously flourishing writing career was hard work, meeting deadlines and kindness. Connections? Who needed them?
Because I’ve been in your very shoes, I’ve mapped out five pieces of advice that I wish someone had shared with me three and a half years ago. New, inexperienced writer, you’ve got this!
1. Don’t let haters get you down
Your family will suggest you become an English teacher. If that’s not your calling, don’t do it! You don’t want to be stuck in a career you won’t find joy in.
Also, you'll hear a lot of people say, “Oh journalism? That’s a really tough industry." That's what well-meaning acquaintances will respond when you tell them you’re moving to a new city to pursue writing. “Journalism is dying,” is another particularly unwanted comment, and so completely untrue. But my favorite is, “not everyone can make it as a writer.” Super helpful!
Every cynical remark, every comment that actually sounds like a big ole whopping “you can’t do it” should make you that much more determined.
2. Bring dish gloves to your coffee shop gig
Working part-time at a coffee shop while struggling as a new writer sounds pretty romantic, right? Wrong.
Coffee shop gigs, especially for the newbies, involve hours of dishwashing. When you’re standing there, staring at a splattered wall and wondering if your degree means anything, it helps not to have the pruney-est hands of all time. Trust me.
3. Celebrate your achievements along the way
Even though you’re not going to “make it” immediately, there will be plenty of writing achievements you’ll be ecstatic about along the way. My personal accomplishments include working my stories into some of the most prolific publications in Chicago, building a network among Chicago’s local fashion industry and securing interviews with ease, if not genuine excitement, and finding my way in local,creative organizations where I met some of my most valuable mentors.
Celebrate those moments, even if your glass slippers turn back into Target sandals when you get home.
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously
This isn’t Gossip Girl, and you’re (probably) not going to write your way into the city’s elite to become the ultimate insider. So don’t be a whiney Dan. The moment you begin feeling like everything you write holds crazy amounts of importance, it stops being fun. And no matter what, know that you’re among the many writers who often feel like half, if not most, of what they write is horrible. Your journal entries (probably) won’t become a brilliant novel. That’s okay.
5. Take a deep breath and keep on hustling
One day, you’re going to get hired somewhere really awesome. Maybe it’ll even be as cool as No Limit Agency. And when you’re offered that position, you’ll know it’s because you spent years growing as a writer, doing the work and becoming qualified.
I wish you the best of luck and loads of patience,
No Limit Agency’s newest Content Producer