The Mind of a Wavering Future Author

How is that every time I think I know what I want,
I don’t?
How can half my life be devoted to one thing

Books

And one thought can upset an entire dream?

I want to write

yes

But what to write about? What for?

I could be a screenwriter,
A writer of films.

I’ve always loved movies. Why not?

I could write children’s books,
the next J.K. Rowling.

I like kids. Kids like me. Why not?

I could write textbooks,
The How-To of life.

I hate textbooks. Better job security. Why not?

I could write reviews for a magazine or paper,
Ebert for a new age.

Maybe they’ll give me free things. Opinions are nice. Why not?

I could be a film director, photographer, artist,
But just maybe on the side.

I don’t know enough about those things to do them for a life.

I could work in a bookstore,
Just to get me on my feet.

What if I end up liking it? Owner of a bookstore. Why not?

I could be an editor,
Of a magazine or for publishing.

But really that’s not writing at all.
And what I love is that I love to write.
And despite all these questions, that’s what I want to do.
But how do I know if what I’ll write is right?
Will it make me happy
Forever?

And if I finally do decide on a job, where will I be jobbing from?
Probably in the same place
Where all the jobbers go.

What about books? That’s what I’d always planned to do,
Is it bad to have these thoughts,
To feel like I’m cheating
on my dreams?

And what is it about college,
where you’re supposed to

Find yourself,

that makes you question

Everything.

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Jobs for Writers #1: Children’s Book Author

So as you guys may have noticed (or not noticed), I’ve been really busy this week. Not only have I been slowly recovering from an illness, but I’ve been maddeningly busy and may or may not have missed my usual every-other-Wednesday photo blog post (No, I definitely missed it).

All of this has caused me to have some sort of mini existential meltdown in which I questioned my purpose on earth and how it all fits in with who and what I want to be when I get out of college. But don’t freak out, anybody. Like I said, it was mini.

I still want to be a writer, of that I am certain. But what exactly should I write about? Where do I want to write? Should I write for myself or should I write for the world? Do I want to make an impact or do I want to float by under the radar?

Here’s what I’ve decided. I’m going to introduce a new series of posts in which I highlight and discuss a number of different jobs available to writers. These posts will be both for me and for you guys to explore the realm of writing and to look at different types of jobs that many of us may never have considered or even knew existed.

For now, I’ll be researching different jobs and discussing them, but if you guys ever have any recommendations or requests, leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to look into it. So here we go.

Children’s Book Author

English: Winner of The Macmillan Prize for Chi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though often considered the “easiest” type of book writing, becoming an author of children’s books, whether they be picture books or short novels, requires the same knowledge of creative writing as becoming an author of another genre. While it’s not necessary to have a degree to write children’s books, it is helpful to understand the ins and outs of the English language and be familiar with simple and complex literary concepts so as to use them properly in books.

Knowledge of marketing and how to market oneself to potential publishers is also a key trait of children’s authors. As an author, you’ll spend a lot of your time sending queries to publishers and pitching your ideas, so having an understanding of how The Business works would be beneficial.

Like a lot of authors, authors of children’s books are paid by the advance and royalty system. When a publishing company buys your book, they pay you an advance (depending on how well they think your books are going to sell on the market). Then, once your books have sold and they have accumulated the same amount of money as the advance (basically, once you’ve paid off your advance), you start getting paid in whatever percentage of royalties you negotiated in your contract with the publisher. Royalties are how much money you get out of the sale price (ex] If your book sells for $10 and you have a 10% contract, you’ll get $1 per book). Unfortunately, if your book doesn’t sell well, you might not be making any money off royalties.

Children’s book authors usually have to share their advance with the illustrator (and the illustrator usually gets paid more), so if you’re a writer who can draw and is concerned about making the most money possible (don’t become a writer), it would probably be wise to illustrate your own books. Sharing is no fun anyway.

Naturally, you’d have to be of a creative mindset in order to be an author. Also, it probably wouldn’t hurt for you to like kids. And books.
 

Degree
Not required

Salary
On average $55, 940 (US Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
(Tip: Salary varies. You can make twice that amount in larger cities and metropolitan areas)

Research/Helpful Links!
http://education-portal.com/articles/Become_a_Childrens_Author_Step-by-Step_Career_Guide.html

http://work.chron.com/much-childrens-book-writer-make-year-15393.html

http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Top-10-FAQs

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273043.htm

How to Handle the Unexpected and Job Quest #2

When it comes to routines, I’m a bit of an expert. In fact, if I were to be the best at anything, I would be the best at routines. I love the monotony, the ease, and the utter predictability of an orderly and unsurprising day.

But how often does a day work out that perfectly?

Not often. Life (AKA an absurd amount of work) happened this week and I was forced to cope with one of its many unexpected challenges.

Unexpected Food VI.2: Spaghetti on a tube

Though not quite as unexpected as spaghetti in a tube…

I had a plan for what I was going to write for my Friday post. My topic (which I will hopefully get to write about very soon) was one I hadn’t written about in a while and I was excited to get started. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the project in enough time to start writing about it, and I hadn’t taken pictures or obtained the necessary materials for fact checking.

So what do you do when the only blog idea you had been planning for that week ends up falling apart?

Freak out. Maybe shed a few tears. Then check the running list of topics you have been steadily adding to since you began your blog and pick one to write about.

Don’t have a list? Make one. Don’t like your ideas? Write about how you were prevented from writing about what you wanted to write about. And if you’re absolutely and completely desperate, read my Top 5 Tips to Combat Writer’s Block. It probably won’t help.

On an unrelated and yet forcibly related note (because I had nothing else planned), I took another stab at applying for a writing job this past Sunday. This job sounded perfect because it’s located near my college campus, is paid, and has flexible student-friendly hours. Excellent.

It seemed straight-forward enough: In addition to light office work, my job would be to write newsletters and feature stories about businesses or people who had made donations to the school. Not exactly what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, but it’s finally a real writing job and would look good on my resume. In my effort to impress my future employer, I wrote what is perhaps the most professional cover letter I have ever written. I spruced up my writing sample (thanks to emperort for the edits!) and my existing resume and sent it off Sunday night in the hopes that it would be the first thing my new boss would see that day.

And it was. But rather than getting the quick, positive response I was hoping for, I received a fast, soul-crushing rejection. In no way objected to me (I don’t even know if she read my application), the woman whom I thought was to be my job savior wrote back and let me know that the position was already in the process of being filled, but that they would keep my application on file for future reference.

Once again, my job dreams have been swept out from under me. Time to mourn.

Who said being a writer was easy?