Should I try to become a novelist or get my teaching qualification first?

posted 9 months ago in Career
Post # 3
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1483 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

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marina17 :  I wrote you a big long comment, but evidently WB deleted it?  I don’t know where it went.  But if you can’t read it, here’s the short version:

1) I’m a pro book editor, so hopefully I can give some relevant advice.

2) People who say you can’t have a career and write a book are deadass wrong.  However, you must be willing to carve out writing time and protect that time from other infringements.

3) Keep in mind the reality of writing a book.  If you want to just write one book that’s been burning in the back of your head and get it self pub’d, then that’s one thing.  But if you want to become a “novelist,” then you must realize that involves WAAAY more than just writing a book.  It’s writing a book, putting it aside for 6 months, revising that book because you realize pieces of it are shit, querying 100’s of agents before even getting one “maybe” acceptance, writing and rewriting synopses, and potentially years and years of trying to catch a break.  People get blindsided because they get caught up in the romanticism of “being a writer.”  But just know that you need a thick skin and mega dedication in order to get traditionally published.

Post # 4
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2223 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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marina17 :  You haven’t completed your novel yet, and the query process is long and doesn’t guarantee results or publication. My advice, as someone who has completed three novels (one of which was published by a company that I signed a contract with for the ebook version, got paid an advance for, and make royalties now), would be to get your teaching qualifications.

I want to remain anonymous, so that’s all I’ll saying about my writing.

I graduated as a teacher and then went through the cerification process. I don’t teach, nor do I write now. I’ve had writer’s block since I met my husband (likely because I wrote about the life I wanted, and now I have the life I want so I don’t have anything to write about because I’m content). 

The point is that so many people have a dream of becoming a novelist. So many people are good authors or get their writing published in collections, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to support yourself with it. 

So continue to dream, continue to write, and one day that might be your reality, but also make sure you can support yourself. 

Post # 5
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Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

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marina17 :  The best advice I can offer you about having mental space and energy is this: The muse is not coming.  Even if you had all the time in the world and the perfect little writing cottage in the hills, the muse is not coming.  You either learn to adapt and create a suitable writing environment within your current situation, or you sit around wishing you weren’t so tired.  It’s about making it happen in whatever way you can, not waiting for inspiration to strike.

As an example, I finished my graduate degree (MFA in Creative Writing) while working a full time job and moving across the country.  I wrote probably 40 short stories, a novella, and half of a full length novel in two years while doing all of that.  So the bottom line is that if you want to make it happen, you will.  Will you be able to do it as fast as you WANT?  No.  But outside circumstances and stuff don’t have anything to do with ability.

Post # 7
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1027 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I would think about where you ultimately want to end up and work toward that.

Two years is nothing in the grand scheme of things. If you just had to reduce your writing for two years in order to be where you want a few years down the line, I wouldn’t think twice about it. It would be worth the short-term sacrifice for the long-term satisfaction in your day job, vs. working in a call center.

But there are a couple of more serious issues with that plan:

1. You don’t actually want to be in the UK. If you ultimately want to live in Spain, it would make more sense to continue establishing yourself in Spain.

2. It doesn’t sound like you have any particular interest in teaching. While it may be better than a call center, there’s a whole spectrum of other job opportunities in between that could be more satisfying than a call center while still offering standard 9-5 hours. E.g., what about working in a library? I’d do some more thinking about what you actually want your day job to be, both in terms of what you enjoy and what offers the lifestyle/hours you want.

Post # 8
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1483 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

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marina17 :  Another thing to consider is that although passions are strong, they are unwieldy.  You can’t let them control your future.  I don’t know how young you are, but if you’re under 30, rest assured you have plenty of time.  It could be beneficial to crash through a busy year for your qualification if teaching is something that seems more fulfilling to you.  Then you can restructure things to include writing once the waters calm down a bit, so to speak.  No one says you MUST start writing IMMEDIATELY.  Personal goals and desires will still be there after you get yourself stable, and you can spend any free time you have during your training to outline, brainstorm, or otherwise prep for finishing your books.

