A week ago, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at UBC’s Arts Career Expo about careers in communications and creative writing. When I was invited to do so in the fall, it was this weird moment of “Why would you want me?” and then realizing “Wow, I guess with the crazy year I’ve had, I am actually qualified to talk about that, and have things to share.”
One of the things the panel discussed was the importance of networking — both online through social media and blogs, and in person at events. That yes, who you know and your presence is important. But also that you ave to find what works for you — that if you’re not good at blogging, you shouldn’t make it your thing.
We also talked about the important of blogging regularly if you do — which is parially why I’m blogging now. I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing so, even if I don’t have a ton to say all the time (at least on this, my personal blog).
The most important part of the “blogging regularly” lesson is that what everyone who wants to write needs to do is write every day. Something about a million crap words before any of them are good? Yeah. Practice, practice, practice and all that.
And while I certainly work every day (or try to) on whatever projects I have going, not all of them always involve putting words on a page (email communication excepted), so while it’s always a creative process — from concepting stories to designing games and experiences to solving business conundrums — it’s not always writing. So it’s good to do a bit of that every day regardless of what else you’re doing. (You’ll note I’m talking mainly to myself here.)
It was a really interesting panel to be on. There were definitely common threads of networking, freelancing, and doing what you love. That a piece of paper that says “BA” or “BFA” may not help you get a job or get published, but that the time spent getting that piece of paper will give you the skills that will. That we do this because we love it, because we have to.
But most encouraging, I think, is this: that you can make a living writing. And that’s cool.