Career Development

Chances Are

(Saturday) May 03, 2008

The job search continues.  I’m realizing that I’m not going to find what I want in Lancaster, although what I want seems to be changing daily as I become more and more uncertain.  Do I want to edit books?  Write for a magazine?  Write for television?  The first one has always been my dream, but the others are intriguing as well.  The bottom line is — I’ll do anything as long as I’m writing and being creative (creatively writing is the bonus).

I recently read a fantastic interview with Nat Sobel over at Poets and Writers.  Nat is an agent who began his career working as a salesman in publishing houses — a job acquired, in the best way to describe it, by chance.  He interviewed about getting started as a writer and what he, as an agent, looks for and how much things have changed in the big publishing houses, which is daunting, as it seems corporate thought has infiltrated there, too.  Whatever happened to having a dream and going after it?  Doing something because you love it and aspiring to help others achieve their own dreams?  That’s what I want — as much as I want to see my own dream of being published realized, I also know that there is so much talent out there that just needs to be cultivated, and I would love to be a venue for that talent being realized as well.

But I digress.  By reading the interview, I became hopeful again; he managed to affirm some of my dreams and push me forward into action.   So, for the next few months I’m going to be doing a number of things in regards to my own writing, including working extremely hard to complete my novel, which I have a lot of faith in. 

I was a part of a pretty respectable writer’s workshop for awhile, of which I was the youngest person there.  This opened my eyes to a few things as I gave and received critiques: while some of the people there really were interested in improving their writing, many, I think, just wanted the praise.  And they certainly didn’t want to hear about ways to improve a scene or plot point or dialogue from a 24 year old.  But that’s wherein my expertise lie.  It’s almost intuititve that I can take something and know what will work to make it better.  And when it comes to my own writing, I’m very open to the same type of constructive comments.  Sure, there’s a certain bit of hesitation — that’s your baby, that writing comes from you — but when it comes down to it, it has to be readable and marketable and just plain good. 

So, what I’m saying is, I have a new novel I’ve been working on, and it needs a lot of work and my writing style is certainly not like the others in the workshop.  But I have a lot of faith in it and am willing to take it as far as it needs to go.  Even if nothing comes from it, I feel like I need to write it — the characters are alive in my head and scenes spring up out of nowhere.  The problem is — I don’t usually have the time to buckle down and write.  So when this job assignment ends, I’m going to take two weeks off and finish up the complete first draft.  Maybe nothing will come out of it.  Maybe it won’t be published.  But I’m a writer, and as such, I’m going to write. 

I’ve been sending out some short stories and poetry to writing competitions in the hopes of a) winning, because the monetary prize would be great in my situation and b) getting my name out there.

In the meantime, when I have some freetime, I’m going to begin researching agents.  There are some, one in particular being Nat Sobel, whose ethics I believe in; I like what they stand for.  So, I’ll begin querying, getting my name out there.  Can I make it without an agent?  Quite possibly, but that would be a long road.  And sometimes, you just need a little help.  

Nothing is given to you — things may happen by luck or chance or fate…whatever you want to call it.  But more often than not, you have to work for it, you have to seek it out.  I believe in fate, but I don’t want to place all my cards in her hands, I don’t want to leave it all up to chance because I don’t want to be left waiting for something to happen when I could have taken action.

I absolutely know that I’m going to be rejected and criticized and looked down upon, and I will certainly be disappointed and maybe a little heartbroken.  But that comes with the territory.  I’ll pick myself up because I know that someday there will be someone who takes a chance on me, takes a chance with my writing.  And I’m ready for it all.  I have faith in my writing and faith in myself.  I am willing and ready to work hard at certain expenses, willing to go the lengths, so long as my own values aren’t compromised.  I will define my own success.  I have wanted this my whole life.

I have to at least try.

2 thoughts on “Chances Are”

  1. I was just going through blogs containing “Emerson College” and stumbled across yours. I actually go to school here–just finishing up my freshman year. I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t get into the graduate program! Boston really is an amazing city; I’ve wanted to move here ever since I was little. And when you talk about Lancaster, do you mean Lancaster, PA? I’m from about two hours from there.

    Best of luck to you! If it makes you feel any better, I’m transferring, ha. To another school in Boston, just one that’s cheaper.

    Reply: Thanks for the comment; it’s always nice to hear from people, especially if you’re achieving your dreams. I actually hadn’t known about Emerson College as an undergrad, otherwise I might very well have thought about it when I was deciding on colleges. As it was, I wanted to stay close to my family, in-state (yep, I’m in PA), and I didn’t decide on a career in publishing until my sophomore year. As it was, I fell in love with Lock Haven, so I don’t regret for a minute going there — I had some amazing experiences and met incredible people. I believe that was the path I was meant to take, in the end. While I’m disappointed that graduate school didn’t work out for me, I still have good feelings towards Emerson and hope to one day make it to Boston. Life seems to be taking me in another direction, though, and I have no choice but to follow.

    I wish you all the luck with your new school — going with something cheaper is probably a wise decision in the long run, but as long as it makes you happy, that’s the important thing! Best of luck in your studies!

  2. Oh, I have tons of friends at Lock Haven! I’m from Lewisburg, which you’ve probably never heard of. It’s where Bucknell University is. Very small town.

    But I visit friends at Lock Haven all the time and I like it! It’s so…college-y, if that makes sense. I didn’t go there, though, because I just wanted to get far away and be in Boston. Have you visited Emerson? Because it doesn’t have a campus at all. And sometimes, I want that, since I grew up around Bucknell and know what it’s like to have an actual campus. But here, there are only a few buildings and it’s right in the city so anyone can be around you at any time, even if they don’t go to school here. So I’m looking at UMass Boston, which actually has a campus. I think that I’ll like the people there better, too. Emerson students are a bit pretentious. Okay, there’s a lot pretentious and think they’re all high-and-mighty.

    So anyway, I hope that everything works out well for you! When life pulls you in a direction, it’s not as if you can just break away from that. It’s your life; you have to follow it. Hopefully it’s taking you to the right place.

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