I seem to be very adept at choosing careers that do not directly provide monetary compensation for the work I put in. If I were independently wealthy, or my husband was making enough money for me to live a life of leisure, I’d be perfectly okay with this. I’d love to create stories and do research and sometimes combine the two (Steampunk in particular) simply for the enjoyment and personal fulfillment.
Alas, that’s not very realistic.
In my very first week back to school I heard about a workshop geared for graduate students and teachers interested in publishing their work in professional journals. Although I am still an undergrad, I hope and plan to work on my masters degree at UCCS after I earn my bachelors. I was the only undergrad in the workshop, and it was both interesting and informative.
One of the main reasons for choosing History as my major is that it blends well with my fiction writing career. It also gives me many different options in the professional world after I have my degree. I could even work for the FBI!
The kind of work I enjoy most is project-based. Writing a novel, revising, querying, then hopefully being accepted then editing and publishing. I would enjoy chasing whatever ideas come to me (which reminds me…I have a specific Shakespeare-related question to ask of a specific Shakespeare professor on campus) then research them, write up my findings and publish the results. I’d love to work with other people on similar journals.
One thing that writing fiction and writing for academic purposes have in common is that, in both cases, it is very possible that you could put a great deal of work into a project and never see a single dime from it.
One of the main differences between writing fiction and writing for academia is that, in fiction, the money almost always flows to the author. If someone asks you for a fee, it is a huge flashing warning sign. In publishing your research in an academic journal, fees are normal and expected. With fiction, being asked to do something “for the exposure” is an insult, and only worthwhile to newbies who are trying to establish a name for themselves. (My first two stories were for charity. For everything else, I was paid. Not paid well, but I was paid.) In academia, one of the main goals is to have someone else cite your work. It is worthwhile to produce research that others trust and are interested in referencing for their own work.
I’ve just begun to explore the possibilities ahead of me in academia. I do believe many of the interesting paths will blend well with writing fiction. And raising a family. And finding personal fulfillment. And…well…I’m enjoying the path I’m on.
I’m just not exactly sure where it goes.