Becoming a writer during my gap "year"
September 8, 2009 4:38 PM Subscribe
I have savings and, soon, no work. I want to do something interesting, write about it, and publish - ideally to kick-start a writing career. How should I go about these 3 things?
posted by jeatsy to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I am a talented writer but have let my skills lie pretty much dormant since high school. Recently I took a fortnight's holiday and, having forgotten to take a camera with me, decided once home to write an account of my travels. It ended up many times longer than I had expected, I adored writing it, and all those who've read it seemed to really enjoy it. Hive mind: I'm hooked. I think I want to be a writer.
This desire coincides with the last few months of a research degree in computer science, about which I have become completely ambivalent and after which I have no plans other than to avoid programming for a living. (To the programmers out there: A great way to make a living. But not for me.) I have a lot of pent-up wanderlust, a desire to do something interesting in some interesting corner/s of the world, and a reasonable stash of savings with which to fund myself. I guess what I want is a worthwhile gap year, plus or minus a few months. And I want to be a writer.
So my logic is, let's go somewhere interesting, do something interesting, and write about it - ideally in order to kick-start a fruitful and enjoyable writing career, but in the worst case to have fun and to develop as a person and as a writer. That's about as specific as I get at the moment...
My question to the hive mind is: how should I go about (a) choosing what I'll do, and (b) writing about it, both with a view to getting published? Should I get talking to publishers right away? Do I approach them with an idea, or do they have ideas that they want people like (hopefully) me to work on - or a mixture of both? What kind of publishing format should I be targeting? Am I mad to even want to write for a living, in the age of blogs and tweets ten a penny?
I should add that the other genre of writing that particularly appeals to me, once I have satisfied my biting wanderlust, is popular science; and I'm 25 and based in the UK.