College, Writing

I Wanted a Life of ‘Professional Writing’

Over the last two and a half years, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked on campus is, “What exactly to do Pro. Writing majors do?”

Well, I can tell you this: we certainly don’t learn how to stare out the window and write the next Great American Novel. Most of our nights are filled with writer’s block, procrastination, and endless amounts of coffee. At Champlain, a lot of our focus is placed on our futures: where do we see ourselves in five years? What do we really want to do with our lives?

And, most importantly, are we good enough at what we do to make a career out of this?

There are endless nights of self-doubt, of hating everything we write down on the page. But that’s why we’re majoring in “writing,” isn’t it? To learn how to be better and to grow. Champlain offers course ranging from creative writing to screenwriting to editing to publishing. There are even technical writing and grant writing courses.

Unlike a lot of majors, Pro. Writing majors get to choose their own paths. From the moment we set foot on campus, we get to decide what we want our lives to look like, what skills we want to build, and what courses we want to experience. I think that’s part of why my job at Editor-in-Chief for Champlain’s Odyssey community feels so right. I’m doing something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, and it’s fabulous.

In my most recent article, I touch on this idea a bit further—going more in-depth about what Pro. Writing majors on Champlain’s campus really do.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. For a final assignment, one of my writing professors wants us to come up with a two-year, five-year, and ten-year plan (outline?) for where we want to be in our careers and our lives. And to be honest, I have no idea.

I have no idea where I’ll be living this summer, let alone in two years. The only thing I know for sure is that by time the five year mark rolls around, I’ll be married to the love of my life. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. But I wish I had some idea of what I want my career to look like. I know I want to edit, copyedit, write, get published. I just don’t know what that looks like.

Am I going to be sitting in a run-down apartment, broke and working on a blanket in the middle of the floor because I can’t even afford a table? Will I land freelance jobs that help pay bills and buy groceries? Am I going to be stuck working a 9 to 5 retail job just to help my fiance and I make a living? I want pets. Will I be able to afford them?

All of these questions are up in the air right now. Part of that is because I have no idea what I want to do, but part of it is also because the future is so unknown. (That’s a cliche if I ever did see one.) I may just have to take my life a month at a time, and you know what? I’m kind of okay with that.


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