Lauren Life List: Work in the Writing Industry

When I was in Undergrad all I ever wanted to do was work in publishing. I started out in Journalism but hated it and my adviser told me I should switch to Rhetoric – the study of the written word as a writer, not as a reader. So I did and I started writing. And it was then that I really felt good at something. Really, really good at something. It was hard, but it was a good kind of hard, a challenge. But when my professor pulled me aside and said I should get my MFA I practically LAUGHED in his face. “Absolutely not. I’m going to publish books, not write them.” But that planted the seed and while filling out applications for getting my MA in publishing I procrastinated, dragged my feet, and found them more than difficult to complete. Not because they were hard, but because I didn’t want to.

What got me really excited? Writing. Stories and creating and art. So at the last minute I ditched my initial plan and went with an MFA. But I’ve always loved the business side of writing. The editing, the formatting the shaping. The behind the scenes of acquisition meetings, what get’s published? What doesn’t?

And now the writing industry is morphing, evolving. Evolving or bust, really. There are E-books and E-zines and Online Literary Journals. And Blogs. Blogs began as online diaries, places to keep people updated on your doings, but are now taking up a measurable amount of business space on the internet. An interactive way to advertise, our google readers act more as an avenue for magazine subscriptions than anything else. Blogs are turning into a personal way to share information, ideas, and to promote vendors specific to an audience and in useful ways – “You like this jacket? Well this is how it looks on a normal person – me. And this is what I think about it. You can find it here.”

This last fall I started Interning at A Practical Wedding. It seemed perfect. I was planning a wedding, this was a wedding blog, I needed to feel part of something other than a temp agency, and Meg needed help. But what I thought it was at first – a place to work my education, a way to learn more about an industry I’m barely on the fringes of – was really just the very tip.

I was recently promoted to Assistant Editor, with pay. And what does that really mean? For me it means more confidence in editing for the site, really learning what it means to shape someone’s story – shape it so both the site and the contributor look their best and say exactly what they mean, it means a better resume, it means writing and editing almost every day. It may be part time, but my job at APW is on my mind most of the time. It’s the position I have the most pride in and it means that I can mark “Working in the Writing Industry” off my Life List. Because that is exactly what this is – An evolving writing industry, an ever evolving career path for me as a writer.

Now then, as far as marking another thing off my Life List… I just want to tell anyone and everyone who has made their own – This was something I figured would be marked off 10?20 years? down the road. Working in any part of the writing industry wasn’t particularly on my radar, especially with the evolution of the business, especially with the economy. This is a reminder to jump at opportunities, even if they mean a bigger work load, even if they aren’t all that glamorous, even if they don’t sound like anything you had in mind 5 years ago. You just never know what amazing mystery prize awaits you behind door #2.

8 thoughts on “Lauren Life List: Work in the Writing Industry”

  1. My undergraduate degree is in rhetoric, too 🙂 But now I work in public relations. Ha! Love that you’re a paid assistant editor for APW – it’s such a great blog and deserves to go places!

    1. oooooo when you start breaking it down add it to my wall of life lists. I’m inspired by so many amazing goals other people are setting that I 1) have never ever thought about and 2) am waaay to freaked out/lazy to try. 🙂

  2. Yayyyy! Writing. Bam.

    (I never wanted to be a writer really, just to make stuff, but here I am. I’m using that art school degree in post-modern performance composition, just in a POST post-modern way.)

  3. Kick. Ass.

    And thanks for the reminder about opportunities… I just got in to grad school, but am pondering funding and how to pay for chasing my dreams without going in to debt, and new opportunities and ideas and potential are all around me right now. So thanks for being awesome. Congrats!!

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