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Doing what you love vs what makes money?

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Replies to: Doing what you love vs what makes money?

  • whatthewhatwhatthewhat 151 replies21 threads Junior Member
    Read Elizabeth Gilberts book Big Magic. She has great advice on career vs the creative life. In a nutshell she says don't expect to make money from your creative endeavors. They are their own reward.
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  • sensation723sensation723 571 replies1 threads Member
    I agree with @Sportsman88 You could major in creative writing and get your teaching credentials. You can use the time you have off in the summer to write.
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  • rayrickrayrick 828 replies27 threads Member
    Here's another book rec for you: "So Good They Can't Ignore You", by Cal Newport. His main thesis is whatever you choose to do, be prepared to put in a lot of effort to really hone your craft. If you get good enough, though, you can usually leverage that expertise into a satisfying, and hopefully even lucrative career.

    That being said, it is certainly true that some creative endeavors are so competitive that you need to be prepared to have a training-for-the-Olympics level of focus to succeed at a high level. I'd put most forms of professional performing arts in that category. I wouldn't expect creative writing to be quite that bad -- there's a need for good writers in a lot of different industries.
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  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Personally I support getting a degree that is explicitly useful, even though it is very possible to get a job with a less marketable one by playing your cards right. You don't specifically need a writing degree to be a writer, but you certainly do need a science degree to do science, or a law degree to be a lawyer, etc. It should be something you specifically like, but also useful enough on its own to give you a nontrivial base of knowledge that you can build upon in the future.
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  • brantlybrantly 4322 replies78 threads Senior Member
    Yes, of course, there are some professions that require a defined-skills degree or a license (engineering, law, medicine, dentistry, speech pathology, lab technician). But I would argue that MOST careers do not require a a defined-skills degree.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 26832 replies269 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    Some of us don't consider humanities and social science majors trivial, though. I've worked with plenty of business majors who can barely write a coherent email so I've come to appreciate strong writing skills as a nontrivial base of knowledge. Otherwise, you'll find yourself, like many of my coworkers, always coming to me with your grammar, proofreading, and writing questions. ;)
    edited April 2016
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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 threads Senior Member
    It would be interesting to read the biography of Michael Lewis who wrote Liar's Poker (autobiographical and hysterical), Money Ball and most recently the Big Short.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Lewis

    He was an Art History major at Princeton who ended up at the Salomon Brothers bond desk.

    Study what interests you, but also develop skills.
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  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Writing is far from trivial, and I have always respected good artists, writers, musicians, etc., in the same way that it's common to respect the hard sciences. The only issue is, with the unstandardized nature of these disciplines, where a degree gives you some degree of competence but not one that can be easily understood, it's easy to get a degree that isn't useful. A lot of people who aren't good students, who arguably don't even belong in university, get the degrees without an explicit base of knowledge and aren't able to do anything with them. And that does, in a way, weaken your opportunities if you don't really have any "defined skills" to speak of.

    And incidentally, it does upset me how bad some engineers are at writing. Disdain for the other side (technical vs nontechnical) goes both ways.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 26832 replies269 threads Senior Member
    As long as it's not "equities in Dallas", @ClassicRockerDad! (inside joke for those who have read Liar's Poker) :D
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 threads Senior Member
    Writing skills are very important in practically every field. My own D. benefited greatly from her superior writing skills and I am sure that she will continue doing so as her Research projects will call for the great writing skills that will facilitate in being published......but she did not see herself being financially independent utilizing her writing skills or her music skills or her great ability to explain material and overall great communication skills, she just did not see it as easily as with pursuing medicine.
    Develop all kind of your personal skills at college, there is nobody who would say no, it is a very good thing to be well rounded person, but have a plan to become financially independent on your first day after graduating from college. I believe that any parent will be very satisfied to have such a plan from their college student. Many around my D. graduated with the combo of minor(s) / major(s), including my D. As far as I know, no parent objected to that.
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  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 threads Senior Member
    He was an Art History major at Princeton who ended up at the Salomon Brothers bond desk.
    Would any given art history major really be better in that position than if said person had a math or economics degree instead?

