Tuesday 21st May 2024

So you want to be a writer?

Writing Career

Last month was my university reunion. It’s been 10 years since a group of hopeful young actors (including me) left drama school and went out into the big wide world. Some stayed in the industry and are successfully making a living as writers, directors, performers, casting agents, and other glamorous sounding jobs. Some have left it all behind and are working in offices, schools, or hospitals. Some (like me) have found themselves making a career out of a stopgap job, and are just getting back into doing something creative in order to preserve their sanity! I loved writing. I loved doing it. I don’t know why I stopped for so long!

I moved back home to the North, where things were cheaper and I could find a ‘proper’ job.

I gave up on my idea of a creative career about two years after graduation. I worked very briefly as an actor, and was afforded the luxury because my then-partner’s folks had a place near our old uni, and were letting me live there for buttons. No acting work? No problem! I could live in London practically free! I had one job on TV which I thought would be my big break, but resulted in nothing. I then worked steadily as a bar manager, then I got a job doing kids’ theatre. This brought me to a horrific realisation: I hated being an actor. I hated the hours. I hated the repetitive nature of the work. I hated driving a van through London. I hated that no casting directors were going to see me, and it would lead to no further work. I hated that I knew the director hated me. I spent the entire time miserable, as I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.

After that job finished, I was out of work and living off the money I’d saved doing the acting job – the money wasn’t bad! I quickly realised that no acting work was coming my way any time soon. There were no auditions, and I hadn’t been savvy enough with the networking at uni to get any work with old chums. It sunk in that I was going to have to go back to working behind a bar again, and I pretty much hated that too.

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‘I want to write.’ I said, a bit embarrassed. ‘Then be a writer!’ She said, ‘write something!’

A month or so later, the boyfriend dumped me and I moved back home to the North, where things were cheaper and I could find a ‘proper’ job. Thank goodness for the family who took me in rent free so that I could sort myself out! Unfortunately, that meant that the idea of a job in a creative field had to go on the back burner. There was no acting work in the North East, and writing jobs all required, well, a writing qualification. My drama school degree was quickly not worth the paper it was written on. There was only one thing for it – I had to join a call centre. You know, just until I work out how to get a creative job…

Fast forward eight years to now. I have a call centre career, I own a house, have a car, and pay into a pension, like a grown up! When I went to the reunion, one of the girls asked me about my work, and I made some sort of ‘hmmm aarrr’ noise about what I was doing.

Financially, I can’t afford to be a creative person. Personally, I can’t afford not to be!

‘What do you want to do?’ She pressed, in her enthusiastic style, exactly as she used to do when we were in uni.

‘I want to write.’ I said, a bit embarrassed, which seems ridiculous since I was drinking with a group of people who either have or had ‘actor’ as their job title at some point!

‘Then be a writer!’ She said, ‘write something!’

Now, I’d love to tell you that one of my former classmates runs a very successful publication, and snapped me up, and that my full time job is blogging for awesome websites like this one, but that’s not how this story ends, yet! I did listen to that girl, though. I ramped up the writing on my own blog, and I searched for places that I could submit articles to. That’s how I ended up here.

Financially, I can’t afford to be a creative person. Personally, I can’t afford not to be!

Rosie Earl

Uber-geek and tv addict. Keen writer and professional trainer in the financial sector. Rubbish at maths

  1. Another blog I really enjoyed reading thanks Rosie. You are a brilliant writer and you can do it (and as you say, you have to!) Kudos on living the house – car – pension dream too. Nadia x

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