 

ETA: Before anyone comes at me, obviously if you’re over 30 as well you still have all the time in the world.  But my point was that sometimes younger people feel more urgency to start on their dreams RIGHT NOW.

Post # 9
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1347 posts
Bumble bee

I work in publishing in the UK, in editorial, and yes, you absolutely need to have a day job – at this point and in the future. A tiny percentage of submission from new authors are picked up by publishing houses, and even if they are, the income is not great – royalties are low, advances are small. Even if you become an ‘author’ you most likely still need a good paying job. Like any writer, you will need to carve out time to work on your own writing outside of this. PM if you’d like to ask any advice. I have worked in publishing for over a decade.

Post # 10
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1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

Don’t go into teaching if you don’t love it. I’m a teacher and it’s definitely my passion career but even I get frustrated a lot, I can’t imagine doing this job if you weren’t 100% all about it.

Post # 11
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56 posts
Worker bee
Post # 12
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56 posts
Worker bee

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hickoryhills :  I am 27, soon to be 28. You are right, I feel a sense of urgency because I’m approaching 30 and not where I thought I would be. Secondly, throughout my early 20s I was quite depressed because I suffered 2 bereavements and life became quite difficult. Now I finally feel I’ve come through that and feel able to write these novels. In my mind I’m thinking ‘well if I put it off another 2 years and then I meet someone and have children and have even less time…’. I suppose I envision getting to my late 30s and having not published a single novel. There is no way I could put my passion on the backburner like that. 

Atm I’m thinking my options are:

1) Do the teaching qualification now & write where/when I can (but ultimately accept the writing will be on the backburner for the moment). Once I graduate I can hopefully apply to Spain to do my NQT year in a British school in Spain.

2) Prioritise writing my novel and find a different type of employment while returning to Spain. I have friends that make decent money from online teaching/tutoring and I’ve recently seen job vacancies in creating lesson planning material for publishers. I love lesson planning so could see myself doing that. Or find a different 9-5 job in an office. 

What does everyone think of those 2 options? ^

Post # 13
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433 posts
Helper bee

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jayrock :  I agree. I’d always been kind of a pet-peeve of mine when people look at teaching like a “back-up” job as if it doesn’t take a lot of work and passion to be successful. You never hear people talk that way about being a doctor or a lawyer after all lol.

But back to post. Maybe you could pursue a degree in English and potentially get work at a publishing office or something. That way you could have a good job and have time to focus on writing(plus working in publishing could get you connections 🙂 ) 

 

Post # 14
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8748 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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marina17 :  if you love writing why don’t you freelance more?  I wouldn’t do a university program you aren’t 100% excited about. 

The best day job will be one you love that keeps you busy. I love my job (I’m a paralegal) but when we have slow periods at work I find I also lose motivation at home. There is something about being busy and engaged that then carries over into my family life and side projects. It’s more about managing your energy and knownig yourself than any one particular day job. My grandmother always said “if you need something done, ask a busy woman” and at least for me that really rings true. 

Post # 15
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1483 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

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magiccircle :  If it were me, I would research the job options you have outside of teaching.  Not to choose that option, but just to gather more concrete information.  It may be that you find something you really think would click into place nicely, and then your choice would be easier to make.  Or you may find that a lot of those jobs that sound interesting won’t give you the support you need or have some other fatal flaw about them, which would then make your teaching qual a better option.  It sounds like you might just not have enough hard info to make the best decision for yourself aside from your writing goals.  So maybe dedicate a week or two to figuring out how best to support yourself and what kinds of work you would find to be your best option, and then fit in the writing bit later?

I often find that I really need to have a clear picture of what Path A would look like, and then I can compare it to a clear picture of Path B.  Hypotheticals don’t cut it, because you’re basically just guessing/hoping.  I usually need to have lots of information to make these kinds of large life decisions for myself.

 

Edit: so sorry, I tagged the wrong person!  Meant to tag OP

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