To understand whether majoring professional writing will make you happy, it helps to know what a real-life professional writer does. As an example, I interviewed a professional writer, George Allen, who commonly consults with University Science Professors to help them write grants. Typically, George works on several projects at once, with the goal of helping his clients get government funding. “The great thing about working in science,” George explains,” is that the people you meet are so diverse.” George works eight to twelve hour days, but gets to decide on his own hours, “except when I’m up against the deadline,” George says. “As long as the work gets done, the people I work with are happy.” Additionally, George takes on many roles, for example, he works chiefly as an editor on some projects, while he helps to develop the content for others. For George, the projects he works on are his real passion, but this doesn’t always have to be true. Some English students think of professional writing as a good way to pay the bills while they work on their creative endeavors. In theory, this works out because professional writing is easier to monetize than creative writing, and, at the same time, professional writing is a good way to practice writing skills. On the whole, professional writing may be a good fit if you enjoy:
- Helping others solve problems
- Interviewing subject matter experts
- Designing diagrams
- Creating website content
- Managing a corporate voice
To better understand whether these are a good fit, you might want to try taking a personal inventory. One way to do that is to set out some paper and start listing attributes and interests that you have. Below are a set of categories that may help jog your memory and keep you brainstorming. Feel free to add to this list.
- Jobs you have held
- Classes you enjoyed
- Projects you have done
- Skills you have
- Types of people you enjoy working with
After you finish brainstorming and have a few pages, look to find some patterns. If you see yourself enjoying things like writing, problem solving, organizing, teaching, interviewing, and meeting people, then it would be good for you to explore the professional writing major by taking some related English courses.