Monday, September 05, 2005

What the Fuck Am I Gonna Do?

This is the most important post I’ve ever written. Ooh, er. It contains more self-involvement than ever. Enjoy!

This is the most significant thing in my life at the moment, and what I’m most stressed about.

I’m in third year of an Arts (Professional Writing) degree (don’t then feel cheated that this blog isn’t better). I’m getting High Distinction averages (as you can see, from the sheer quality and depth of the prose here. Snort). Next year…

So. What am I doing with my life? I turn 24 in December, I want to hurry up and get a fulltime wage. So I’m thinking of doing honours in editing. I love the course (especially the proofreading) so I’m thinking I’d like a future there. But then, what am I gonna do for honours? The guy who usually runs it is away, and no one’s giving me answers (though I WILL have some by the end of this week).

My three dream jobs are:

1. Writing and directing video clips for bands and artists

= 1. Writing (and doing voices) for my own cartoon. (How good would my cartoon be? Think Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, South Park and the Muppets. SO good). Or, an oft-surreal sitcom. (In the vein of Arrested Development, Scrubs, etc)

2. Weekly columnist (or similar) for major publication (how cushy and self indulgent. Sigh).

3. Editing a magazine for hedonists who like sex, music, food, debauchery, and other fun things.

4. a tiny bit later in life: Being a housewife 2k: freelance writing while running a house (with puppies, not children) and basically be where I am now just with hubby (or wifey, but I do tend to prefer relationships with men) and a fuckload more money.

5. Being a tutor in a writing course. Helping people hone their skills and develop their pieces. I have a great strength in developing ideas, which has come through in Script Writing, Non-Fiction and Fiction workshops throughout my course. (But: I really don’t want to do my masters right now I’m sick of studying and being a poor student. I want to be an adult, dammit).

So while a couple of those dreams are nigh-on impossible, and some achievable, I think next year I’ll do honours in editing and in 2007 try and get a job… somewhere… there, and get some funds up while I pursue the rest. I’m so confused at the moment. I’m seeing my editing tutor tomorrow, we’re gonna discuss what KIND of thing I’ll do.

Take it for granted that I’m a good writer. All self-confidence and arrogance aside, I do churn out gold, as seen by marks, anonymous feedback, etc.

So now, I really need advice. On… everything in this post. Or just, you know, offers for internships next year. Help this wee lost lamb, please.

Thanks for indulging me. More sex tomorrow (Freakline!) and Wednesday, I promise.


mnkymelbourne said...

I have looked into my crystal ball and it is a little hazy but I see you, it is cloudy, ahh - I see you teaching or is it job in the public service ... either way your screwed. Only kidding - Jebus H. Christ 24???!!!??? I didn't settle on my chosed career till I was 32 -workwise you need experience more than anything. As for honours - personally, I would do it now and get it over with - most people who say "I can always do it later" NEVER DO!

Desci said...

Thanks Mnky, that's exactly what I was thinking. I need to get work experiance, but I think I need better qualifications first. That's why I'd love to do an internship as part of honours, but yeah... not sure if I can?

But god, I am SO SICK of the callcentre.

LadyCracker said...

I think maybe just relax at bit Desci - by achieving such high marks you have kept a lot of your options open.

I think write some columns and send them to street press etc - have you approached them to freelance work?

Do you need some contacts?

Desci said...

LC - Hmm, I've never really considered street presses. Just becuase from what people say, it seems like a lot of work for no pay, and not a helluva lot of credentials (unless you want to write for NME, Rolling Stone et al). Also, music jouralism sounds cool, but I'm not overly into it... (the transcribing interviews alone!)

Desci said...

Oh, but you *are* right, I think I do need to chill the fuck out a little... it's just so hard, though. I get so worked up.

Victor said...

If you're going to do Honours, then get in touch with your *shudder* student union and see what you can do about getting onto their ticket as an editor for their magazine for the election this year. Getting in should give you a good source of experience and a a few grand in cash.

Anonymous said...

My advice about Honours is, if you're going to do it, make sure you hold out for a topic that you are genuinely interested in. If you just pick something because your supervisor thinks it's a good idea, it can be hell.

Desci said...

