The general stereotypical assumption regarding a writing career is that it is not actually a career at all. English majors know this pessimistic outlook on their future all too well. Friends nod patronizingly as you divulge the argument of your latest conference paper, family recounts the joblessness of their girlfriend’s husband’s sister’s son who just also so happens to write, science professors kindly implore you to consider a minor in psychology, so on and so blatantly forth.
Indeed, writers know that writing itself is not the pinnacle career of success. We will not be Trumps. We will not accumulate the wealth of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or even come close. But here’s the thing: that’s okay. We know we won’t be millionaires, or remotely wealthy people for that matter. No need to remind us every five seconds. However, we choose to write anyway simply because we can never imagine doing anything else. Sure, we could become engineers, and we would probably make a decent living as a result. Still, we would be incurably miserable and, above all, misplaced.
In fact, hardly anyone chooses a writing career for the simple sake of choosing a career. People do not decide to become writers at the prospect of receiving a fat check every month. Rather, writers have no other choice but to write. It is first and foremost a passion that becomes a job, one that we actually don’t mind. Can everyone say that? Does every accountant have an undying passion for financing, every marketer an incessant desire to promote? Writers, whether they become J.K. Rowlings or starving artists, find happiness simply from being able work what they love. Money is simply a bonus.
And contrary to popular belief, writers actually CAN (gasp!) make a decent living in their field. Indeed, today, most corporations and businesses look specifically for individuals with exceptional writing capabilities. I personally know student writers who have worked part-time for companies such as GameStop and Converse. I’ve heard of others who currently work as full-time copywriters for museums in downtown Chicago. Writing opportunities crop up nearly anywhere you look. Freelance writers, editors, journalists, and copywriters especially are very much needed in this day and age. True, perhaps you won’t ever make enough money to buy your own Lamborghini or own a penthouse in New York City, but you will support yourself nonetheless, and you will be happy regardless. So, forget the naysayers. Love your career because you can.
And as always, happy writing.