Another Year Over

Author:
Publish date:

Today begins my last week of classes for the spring semester. This time next year, if all goes as planned (which it rarely does) I will be submitting my thesis and graduating with my MFA degree.

Then what?

Well, if I’m going to think positively, I suppose the next step is that a prestigious publishing house offers me an absurdly huge contract and publishes my novel to both popular and critical acclaim, which will allow me to pay off my loans, buy a house, write for a living, and travel the country on my book tour, where throngs of fans attend my readings (throngs of people at a book reading? Yes, this is definitely an indulgent fantasy).

Barring that scenario, MFA graduates all face the same problem: finding sustainable employment in a highly competitive industry with fewer jobs than candidates, even fewer of which pay very well. Luckily for me, I already have a full-time job that I enjoy (and which gives me loads of writing material), but the fact is that for as much as I love teaching high school, as long as I continue to do it, I’ll never have enough time to write as I really need. Then again, I identify myself as a teacher just as much, or probably even more, than I do as a writer. I might be lost, feel less alive, if I ever left the profession for something else.

But despite my confusion about the future, I still count myself lucky that the only anxiety I face (and it’s still a big one) is whether, after all this struggle and hard work, a publisher will be interested in buying those sweated-out pages of my first manuscript. Those of my friends who are in school full time have to couple that fear with the anxiety that comes with trying to find a new career.

So, as a favor to all my compatriots who are graduating from MFA’s this spring, is there any advice out there from writerly people who have landed a job they love? Any tips about the job search, suggestions about alternative careers, or just some friendly commiseration—an assurance that everything is going to be okay? Your input would be most appreciated!

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

Your story belongs to you but will involve other people. Where do your rights end and theirs begin?

Identifying Your Book's Target Audience

Identifying Your Book's Target Audience

Editor-in-chief Amy Jones navigates how to know your target audience, and how knowing will make your writing stronger.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 575

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a safe poem.

ryoji-iwata-QKHmi6ENAmk-unsplash

I Spy

Every writer needs a little inspiration once and a while. For today's prompt, someone is watching your narrator ... but there's a twist.

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

In this article, Brian Freeman, author of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery, discusses how he took up the mantle of a great series and made it his own.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.