any "starving artist" bees????

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
9949 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I used to love to write, but never do it anymore.  I think if…I could go to Vermont, or something, and write for a summer…I would totally be able to get into it.  I am passionate about teaching, though, so I’m holding off on pursuing that for a while.

Here is my advice: find a writing program you’re interested in, and then figure out how to attend it.  The University of Iowa has a really good program, and so does Middlebury (you could go to Breadloaf!).  It will cost money, and it will not be lucrative right away…but you should at least try to figure it out!  

 

What part of the country are you in?

Post # 5
Member
3210 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Hi there! I am a writer, as is my FI. We met doing our MFAs in creative writing.

Here’s the deal: the VAST majority of people write in their free time, as a hobby. That’s what FI and I both do–we’re grad students, teaching college English right now. I know you said that you’re too tired after work to write, but if you really want to write, you have to make time for it! 20 minutes each day. Two hours each weekend day. Whatever. If you want to write, you have to WRITE, not just wish you were writing.

As far as how to get started, there are MFA programs for people with day jobs–they’re called low-residency MFAs, and you just mail/email your manuscripts back and forth with your professors. Unfortunately, they’re not cheap, so you really have to want to do it and be committed AND be willing to possibly take on a little debt.

There are also, as @peachacid: mentioned, summer writers conferences, such as Breadloaf–the Sewanee Writers Conference is one in the South, Squaw Valley out west–there are TONS. Those can be quite difficult to get into, and they’re also quite expensive, but it could be a great thing to do if you have vacation time to just go live in one of these places for like two to four weeks and really focus on your writing. However, those tend to NOT be geared toward young adult writing, so I’m not sure if you’d be accepted if that’s your preferred genre.

And it also sounds like you should pursue some therapy, because it sounds like you’re having more emotional problems on top of wanting to write. I don’t have any advice there, but I’d encourage you to get help!

Post # 6
Member
1888 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I love to write and always have, so I totally understand that during the week it is just too exhausting to try and write.  My advice is to set aside one or two hours on the weekend and let you FI and everyone know that is work time.  My FI actually loves it because that’s two hours for him that he gets to do whatever it is that he does (I still have yet to figure that out!).  It may not seem like much but as you get in the habit it becomes easier.  As for taking courses, if you want to then go for it, but I wouldn’t sink tons of money into them.  In my experience the best way to improve your writing is to write.  I just published my first book in Nov, although I’d always thought my first would be fiction it turned out to be non-fiction.  

One final thing is to November Novel Writing month, it’s an free online thing every November where you set a goal, track your progress, talk to others in the program online, and generally have a lot of fun.  You’ve missed it for this year (though there’s nothing stopping you from making up your own version), but I’d definately look into it for 2014. 

 

 

 

Post # 8
Member
3210 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@Stace126:  Oh right, I read your first post, but it didn’t click for some reason what you were saying. Hmm. Honestly, I find bachelor’s degrees such a stupid hurdle (taking all kinds of classes that you don’t want to take just to have a piece of paper, ya know?), I wish people could just go straight to Masters sometimes! 🙂

I’ve known lots and LOTS of people who’ve pursued their Bachelor’s degree later in life (basically all of my aunts and uncles with degrees, actually!), so I’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible. And it’s clear from this post that you’re a better communicator than most of my students, so you’re good there! When I’ve taught nontraditional students, they tend to take 1 or 2 classes later in the day/the evening while working their day job–it’s a lot, and usually they have a very supportive spouse! Could you maybe wait until your husband finishes school himself–just hold out until then? 🙂

This is random, but I know that some jobs will support your getting a degree–I had an older student once who worked at Nationwide, and they were super supportive of his getting his B.A. (in Communications? I don’t remember). So if you’re thinking about changing jobs anyway, that might be something to look into as you job-hunt!

But as @renwoman: said, you really don’t NEED a degree. Try a summer writer’s conference, or an online community. Try a DIFFERENT writer’s group (they definitely are almost always awful, lol, but there are good ones out there somewhere). And most of all, just write!

