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Being A Writer During Economic Recession

On Being a Writer During the Economic Recession – Erienne Rojas


A writer or any member of the arts knows that in order to be successful and make it up the literary mainstream, one must have a means of income in order to survive the various rejection letters and emails about our work being published. Not only that but how many of us is fortunate enough to have our first novel become a big hit? Or let me not get ahead of myself – how many of us are able to capture the interest or second look by any literary agency to purchase our works when we are fresh out of college and are still trying to expand our platform and refine our voice while trying desperately to pry away from clichés and the acclaimed predecessors? A mouthful indeed but that’s how I feel when I am working so hard to coin phrases differently and be so idiosyncratic in my work but still intended to follow a concrete methodology provided by my writing forefathers.

Furthermore, a job has to be sought in order to fund submission fees, grad school application fees, and miscellaneous items to retain our sanity like food, caffeine and more books! One thing I have learned while in college is that in order to pursue a writing career that allows me to write all day and still have money to pay the rent and shop, I have to work 9-5 or something of the equivalent. But why can’t writing be my job? Grueling reality I face everyday is that I just don’t have it like that. There is a loophole though. Instead of working a 9-5 where we hate who we work with and hate what we do why not combine what we love as readers and writers in a job that we still might hate who we work with but not what we do. The light at the end of the tunnel is landing a book publishing job. Thanks to my Publishing Certificate program I landed my dream job at Harcourt Trade Publishers as early as my junior year in college. I worked as a Publicity Assistant for two years but unfortunately was laid off back in May 2008. Nonetheless, I established influential contacts in the media industry (both writers and PR professionals alike), became part of writing communities where I could network and promote myself, and I learned firsthand about what it takes to stand afloat as a fellow writer and poet in a pool of emerging and transforming book market. What topics are selling? Who is writing what? What does my manuscript have in common and what distinguishes it from other writers of the same category? This is why I am able to navigate myself as a freelance writer and land writing and publicity related gigs to add to my resume. Hence, Sherri Rosen Publicity where I am able to still work as a Publicist and exercise my writing via pitch letters and press releases as well as work with books for media placement. Although most of my gigs are not paid, I prefer having my name appear in google search with published work to show for it.

During this economic crisis, I find it most helpful to work at my craft which is why I am working on my applications to grad school – I want to pursue a MFA in Poetry. I advise all writers to study and study other fellow writers as well as the ins and outs of the industry they are wishing to write for. No one is going to know what you write or understand what your motives are but yourself. Last year, I had the honor to interview Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and his piece of advice for all aspiring writers in all genres is to continuously read and focus on your work because that is what is going to impact the longevity of your art. Learn who is writing what and how is it being received by the masses? Then you can take your position on the soapbox and share your experiences with the world. Everyone wants to be heard but the question is what approach or position will the writer take on a given worldly argument or on a personal experience and how creative can it be?



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This entry was posted on Monday, January 12th, 2009 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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