A writer of no trades: Life after graduation

Writing is in my blood. My childhood is marked by long afternoons spent curled up on the windowsill with a book in hand, basking in the sunbeams streaming through the window. When I began my first journal at the age of 8, I found a home in writing and never looked back. Both my writing and I have changed remarkably over the years, and it only makes sense that we should both evolve.

Questions, struggles and fears

There are so many professional writing careers that one can pursue, and to the uninitiated, the choices are overwhelming.  As I went through my second year of college, I struggled to narrow down what it was that I actually wanted to do with my degree after graduation. I wondered if I should pursue journalism, grant writing or publishing. But honestly, not feeling very passionate about these options, it occurred to me I could be wasting my time pursuing a degree that I had no idea what to do with.

I flip-flopped between ideas, and my enthusiasm for each one never failed to fizzle. I thought about grant writing for a long time before realizing it is a profession that would please others more than myself. I wanted to be a published author, but didn’t want books to be the only outlet for my writing. Copywriting was an appealing option, but still didn’t seem like the right path. How was I going to write about the things I loved if I got paid to write copy that promotes someone else’s dream? Isn’t the beauty of the written word to fully express oneself? To impact lives with ideas so great, the reader is a different and better person for having been exposed to them? If I couldn’t do that, why even bother pursuing this type of career?

Career goal checklist

I had no answers. All of my options lacked the one thing my soul desires most: freedom of creativity, location and financial burdens.

I didn’t oscillate for long. I came to realize that I’d been thinking of professional writing as a means to a career. But what if it was the other way around? What if my career could be a means to my writing? Perhaps I didn’t have to write to live; at least not in the sense I was thinking. Instead of getting paid expressly for my writing, what if I simply used my writing as a tool to attract people to my end game?

I could be my own copywriter and sell myself as, well, whatever I wanted. My mind was made up. I would blend the two things I loved most: writing and helping people. I’ll use them to build a coaching business. Cue the trumpets! Release the doves!

I don’t have everything figured out, but I have a starting point. I’m on the right path and my energy is now being directed towards building something that feels right. It’s something I’ll feel good about no matter what. Even if one of those doves decides to poop on me.

We’ve all been on this path at some point. What career did you ultimately choose? And once you chose that career, did you stick with it? Let us know in the comments section below what you did with that seemingly nefarious Bachelor of Arts degree.

Micaela Barrios is an aspiring author and life coach living in Austin, Texas. Barrios is in her junior year at St. Edward’s University, where she is majoring in creative writing. Barrios enjoys discovering new restaurants, soaking in Austin’s thriving music scene and spending quality time with nature in Texas’s many beautiful state parks.

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