How to Avoid Homelessness and Starvation As a Writer

2357395211_d874e4a566As the MFA vs. NYC book launches, as Emily Gould’s essay from said book makes the rounds, and as the bookternet explodes over the latest publishing controversy, I can’t help but be bored by the whole school vs. experience argument. I mean, forget all that. We’ve been arguing that one to death for eons. What really pops out to me in Gould’s essay is the financial hole she eventually found herself in—being somewhat familiar with financial holes myself.

Full disclosure: I never went to grad school, and have always been happy with where my autodidacticism has gotten me. I happen to learn more effectively by diving into experiences with only a moderate level of preparedness vs. sitting in a classroom and taking notes.

Still, I believe that no matter which path you take as a writer, you will sometimes feel like a success, you will sometimes feel like a failure, and you will always have to work hard to maintain self-sufficiency.

With that being said, here are my own tips for avoiding homelessness and starvation as a writer, influenced heavily by my own experiences.Continue Reading

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why “Do What You Love” Is Bad Advice

find a job you loveIn 2005, Steve Jobs gave a now-famous graduation speech at Stanford University. “You’ve got to find what you love,” he said.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

“Yes! This is the Truth about careering!” Said everyone, ever.

Or okay, most of us. Who read or heard it.
And who also are privileged enough to have lives in which such an admonition has any chance of being follow-able.

Oh darn.Continue Reading