Victor - cheers for that! I just made an inquiry about the school's annual writing publication (as I've known many uni paper eds, and they're always stressed and unstable...) I don't know why I didn't think of that before - editing the anual creative writing thing would be great! xoxo

Anon - also, thank you thank you. I've gotta admit, I've been so desperate for 'direction' that I unofficially sold myself to clinging to anything the Ed tutor'll suggest tomorrow.

I really do have to keep in mind that IT'S FOR THE WHOLE FRIGGEN YEAR. Ouch.

See, this is why I wish I was doing honours in creative non fiction, coz I'd love to immerse myself in a piece for a year - but where the hell is honours in creative non fic gonna get me?!

naridu said...

eee-aaah-errr, it's scary isn't it? I'm in the same boat, minus the desire to go into Honours as I am completely over the study bit. If you want to go into editing the best thing to do is get a few peices of writing published...absolutely anywhere, forget the money, because when applying for positions often they will ask to see samples of your own writing...or so I've heard. The actual getting published bit is something I'm still working up the balls to organise.

Saturday Night Fiver said...

Dear Desci,

You do not need qualifications for any of the vocations you mention (with the possible exception of editing work for publishers, who are a little less indifferent). My advice: write, write, write - about anything and for everyone - and be prepared to work for nothing for a time. As for editing, the pay isn't fantastic (on average about 40 to 45 k., but rarely higher), and the industry is shrinking. It's a harsh cruel world, which is why Honours is money pissed against a wall (even if you're planning a life in academia).

Another thing: don't feel writing copy for a mining company (or some such) is beneath you.


Saturday Night Fiver

P.S. Video clips have writers?

dollop said...

Deshi, i still dont want to know what I want to be when I grow up and i'm heading towards 32.

You can write anywhere, anytime - tis the beauty of the creative world How many of your favourite authors bothered with their honours?

Cos i can, i'm gonna quote some Lawrence, from The Rainbow "He did it stubbornly, with anguish, crushing the bowels within him, adhering to his chosen lot, whatever it should cost. And he came back into life set and rigid, a rare-spoken, almost surly man.

Whatever ride you choose, enjoy it.

billyjoe noodle-bob said...

speaking as someone who has been making decent cash at writing for a couple (ok maybe close to 10) years, here are my gems of wisdom:


a lot.

also, take any writing job you can get at any given time.

also, be prepared to work in a call centre when you can't find decent work.

also, did i say write a lot?

also, don't hesitate to drop me a line for help.

also, there are only two (count em) ways to make money writing in australia.

1. be huge fat fuck (otherwise known as the colleen mccullough route)

2. subject yourself to corporate whoredom.

I can assist with #2.

Desci said...

Naridu - I've had a teeny bit of experiance with getting published, I can advise if you want.

SNF - I assume they have writers... well, Spike Jonze has done a few, etc...

Dollop - lovely Quote of Gold. xoxo

BJB - or #3: Be Fucking Cunting Fucking Helen Garner. I would RELISH some corporate whoredom! Assist my brains out!

Desci said...

And methinks I'm going to have to start writing a lot more. I have a fair back catalogue, but it's the time thing again. Two jobs and big study and big social life sucks.

shrover said...

I'm in my late thirties and thinking that I'll work out what I want to do for a living any time now. Meantime, I get paid absurdly large amounts of money to be a public servant.

I'm a very good writer. I don't care how people to that statement, I will hang shit on myself all day about everything else but I won't be falsely modest about my writing.

But I've found that when I've written for a living (speechwriter) the initial enjoyment wore off very quickly. There are other parts of my brain than the bits that write, and they weren't being engaged. Kinda like doing a crossword - that's writing, just not the sort of thing you'd like to do all the time, and not how you'd like to be remembered.

I reckon a job where writing forms part of a broader thing is important. Teaching, public service, editing, whatever. And then you can devote your personal time to taking your writing in creative directions.

At least that's the theory, thousands, I'm sure, have followed it, few have succeeded. But you can say that about most anything in loif.

shrover said...

Oh, and I too can offer help, but I'm not sure at what, and only in exchange for sex.

Sorry if that's not a compelling offer, but I don't do 'compelling' well at all.

Alex said...

Thats easy.

Start with 7.

First and Foremostly, as much as we would love to follow our dreams, 7 is the most achieveable one on the list that can

a) Get you cash
b) Give you time to achieve the other 6.

If you do this, you will be one of the lucky few who actually obtain a job that they want, while tying to work towards the job they really want.


