There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that’s all some people have? – Joel McCrea (as John Sullivan in Sullivan’s Travels).
My dream profession is to be a humor columnist or bestselling novelist. I’m so glad that what I’m doing now is all writing-related, even if it’s just helping others with their writing (i.e., editing); however, I still make time for my own writing. Every. Day. Writing keeps you creative; editing keeps your writing clean.
A columnist position will be much heavier on writing and not on answering telephones (the latter of which is hard for someone who relies heavily on closed-captioning when watching movies); it will also be light on face-to-face customer service and autopilot office duties (e.g. filing and shredding). The plummiest part about life as a columnist will be that I will not have to rely on other people to get quotes (opening the door for me to be accused of misquoting them) or grant me interviews (opening the door for me to be accused of misrepresenting their organization or not portraying it the way they would have). This freedom is what makes the creative writing side of journalism much more attractive.
Newspapers (not news) is dying, but I don’t blame the Internet (entirely). What’s happening in Washington should be covered by the reporters in D.C. When I open the local newspaper, I want to read about what’s going on in my town; I want to read about the people in my town. D.C. will get covered no matter what. After all, it’s lucrative political theatre—a 3-ring circus with elephants, donkeys, and a slew of other political animals slinging mud and eating each other up (like the gingham dog and the calico cat in Eugene Field’s poem, The Duel).
If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in communications, you must be patient. You might have to write about things that do not interest you (e.g. zoning, sewers, school board and city council meetings, etc.), but that’s okay, because that’s just more writing experience. Every writing assignment I’ve ever been given I’ve treated like it was the most important story I was writing.
Even though I enjoy writing for newspapers, I prefer more time to polish my pieces, which is why having a weekly column would bridge my fiction and nonfiction writing worlds. Furthermore, a columnist position will not be so emotionally draining that by the time I get home, my well is too dry to work on my own writing (e.g. blog, novel, etc.).
For now, I am happily pursuing my B.A. in English (with a concentration in Creative Writing), knowing that the real money (and job security) is in technical and business writing—not in creative writing (unless you become the next Stephen King or Mary Higgins Clark, who are the exceptions rather than the rule), so I may go for the Technical Writing certification, as I’ve already taken Professional and Technical Writing, which I highly recommend, as an elective.
We shall see.