You have done something that most people will never understand. You have just graduated… with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing.
The starving artist, they will call you.
The struggling writer, they will call you.
When they picture your future, they will see dark rooms lit by single desk lamps, workspaces piled high with fluttering manuscripts, and you—hunched over, bags under your eyes and a red pen clenched in one fist. They see mountains of rejection letters and they feel your torment and they will wonder ‘Why did she decide to get a degree in writing?’
Reality: you will face rejection and torment. But you knew this. You’re a writer. You’ve been thinking about it since you first decided to go for a writing degree all those years ago. But now you’re crossing the stage and shaking hands and wait a second, you actually have to go out there and make a living with this now.
It’s going to be all right. Like I said: you knew this. Four (or more) hard years of work are behind you, and before you is a life full of imaginative possibilities.
Two years ago, at a school event, an adult asked me what my major was, and I answered truthfully—writing.
“Oh…” he said. “What do you plan to do with that degree?”
A flash of rage passed over me. I managed to dampen my tone just before I spoke.
“Whatever I want,” I said.
It’s still true. I knew my rage was justified. It takes guts to go for an arts degree in a culture dominated by a moneymaking mindset. But the options are growing every day, and the key ingredient to making your way as a professional writer is persistence. Even if people call you a starving artist and a struggling writer, you must remember that's not the important part. Sticking with your passions and pushing to make them reality are what will keep you afloat.
Remember also that your writing degree is indeed worth something. It will get you interviews with businesses that are looking for writers with educational experience and involvement. It proves you had the focus and dedication to complete something huge, and are now willing to apply those skills to the workforce. It shows you can handle responsibility. And the amount of jobs related to writing is actually pretty high. Social media is a huge field, as is freelancing and even opportunities like guest blogging or book reviews. The jobs are out there. It might not be doctor or lawyer level pay, but once again: you knew this. You persist anyway.
A wise friend once said ‘If you can write, you’re already two steps ahead of anyone else.’
In other words, communication deserves far more credit than it gets. Take pride in your writing degree and aspire to use it however you wish. Writing is the most immortal prospect in all humanity, and you have chosen to be part of that immortality.
You’re an officially-recognized writer now. Step out there and write.