Know What's On The Other Side Of The Fence Before You Throw The Ball Over

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Weird title, eh?  It's related, trust me.

"The MFA program in creative writing I attended, its many merits aside, tended to invite as speakers not editors, agents, or publishers, but mid-list literary authors who would do us the very great honor of reading from their latest volume.  When I asked why the program didn't spend more time (that is, any time) on the business end of writing, I was told that doing so would distract students from writing and take time away from The Craft" (Lemire 210).

It is VERY important to me to understand the business side of writing because one day I would like to publish some poems and perhaps even a short story.  Creative writing is a passion of mine and I would not mind teaching it either (my high school was lucky enough to have two creative writing classes but I am not sure if it is the same with other schools) but that would all depend upon the certification process.  But the main reason why I chose a creative writing minor is because one of my goals in life is to have either a book or a collection of poems/short stories published.  I already have a general idea of how to write creative pieces...how do I get them published?  To hell if I know. 

I actually agree with Lemire (*gasp*).  Don't get me wrong; I love hearing other poets and writers read their work.  But it would be more beneficial for me in the long run if an editor, agent, or publisher spoke to me about the process. 

I thought that Michael Sims was a great speaker.  Even though he was not an agent/editor/publisher, he answered many of my questions about having pieces published.  This was very useful information and it was nice to hear coming from a published writer.  So, I don't think it's fair to rule out the writers all together as guest speakers because most of them do provide real-life examples and experience.  It's just the ones that are there purely to show off their work that are really of no use.

I will be terrified when I first throw that ball over the fence.  It may come back shredded to pieces.  It may not come back at all.  But maybe, just maybe, it will come back with an approval stamp on it.  Then, I will be happy that I learned about what's on the other side of the fence.     

3 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

Lauren, I agree with you and believe that you make an excellent point. Anyone who ever hopes to publish a literary item wants to know about the business end of the spectrum. Knowing various authors and hearing them speak is a likable occurrence, but having an editor or publish would do us all well. We need to be told what to expect and how harsh the realities can be out there in the real world. Michael Sims was a wonderful speaker in my point of view as well. Not only did he tell us a little about his books, he took time to explain the hard work and time he put into becoming an accomplished author. His honesty was truly enlightening, not to mention tremendously helpful!

Becky Campbell - Director of CareerWorks said:

It was enlightening to read the comments about Michael Sims enlightening class presentation during National Entrepreneurship Week. Sponsored in part by CareerWorks and your division, the week brought Michael and other entrepreneurial speakers to campus.

Those of us in career services who sit between you -- the students -- and the employers know how important it is to get career information to you early in your educational career. There is no substitute for this type of career exploration and reflection. You are all going into a world that is very different - it will be very much an entrepreneurial world and you will be a "free agent" whether you are a writer or an biologist.

Find your passion and feed it, teach it; ask questions that you want to know, do an internship or just DO something that moves your focus and goals forward. You can't sit back any longer and wait to graduate. It is an entrepreneurial world and you were able to hear from Michael how that may feel. It is exciting to manage your own career and not rely on a company or organization. You will be hearing more about entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurship at Seton Hill through CareeWorks and other partners on campus.

Keep talking to others who are doing what you want to do and work to develop what the world needs. Great writing is a skill that all employers need and want.

Hi Becky,

I was preparing my blogging portfolio for EL150 when I revisited this entry and saw your comment. I want to thank you for all the great advice you gave me. It is very exciting to know that in just a few years I will have a job and be out in "the real world". But it is also very scary, which is why it was so reassuring to hear Michael Sims talk and to read your comment. Thank you so much for everything you do with Careerworks and for helping me with my resume (I ended up needing one for this class actually). I really appreciate your advice and thanks for visiting my blog! :)

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