Is anyone else here an undergraduate studying English with an impending fear that their life will peter out into mediocrity due to insufficient writing talent, connections, and drive? I write a reasonable amount but my stuff has hit a glass-ceiling in terms of quality, and my self-belief has slowly whittled away. Before I contented myself that I could turn into a sort of willing Bukowski or Henry Miller or Jack Kerouac, roaming from job to job and place to place with only artistic ambition to guide me, but now my luster has rusted.
The option of doing a Masters glimmers in the distance, but I don't think it'll increase my job prospects or achieve anything more meaningful that an additional bit of debt and another year marooned in my rather limited country.
Has anyone else felt this before, been in this kind of position? What did you do? What happened in the end? Am I destined for a life of quiet desperation?
>getting an english major with aspirations of being a creative writer
wew lad you're dumb
this is why english majors are a joke now - everyone wants to be DFW instead of wanting to be a bloom (or replace bloom with your critic of choice if you dislike him, the point stands). English is meant to teach analysis and criticism not some wishy washy creative writing bullshit.
And since you're too stupid to realize this I doubt you're gonna succeed at being a writer.
>I write a reasonable amount but my stuff has hit a glass-ceiling in terms of quality
It isn't, there's a reason every author wants their earliest and oldest works destroyed on their death.
Switch majors and learn to code
Even better - mortgage life further via loans and do hard STEM, engineering
If you're too math-dumb, take 2 years off of school to work, save money, and practice your way to k-12 calculus
You'll learn about real life. The fact that you find this path revolting is your clue to your most damning character flaws
B) do extremely well on the LSAT and go to a Top 15 law school
C) resolve that you love literature more than you love social respectability or financial success, embrace poverty, become a permanently non-tenure academic
Option C givea you more time to practice writing but not by a huge margin. In all 3 cases i assume you have the mental grit to practice in your spare time and will become competent in 10-15 years
>impending fear that their life will peter out into mediocrity due to insufficient writing talent, connections, and drive?
dont worry I didn't study english and have the exact same problem anyhow
study what you want you wont get a job anyway
>too stupid to realize this really personal opinion I have of a complex topic
>hurr le a faggot on the internet knows you were doomed from the start maynay
Ah just lay off it nigga and go back to memeing about Pynchon. You faggots are tedious as fuck
why would you aspire to be like certifiably miserable fucks kerouac or bukowski? also if you want to pursue writing, you can't aim for greatness or quality or fame, you just have to try and write better than you used to. also also, mediocrity as you describe it is a self-pitying designation that doesn't exist to people who aren't in college and who feel real world pressures. so lighten up and enjoy being young - keep writing and stop doubting yourself before you've even fucking done anything.
>Is anyone else here an undergraduate studying English with an impending fear that their life will peter out into mediocrity due to insufficient writing talent, connections, and drive? I write a reasonable amount but my stuff has hit a glass-ceiling in terms of quality, and my self-belief has slowly whittled away. Before I contented myself that I could turn into a sort of willing Bukowski or Henry Miller or Jack Kerouac, roaming from job to job and place to place with only artistic ambition to guide me, but now my luster has rusted.
>The option of doing a Masters glimmers in the distance, but I don't think it'll increase my job prospects or achieve anything more meaningful that an additional bit of debt and another year marooned in my rather limited country.
>Has anyone else felt this before, been in this kind of position? What did you do? What happened in the end? Am I destined for a life of quiet desperation?
Fuck, this is exactly what I feel every single day. Surely there's a book about this? It's made so much worse by being a scrawny sperg with very little job experience. Not even McDonalds wants me.
An English degree doesn't make you an instant fiction writer (not economically successful anyway.) While some jobs look for that critical analysis and good communication skills, it's not going to do much in the real world.
Why not join the trade for money? It's way better than just sitting around than mourning over your bitter future.
Damn nigger just get a job it's not that hard and live in a shitty neighborhood. Move if you have to. My writing is cringeworthy still but there's always room to improve if you put in enough effort.
Bukowski, Miller, and Kerouac didn't finish college. Hell, I don't think Bukowski or Miller even went at all. What do you expect to learn there? What is the matter with your writing?
