A Drop of Ink On a Blank Canvas

Make the second thing you love your job and the first thing you love your hobby.

My father used to say this to me all the time as a child and it’s funny that it took twenty-one years for me to finally understand what he meant, and truthfully it was all thanks to this Careers in Writing course. I initially took this course for two reasons: to see all jobs that are applicable for an English major specialized in writing (other than being an author), and if those writing-job careers were something I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. After a complete semester of various literary and academic assignments, building this portfolio, and learning more about myself and what I am capable of, I feel as though I have a clear understanding of what my job would be and what would become my forever hobby.

Introduction to the Course 

I remember in the beginning of the semester, one of the very first assignments we, as a class, had to take was a Professional Identity and Marketable Skills Assessments test. This particular test helped me tremendously because I always thought I had a clear conscious of what my strengths were; of course I knew that I love to write as well as knew other small personality traits about myself, but this list only allowed me to choose 10 qualities. Therefore, as I was assessing all of the qualities provided in the checklist I had a difficult time choosing what top ten qualities would best fit me as an individual and into my desired career choice. I truly had to evaluate how I function as a person in my academic, professional setting as well as my personal endeavors combined. After some consideration, these were the top qualities I had chosen:

  1. Generate ideas
  2. Use media to present ideas creatively
  3. Critique, edit, and proofread
  4. Write creatively
  5. Get projects done on time
  6. Detail oriented
  7. Be orderly/organized
  8. Relate well to the public
  9. Listen/understand feelings of others
  10. Work well on a team

I generally did like the list, but didn’t think too deeply about it until I finally dove into the other assignments. For example, my first assignment was the article review. Even though I have done a plethora amount of academic articles throughout my university experience, I realize I do them because I have to. Nothing within my marketable skills falls into place with academic writing topics. In fact, these types of topics would bore me completely if I had to do them everyday as a career. In that moment, I decided to assess the list again and try to apply my skills to see how I can tackle them in my next project. “Creativity” stood out to me the most which lead to do a musical review piece. That made me feel more in my element to write fluidly and express my inner thought more freely without falling out of line of the criteria the professor assigned; however, even after all these assignments we got each week, it wasn’t until recently that the thing I realized was what I loved to do most was to “generate ideas and create” which came from building my website.

What I Gained From This Course

I absolutely loved creating this website. It was an assignment I looked forward to whenever the professor mentioned we had to revise our portfolio to make it more inclusive to our personal identity. One specific assignment was to write a post about whatever felt most personal to us and our website. I took the opportunity to truly express things I love most — books. I even created a Spotify playlist of songs that are fantastic to listen to while reading, and hinted at my social media page I created which features books daily. After that post I thought to myself, why do I enjoy this more than writing? It wasn’t so much that I hated to write because I didn’t at all, but I just loved it a little bit more. This is when my dad’s quote came into my mind. It wasn’t so much that he hated his job, but whenever he got stressed from the work, the deadlines, and constant staff meetings he was happy that his true love was his escape from the typical work force. Whenever I am stressed about school work (which is all just writing), I always take pictures or read a book or enter my creativity mode. It’s natural to stress over a job, but not natural to stress over a hobby. It something you deal with in short burst throughout the day or week, no matter how many times you do it, and it feels great every time. It’s not about choosing one over the other, but about balancing your life with equal happiness in all aspects. I like to think of the quote,

“The greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.” — Truman Capote

Yet, sometimes you have to remember even writers get a writer’s block, or a musician gets a creativity block and has to step away to regenerate their energy. They go do something else they love to enjoy before coming back to their job. This course taught me this. I will always love to write and will take it as a job, but to create is something I will always love to do by myself and for myself.

 

 

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