P.S. Get out of the callcenter!

Martie said...

My sweet, I'm no good at this stuff, because I fell into my career

However, I agree with the majority of your lovely readers, and if you really want to write then do it- write write write. Write and send it to mags and papers and the most important thing - enjoy it too.

Oh and also - your cartoon sounds like a KICK ASS idea!!!!

kathrynoh said...

Hey Desci, if you are going to edit the "anual creative writing thing" you better learn to spell it with double "n"...


Althea said...

Honours &/or masters then corporate whoredom seems to be the best route to achieving 4. Having said that, I have no real expertise in the field(s) that you're talking about, and as such, have no really useful advice for you. Oh well.

Good luck for tomorrow, and just in general with the major life decisions. Try not to let it get to you too much.

Caz said...

Desci, as someone who actually has honours, I can tell you they're a nice thing to have. But that's it. They have done jack-all for me in the real world. I had thought about sticking with academia and eventually going after a PhD so that was the only real purpose it ever would have had. Now that I've decided I couldn't be arsed with that, the whole Honours thing was really a big waste of time.

The other thing is that just about everything I learned in my uni course was a bunch of empty rhetoric I couldn't usefully apply in the workplace. The fact I had industry experience coupled with that bullshit piece of paper got me the jobs I had after I graduated. But the emphasis with every employer was always my experience. The piece of paper was secondary - a box they could tick to say I'd met that thing on the selection criteria.

Get out there, apply for jobs writing. Get a cadetship or something. You'll keep learning from others, keep honing your craft. It might take a while, but this is the only way you'll be able to get to do those things on your wish-list.

Ruby said...

Despite what everyone is saying, I think you should do honours. It sounds like your marks are high enough to get you an honours place in any university in Australia. Search around for a topic you're passionate about and go for it.

You can still write and submit pieces to various people/publications during your honours year too.

That said...
I suppose it comes down to what is required of you for each direction you're considering. I'm currently doing honours in science, simply because I need it (+ a PhD) to get anywhere. But it may be a whole different story with your to people who are in positions you'd like to be in and you can't go wrong.

Rudy Zarsov said...

Compared to most of your readers I'm a bloody OLD barstard.
I would like to pass on some things that I have learned over the years
[1] Being happy and content are the only important things in life.
[2] A career in NOT the most important thing in you life. Work is there to provide you with the staples of life. Accomodation,food etc. It does not define you as a person.
[3] Choose a career that will overfill your Happiness & Staple brand stapler.
[4] Happines is achieved through relationships with good people that care for you and who you care for.
It has taken me 35 wasted years of working to realise my dream of contented living. Try not to make the same mistake.
PS I don't want to sound like an old fart but 24 is soooo young (sigh)

Desci said...

Shrover - what about sex in exchange for lots of your money? Oh, hang on, that's an entirely different career pah that I'm unfortunately not suited to... but I do like the idea of making shitloads in a 9 to 5 then writing in my spare time. Wanna email me with some vague info? I've never considered public service, dunno what it entails but I do know it's, like, mecca for arts kids (that and DFAT, which... NO.)

Alex - I know, I know. The callcentre is killing me. But there's no 7 on the list! Do you mean tutoring? I'd love to do that in the long term, but I wanna go the 'tutor after gaining experiance' route rather than the 'tutoring while in 9th year of uni doing masters'. Hmm.

Martie - and yet, Australia is a deadzone for tv writing. sigh.

K-oh - no, no, It's, um, it's CALLED 'Anual', and it HAPPENS to be an annual publication you foolish person.

Althea - Cheers, babe xo

Caz - columnist cadetship? I don't think I'm cut out for the journo life. But I'd love to do some editing work experiance. I think you're totally right - experiance is everything. Perhaps next year I should quit my callcentre job, sill do retarded phone job, but go try for some freelance or part time writing work...

Ruby - see, it all depends on the topic, that's what I'm learning...


Rudy - thank you for piece of mind. You're right, a job is just a job, but still, you're doing it every day, so... but yeah. Everyone keeps telling me I'm too young to stress so much, but I kind of feel I need to be established by 30, one reason being so my parents can feel like two private school educations (brother as well, who just works for dad now) weren't wasted $. I think education is never a waste of money, but then again, I haven't started paying my $20K+ HECS debt yet.

billyjoe noodle-bob said...

