JWAM reader request no. 22: Two quick ones

Epiphany Renee says:

What is a good job to have to fund my writing career?
Do you know of any job that will pay me a living wage to read books?
What is a good major in College, especially for an aspiring writer? (I know you are opposed to Creative Writing as a major, but what do you think is a good one?)

As it happens a while back I asked people to share their suggestions on good jobs for writers.

The only jobs I can think of that involve a great deal of book reading are librarian, editor, agent (and other publishing jobs), journalist, as well as academic. The problem with all of these jobs is that the reading of books is something that you squeeze in around many other work obligations.

Anyone else got any suggestions?

In the post where I spoke strongly against creative writing as your major course of study at uni, I basically argued that any subject is useful to a writer: engineering, rocket science, history, philosophy, biology and so on and so forth. It’s all excellent grist to the mill and you may find a whole new love while studying. I know someone who went to university determined to become a writer. She’s now a microbiologist. A top one in her field and loves it. And, yes, she still writes on the side.

I wrote that post because I’d come across several high schoolers who were under impression that the only way to become a writer was to study creative writing. I was horrified and hence the post.

If you read the comments you’ll find some writers—such as Garth Nix—declaring that they studied writing in uni and it hadn’t gone too badly for them.

You should totally take my advice on these matters1 with a grain of salt. A very big grain.

Q says:

How do you know when a manuscript is ready to share?

I touch on your question a little bit here and a lot more here.

This one’s very personal. How I decide whether an ms. is ready to share (I’m bored, or in need of praise, or I feel like I’m starting to make it worse not better, or it’s due with my editor) may or may not apply to you.

If you’re not letting anyone see what you’ve written despite rewriting it tonnes then you may have a problem. Feedback is very important. Especially for beginner writers.

On the other hand, if you’re letting people see it when it’s incomplete, unrevised and such a mess that not even you can make sense of it, then that’s a problem too.

You’re the one who decides when you’re ready.

Good luck!2

NOTE: Please ask your writing questions over here. It’s easier for me to keep track of them and answer them in order if they’re all at the end of that one post. Thanks! I’m taking writing advice quessies for the whole of January.

  1. Any matters, really []
  2. I wish there was a way to bottle luck. Share it around in an equitable manner. Alas there is not. []


  1. Q on #

    Thank you!

  2. Rachel on #

    I don’t know if this counts as “academic”, but any grade-school teacher worth his/her salt reads a lot of books!

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