And as far as balancing–it’s not easy. You have to find a schedule that works for you–for most people, that means way less time on their writing than they’d prefer.

You can also hire people to help you with sending out your work. And you can self-publish on Amazon too! A lot of people do that now–I totally would od it if I wrote fiction, lol.

Post # 9
Hostess
15072 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Stace126:  Have you thought about self publishing, even short stories, on Amazon. I have some friends that make a pretty good living writing for the amazon digital crowd. They advertise the crap out of them on fb and Twitter. Their inexpensive too. I think the most I’ve paid is $5 for one of their books. 

Post # 10
Member
1111 posts
Bumble bee

I’m not a writer, but I do consider myself an artist.

My advice is in two parts. These are just my opinions, you can take or leave it all. (:

First: find things that inspire you and use those to your advantage. Read books by authors that you love or join an online forum–like this one–and talk to other writers. They can give insight and encouragement when you need it. Associate yourself with people who believe in you and your dream. Anyone who ever looked down on my dreams and told me I couldn’t succeed were people I stopped associating with.

Second: treat your art like a career. Writing is a profession, so you have to approach it like one. The ‘starving artist’ thing is a social myth; you don’t need to suffer to make good work. Hone your craft and market yourself.  

As for a degree, you don’t -have- to have one to get published, but it can definitely help in getting a job if you plan to work for someone else. Have you ever considered being a freelance technical or copy writer? You could set your own hours and probably work from home. I know it’s not exactly the dream, but it could help you get back into the swing of things.

Just pursue it relentlessly. Don’t let other people try to tell you writing can’t be a real job, because it totally is. You might not start out writing the stories you want, but getting a career that at least uses what you love to do really helps.

Post # 11
Hostess
15072 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Stace126:  if you want to get into blogging, I’ve done that and moved up to getting paid and doing radio. Honestly, it’s super tough to break into unless you can find the right following and it’s a full time job getting a mediocre following with no pay. I got lucky and broke through using Twitter, but is was pure luck. I also had to travel, at my expense, to some conferences to meet people from my Twitter. 

Post # 12
Member
1016 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I listen to this radio program called The Next Chapter and a few novelists interviewed have said they would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning and just write for an hour or two before they had to get on with the kids or the job or whatever. Most writers have day jobs before they make it big, you’ll probably have to as well! 

Maybe what you need is a different sort of job. Not necessarily a writing job, but something that you enjoy a little more or is less draining than the office job and leaves you energy to pursue your passion. I haaaaated working in an office, now I am in construction. I enjoy it way more and it works a different part of my mind than most of my hobbies. Perhaps getting out of the cube farm could help you too? 

Post # 13
Member
346 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m not a writer but I’m an artist. My piece of advice to you would be to not get a degree. For creative writing it isn’t necessary but if you want a a degree so you can head into an office job as a plan b then I’d recommend it there. Next take time every week to start working toward your goal. You said you want to be a young adult book writer? Start with some short stories for brainstorming for some novels and ease yourself into a schedule so you can see some progress. You can try self publishing or try pitching to publishers after that, but I think getting yourself out of a rut is the first step (and I’ve been there).

Post # 14
Member
650 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Stace126:  I’m a singer and actor, and like @bapbap, I agree that a degree does not need to be your first priority. My degree got me in the interview door, but you have work experience that may serve in the same way. 

I like my my day job, in real estate, which is a first. I have always hated my day job, but now I feel haopier, which motivates me to pursue my passion. I’ve only been with my job since August, but I’d say it’s working out great so far to have a day job I like, and pursue my craft in after hours, and recommend it. 

If this matters to you, know that I took a pay cut, but still consider it worth it to be happier at my day job. It has allowed my creativity to blossom. 

Post # 15
Member
9949 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@tksjewelry:  That’s a good idea.  Do you think they make any money doing it, or more importantly get any people buying their books who don’t know them? 

Post # 16
Member
8016 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

To an extent yes I am. I am employed in my field which is a miracle- but the best advice I ever got was Q: how do I become a _____? A: well you just start being a ______

less thinking, more doing. 

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