Watch almost any movie about working in the magazine industry and, despite the appearance of eat-you-up editors, the life looks pretty glam. Gorgeous apartment, magazines falling over themselves for your every written word, penning pieces as easily as making cups of tea – what a life! This post will tie into a broader series I’ll probably write – mostly rants, I guess, about my chosen industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, i just wish people understood what they were getting into. It’d save a lot of interns from tears.
Myth: You will earn mega-bucks.
Fact: Lol, no. I don’t think any writer of any kind (from screen to novels) has ever earned the major bucks. There’s the exceptions, of course, the mega successes, but the lives Andie Anderson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) or Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada) are nothing like a real-world journalist. Most likely you will have flat mates for years. If you go it alone, you’ll live in a bachelor flat – yes, one room. You’ll not be head-to-toe designer gear and champagne cocktails every Friday night. You’ll be donned in Mr Price and drinking cheap wine.
Myth: Every piece will be perfect.
Fact: Not one will be. Writers, as with most creatives, are tetchy and overly attached to their work. But you have to learn to be hardcore, at some point. A lot of your articles are going to be sent back to you. Several times. With a loads of corrections. It’s not a personal attack. Your editor knows the publication, knows what works and what doesn’t. They’re looking for something and corrections are there to guide you, not crush you. It was hard, yes, to have my first awesome piece sent back to me with a million corrections. But in the end, it made for a lot stronger piece. It made me a better writer. And you can always be a better writer. Accept it, move on, try again.
Myth: Writing a piece will be easy.
Fact: Ahahaha. No. Sometimes you’ll just swim with a piece; other times, it’ll drag you under. But, as with the point above, you just gotta keep going. Not everything in life is about having a good time or having fun, so you won’t enjoy everything you write. But that doesn’t mean it should get less than your best effort. If you’re bored by the way you’re tackling your topic, your reader will be bored reading it.
Myth: Everybody will want you to work for them.
Fact: ‘Writers’ are everywhere. I get so many intern applications every week. Varsities are churning out little journos when the print market is struggling. Sure, there is space in the digital world, but even they can’t handle the influx of graduates. Think carefully about this career path. Yes, you love writing (though that doesn’t make you a writer, more on that later), but being a journalist is not an easy trade to go into.
Time for coffee.