OMG OMG OMG Desci you have to email me or call me or get on the msn thingy STAT i have to talk to you I have had THE BEST idea in the world and I need your help quick get in touch with me QUICK!

Caz said...

Well when I was thinking cadetship, I wasn't necessarily thinking of one with a news publication. You could get into magazines - which would give you experience in writing (features etc) as well as editing.

That being said, you'd probably have to be prepared to move to Sydney for this option as few are based in Melbourne.

Desci said...

Caz - you're right, that would be awesome... But Sydney? Argh. Fucked...

The Hack said...


I know I'm late on this, but here's my advice, for what it's worth.

Those who can do. Those who can't teach, or hide out at university and extend as long as possible their entry into the wonderful and fulfilling world of online employment.

In my experience, a uni degree will only take you so far.

I had a blast at uni. I thrived on it. But, as I learned at my first couple of jobs, the degree will give you the basics but will never replace real-world experience.

You've got the skills. Fuck honours and get amongst it.

Now, how can you ignore the advice of a man with such sartorial elegance, as displayed in my new blogger pic?

DJ said...

Please don't interpret the following as some kind of showing off, that said here's my path to where I am now:

High school: Failed it. Terribly
Uni: Didn't do it, instead paid for what was then called a "Control Data" course. Cost a packet but was all hit, no shit kind of course (They're called Interim or Computer Power or something nowadays)
Then went straight into the workforce.
I chose a job that I really wanted to do, it was with an Apple dealership and they were just starting to sell Macintoshes. I so wanted one but couldn't afford one, so figured working for a dealer I could play with them all day long and get paid for it. Sweet. I didn't care what the pay was, it was a "heart over head" choice.
It turned out to be quite a lucky choice on my part that wouldn't manifest itself until many years later.

No-one, ever, ever, along my career path gave a shit that I didnt go to Uni, they wanted to see expereince and ability, after all an employer wants you to make money for them.
Accounting firms and Law firms are probably the only two examples I've encountered where Uni degrees count for a bit. Of course others may well exist but I haven't expereniced them.
In the period 1987-1999 I went from $18Kpa job to over $212K, all with industry experience, some shrewd job changing along the way and at least one case of blind luck.

The blind luck came with a job change I was offered as second choice to another candidate after they researched the first candidate's background, they found he had some shady experiences in the past, enough to give the employer the heebie geebies. I was offered the job instead.

Now I am doing exactly what I want, have no debts and answer to only me and Mrs DJ.

So my advice is, start your career path with something that hits you in the chest rather than in the head.
A study of how going with your head instead of your heart would be my brother, he thought he was starting on a path to riches by starting to work for a Bank! I don't know where he got that from, his rationale was he could move into their share trading floor or something. Anyway, he's still working clerical jobs 15 years after unsuccessfully trying to make that move, finally leaving the bank dissilusioned.

So the short version of all this would be to line up all your options, ask yourself which one(s) hit you in the chest and make you feel all knotted in the stomach and do that/those. If you go with something that "on paper" looks ok but doesn't move you, then you may live to regret that for many many years.

missy said...


(this is just in response to your 'dream job' choice of video clip 'writer' - I could rave about the pros and cons of honours but everyone above has said it all extremely well)

Just write - don't use doing an Honors to procrastinate.

as for Video clips - it is the directors and creative partners (DOP/ Art Director / Editor etc) that make them - sure they write treatments for the clients/band but the most important thing is being visually creative and experienced with production and editing - amongst whoring yourself to record companies. you will not be hired as a 'Writer' of video clips. It just doesn't work that way. get out there and ask those who make clips to explain the video clip world.
Interview them - there's a topic. Explore the record company world - there's a topic.

just write.

mcapel said...

I recently had a life altering event happen to me. I had everything ste out for at least the next five years and I was doing extremely well. I lacked passion and motivation, but was doing well all the same. my father always said that the two hardest aspects of life are finding what you want to do and who to do it with.
I suppose that if you figure those two out too early, it can be detrimental to character development. Regardless, I wish you all the best and don't sweat the details about doing something right away. If you do something simply because you have the aptitutde for it you will undoubtedly be unhappy. So think about it, but not too much.

mahesh said...

Good Post! Very informative, glad that you are going to continue writing things like this!

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