Thursday, May 28, 2009

A writer's career path

So far this year I've had four requests from high school students to do a career interview. You know, what classes do you need to be successful in your career, what kind of degree, skills, personality traits, and so on. 

This time, I got to the question, "What is the career path like (entry level to advanced)?" and I stalled. If you're a programmer or a social worker, this is fairly clear. But the writer's career path? Mine has been as different as I am from Diana or Elizabeth or anyone else who posts on the Cafe. But . . . I had to answer the question. So here's what I wrote:

Form-letter rejection.

Rejection with personal note.

Rejection with offer to revise and resubmit.

Request for partial.

Request for full manuscript.


Start over.

Request for full manuscript.

Rewrite manuscript.

Offer on manuscript.

Multi-page revision letter.

Book is produced and published.

Start on second book.

Get better offer, with better terms and more money.

Reviews come in for first book. They’re mixed—good and awful.

Six months to write second book, wondering if the awful reviews were right and you really have no talent.

Turn in second book. Goes to production and is published.

Orders are better.

Start on third book.

Offer for third book in a multi-book deal.

Reviews come in for second book. Fewer awful ones. Some really good ones. Maybe you can do this after all.

Am I having a career now?

Back to third book. Screw the reviews—it’s the writing that really matters.


1 comment:

Crystal said...

If you make enough money to justify the writing, it's all worth it. :)