Thanks to the holidays, I’ve been able to pinpoint one thing I truly loathe about family get-togethers: the “What do you want to do with your life?” question. It seemed even worse this year, as I was forced to admit that I’d be graduating in May.
Then I hear, “I forgot, what’s your major?”
“Creative writing,” I say.
Once they wipe the What the hell is this kid on? look off their faces, they ask, “Oh, what do you want to do with that?”
I heave a sigh and give them one of the various answers I have in my arsenal. “I might go into publishing.” “I’m going to kill two years and then go to grad school.” “I’ll get my MFA and then try to teach.” “I want to write for television.”
But the real answer is that I will write. It seems obvious to me that, if I’m a creative writing major, I want to write for the rest of my life. And I realize that it’s hard for someone to be a working writer, but I never really thought I’d live by my pen. Sure, that’s the dream. But I decided to major in creative writing because there was nothing else that I really wanted to do. At the very least, I thought writing could cover a lot of bases – if I wanted to get involved in the TV industry, knowing how to write would help. If I wanted to go into advertising, a writing background would be useful. Everything I was interested in had one common denominator: writing.
And then there was the fact that I wasn’t as confident in any other field as I was in writing (although I realize that last week’s post made it abundantly clear that I’m not exactly confident in my writing either). I toyed with the idea of majoring in theater or film, but I’m just not that good of an actor, and besides watching and critiquing films, I have no technical interest in that field. I thought about teaching and then remembered how awful high school students are and decided I’d kill myself if I did that. I thought about journalism and then realized that I wasn’t satisfied with how little creativity that field offered (and then there’s the lack of job security in the modern-day world of journalism). I kept coming back to writing.
So I went for it, and even though I can be the most indecisive, wishy-washy person out there, I’ve stuck with it these past 3+ years at college.
Maybe I’ll never get a job that will involve writing. Maybe I’ll never publish anything. Maybe I’ll be like J.D. Salinger and all my writing will be for myself. But I’m glad that I decided to dive in and commit to the craft of writing. I think that, when I graduate, I’ll at least be proud that I am a much better writer now than I was in 2007, when I entered college.
Next time someone asks me what I want to do with my creative writing degree, I’m going to give them the most epic bitch face and say, “Um, I want to write. Duh.”