Calling all freaked out creative writing majors. Maybe graduation’s approaching sooner than you expected, or those pesky (but well meaning) relatives keep hounding you about career plans. Either way, the stress continues to loom. What are you going to do? Although you may not have too much time left to decide, you do have more options than the old cliché “I’m going to write a book, of course.”
I know what you’re thinking (no really, I do). What can you do besides go to grad school, write a book or teach? More importantly, what employer will pay you to just sit around and write poems all day?
Believe it or not, that degree you’re paying a fortune for comes with more than just bragging rights. “Creative writing majors hone their writing and critical thinking skills. Humanities majors tend to be flexible thinkers, and more businesses are looking for that,” University of Washington academic advisor Kimberly Swayze said. All of those literature classes and every short story you ever wrote trained you to have two very important skills: how to read and write like a boss. Ever heard of a business proposal? They’ll probably want somebody who’s fluent in the language of Writing to whip those up. In other words, you can find value in things besides your fiction expertise.
With all of those skills come jobs galore. “Former creative writing majors work at Microsoft, Amazon, non profits [and do things] like marketing or advertising because they’re good at presenting information. Some end up teaching in public schools or community organizations. A lot of people also become entrepreneurs,” Swayze said.
If you go online and look at the English/Creative Writing department’s website for your school, you might see a list jobs that past graduates currently dominate. That’s not just there for the school to show off; it tells you that you have nothing to worry about, that there are lots of jobs out there. Casting director, investigator or lobbyist? Not only do you have tons of options, but they don’t totally suck.
But regular old English majors write a lot as well, you might say. So what makes you, the amazing creative writing major, stand out? According to Swayze, creative writing majors do significantly more writing. The writing they do differs from regular English majors, which means you’ll also know how to write in more ways than just those boring 15 page papers nobody wants to read. One more important skill, check.
“I have seen jobs where they look for creative writing majors [such as] jobs directly related to the literary arts. [For example, I’ve seen that] Nintendo looks for creative writing [skills] because they want people who can think outside of the box,” Swayze said. Hey, what better person to create video games than somebody who’s used to dreaming up crazy complicated stories?
Creative writing majors are also more, well, creative in general. Check the name. That means that your future job will keep things interesting. “Creative writing majors would go toward marketing or advertising, something to create excitement and hook an audience,” Swayze said.
So tell yourself to cool it when it comes to your career. You kick ass just by claiming the creative writing major, and you’ll continue to take on the world like the boss you are even after they hand you that fancy diploma.