I also was determined to leave college prepared for the workforce. In my instance, that meant I needed to graduate with a professional portfolio of my writing.
With the help of my adviser, I created my own major. (Not really, but it sounds great, doesn’t it?) Actually, what I did was create a way to receive the practical education I needed through 18 credits of internship.
It took me a year and a half to accomplish this feat. Step-by-step, I moved toward my goal. The first step was to write, edit, and develop an English Department monthly newsletter. This simple on-campus publication gave me interviewing practice and a bit of desk-top publishing experience. Believe it or not, this newsletter was good enough to secure a freelance job at one of the big companies in Racine, producing a monthly employee newsletter–before graduation!
The next step was securing a paid internship at a national communication company as a staff writer. Here I learned to work as a member of a cohesive team. I was assigned small projects, but I did get a chance to write; they didn’t make me file and copy stuff. When the internship was almost over, I received my first baptism by fire. I was hired as one of five writers who wrote, rewrote, and developed materials for an Amoco Training Program. Talk about the Big Time! I learned about tight deadlines and professional expectations. After the project was over, I even got a raise from $5 to $7/hr. Don’t laugh. That was BIG money for a student in the 1980s.
In May, 1991, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with my diploma in one hand and my professional writing portfolio in the other. (Here we do the dance of joy!)
So why am I going on about this?
Simple. I’m giving you advice–if you want it. If not, stop reading here.
If you’re backed into any corner, look for the creative way out. (I believe “thinking out of the box” has become trite, but if that works for you, so be it.) Maybe the conventional way of doing things doesn’t work for you, so come up with something different. If you have a book that needs to be published, and perhaps the traditional publishing route hasn’t worked for you or you desire more creative control over your work, look for other avenues of publishing. We authors have a myriad of choices now, and consequently, there are probably more new books out “there” than at any other time.
Listen, I would love to get rich from my writing, who wouldn’t? But more importantly, I want people to know I’m a good storyteller. I think I created something they might enjoy. And I’m willing to work hard to let them know about my writing. If I have to levitate out of the corner a traditional publishers offers, I’m ready. How about you?