    Incidentally, finance and trading has moved very strongly in the direction of requiring strong technical knowledge to profit. The last 25 years have seen quite a lot of development in high-performance computing and finance has made use of that.
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  • happy1happy1 24181 replies2426 threads Super Moderator
    My D will be working towards a career but was a theater minor undergrad. She loves theater -- wanted to participate in it, learn about it etc. but knew that would never be how she earned a living.

    And agree, that there are things one can do with a strong writing backgound (ex. publishing, public relations etc). Maybe major in English with a specialty in creative writing to develop well rounded writing/rhetoric skills.
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  • dadofddadofd 151 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Sometimes I am really puzzled by the definition of "love" and "passion" in career choice. I believe "love or passion" will only last when you are good at what you are doing and you can see the future from them. Many kids quit their "passion" to piano when they lost competition every time; many kids quit their "passion" to baseball when they could not make the cut to the A team in all tryouts; many kids quit their "passion" to medicine when they could not make aces in Orgo or MCAT. So in your choice of professional career, you have to balance your passion and reality.
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  • mackinawmackinaw 3040 replies54 threads Senior Member
    @karlavvv It's a false choice: make money, be a writer. There are all kinds of writing, including fiction and nonfiction, technical and non-technical, for books and for other media (both online and not), research-based and fantasy (imagination) based, academic and non-academic. If you love to do a lot of things, then you can draw on and express and satisfy all those interests through writing.

    If you're GOOD at writing, you'll make a living. The more flexible you are, the better. You can contribute to and even manage blogs, blogs can become connected with larger media organizations, you can use your skill to get involved in live media (scripts, commercials, television programs, films, political speeches, etc.).

    If you want to make a career in which your skill in writing is at the core, then make sure your OTHER skills and interests are developed, too, because you will eventually combine them. Make sure you are strong in computer visual presentations, various media, even computer coding. Look at the masthead of various online publications, including blogs. See the skillsets that are included. One example from a smallish blog: http://fivethirtyeight.com/masthead/
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  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    On the other hand, when pigeonholing yourself into a "writer or bust" career, you may find that you will simply "bust." So it's good to have other, more concrete fundamentals other than just writing.
    edited April 2016
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  • mathyonemathyone 4193 replies34 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    I wonder about lumping all writing together. My daughter is also interested in creative writing, but she would rather work at something different than say, technical writing or some of the other writing-related jobs mentioned here that are a far cry from creative writing. Kind of like saying, well, if you're an artist, you can always paint houses. Sure you can, but I don't see it being all that similar aside from application of paint.

    I am very interested in this discussion, so keep the ideas coming please.
    edited April 2016
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  • brantlybrantly 4322 replies78 threads Senior Member
    @mathyone I am a writer and a journalist. The only creative-writing job I can think of is author of fiction. Or perhaps teacher of creative writing. It is very, very difficult to earn a living as a fiction writer. Not to say that your D won't be the next great novelist, but she cannot pursue it full time unless she is independently wealthy or has a spouse supporting her.

    Here are some professional areas that hire full-time writers. She must understand, though, that for any of these jobs she cannot simply be "a writer." She has to understand the business that these writing jobs are supporting. The purpose of the writer in these domains is to create copy that supports the business goals of the organization.

    -Corporate Communications -- can include writing for the corporate website, writing for global internal audience (employees) on the corporate intranet, writing executive speeches/presentations, ghostwriting articles for executives
    -Sponsored Content Creation
    -Health Education/Patient Education
    -Public relations writing
    -Editorial department of any company or nonprofit that produces a lot of written content

    There's a lot of overlap between and among all of the above.
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  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons 3934 replies25 threads Senior Member
    As a creative I can tell you that having a good business acumen is going to help you earn money no matter what career you choose. I'm not saying major in business, but a minor in it is never a bad idea. Understanding money is really crucial to happiness, I believe.
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  • mathyonemathyone 4193 replies34 threads Senior Member
    @brantly, I guess I'm wondering whether many creative writers find the types of jobs you mentioned any more satisfying than any other job. On another thread a poster suggested that having to write all day was a bit draining to the energy for doing creative writing after hours and that maybe having a rather different day job was more conducive to writing. I really don't know, but that sounds plausible to me.
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