I was so excited to have a job lined up after graduation.
Most of my family and friends assumed I’d gotten some kind of writing job, though. No one really understood why I was choosing to commute an hour into the city and back every day to sit at a desk and enter information into databases for eight hours straight.
But it really wasn’t a choice. When you’re desperate and in debt, you take any job you can get.
I was a little frustrated that I wasn’t getting to do the kind of work I’d been training for years to do. But as you can probably imagine, I needed the funds, I needed some kind of work experience, and I hadn’t been writing in the “real world” long enough to get any freelancing clients.
So in a way, I settled for something temporary and not totally related to my preferred career path. But I wasn’t the first or only writer who has ever done this.
Unfortunately, so many aspiring writers think just because they’ve been writing on their own for a long time, they’ll have no problems settling into their “dream jobs.”
That’s not how it works.
I’m not saying you’ll never get to where you want to be. But it probably won’t happen right away.
It didn’t for me. I was a “data entry specialist.” There were numbers involved.
But it was a job that didn’t force me to take work home.
Which meant I could spend my entire commute — and my evenings and weekends — working on my own writing projects and building up my freelancing portfolio.
And that meant that when that job ended, I wasn’t totally lost. I had things to fall back on. Almost like I’d been building something up in the background intended for later use.
I don’t use many skills from that job now. But those paychecks helped me pay for a large chunk of graduate school. And my graduate degree is the reason I earned my first full-time writing job — a job that, YES, actually involved writing!
It’s a process. Not everyone gets a good job as a writer straight out of college, or straight out of little experience. If you go into it knowing that, you’ll face a lot less disappointment and frustration. Some people have day jobs that don’t utilize their passions, but nights and weekends are all theirs. There’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if you find you don’t have any other choice.
Don’t get discouraged if your dream job isn’t achievable quite yet. You’ll get there. Having a full-time job while figuring out exactly what I wanted to do with my passion for writing ended up being one of the best accidental decisions I ever made. Actually, I highly recommend it.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.