Have there been any great writers who majored in English (particularly writers you admire)? I think it's a waste of time. In Martin Eden, Jack London describes writing 19 hours a day. How much do write?
If you really love writing, you have to figure out how to evolve. Stand on your head, take drugs, get a job as a clown, write until you fall asleep at the keyboard, whatever. But if you're not willing to push yourself past a little dry spell, you'll never go anywhere.
Not that guy, but it's true. Because of the recession job market, students are flooding CS departments. The only reason a lot of these graduates are so employed is a glut of fresh startups trying to be the next Facebook. 95% of these startups aren't earning a dime, but are kept afloat by a venture capital market that is absolutely a bubble. Every big market bubble has looked exactly like this, and it's going to burst in the next two years, leaving lots of people with highly perishable coding skills out of work.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't do CS if you're legitimately awesome at it, especially if you were into it before college. The top companies and the government will always fight for top talent.
If you want to do CS because you heard it has, like, really good job prospects, check yourself.
If you go to an elite school, you have way more options than this, even with an English major.
Also the government and big companies do everything they can to bring in foreign workers who will undercut you, in addition to the rapidly expanding number of fresh CS grads who will also try to undercut you.
Either find a different field of work or find a low-paying job in academia. Honestly if you have no desire to continue further with your writing the options are either admit you probably aren't much of a creative writer, or spend more than half your day writing and reading. University rarely pushes out good writers or teaches you how to write creatively, if you're a good writer you won't need a degree to prove it.
He's right though. Many of the most successful/lauded authors of all time didn't major in English or even go to college.
College and getting a degree doesn't teach you to fucking write. Writing and reading does. And it's not just reading that does it but analyzing what those people you read did.
Truth of the matter is if you aren't willing to spend at least 2-3 hours of the day and at least five or six days a week writing, you likely aren't going to become a good writer.
If you truly do love writing, you'll devote the time to getting better at it.
and on a football scholarship.
lol, looked better, wrote better and played sports better than lit students. lollolol
were the such things as jocks in the 40's?
It'sjust so hard to imagine someone ona football scholarship now bein a good writer.
Yeah, except he played football at Columbia though. Football at Columbia is notoriously shit-tier.
>Source: GF is a Columbia alum and I know a shitload of Columbia people. Talking shit about the football program and lack of interest in the football program is a regular topic of discussion.
>were the such things as jocks in the 40's?
Yes. When you form a contraction for a decade you don't put an apostrophe behind the zero, you put it in front since that's the part you're omitting. It's '40s, not 40's. Stop doing that shit.
the world of literature is dead. you aren't going to thrive anywhere.
that said, a full b.a. in anything is always better than an incomplete one. even if you just end up applying for data entry jobs or what have you.
completing a degree shows that you can follow through with things.
Nope. I'm an undergrad studying creative writing, soon to graduate. I'll submit a short story or two and win a fellowship. I'll settle shortly in a nice clean town in New England, finish my current project which will be a best seller and (deservedly) win both The National Book Award and the Pulitzer prize. I'll continue my education as a grad, working my way through the MFA program on my second book, which doesn't get quite as much praise the first, but I still get shitloads of money. After I get my MFA, I'll get position as a professor of creative writing at University of Iowa. There it will be hard to keep up with novel writing to business. Luckily I keep publishing short stories and essays to keep me on the map. It will be a solid ten years of one working project that be my magnum opus. I take a year vacation in my hometown with my wife (pic related) in that New England town where I wrote my first novel. 3 years after that with only one book on my mind, I die of liver poisoning. I'll be 46. My project does not get published posthumously. I had had no kids because I was sterile.
I get where you're coming from, there are a lot of students in my program that haven't learned a thing since they'd started. They're mostly just kids who came wanting only to write fantasy and horror and shit.
Actually, thinking about it... growing up, it seemed like a large amount of what I read and watched had a theme of escaping middle-class mediocrity- 'sure, you have the big house and the car, but are you really living your dreams?' stuff like American Beauty. Stoner's similar in a way, in that he seems to get a pretty comfortable material existence pretty easily.
But now that I'm older, it feels like that 'mediocre' middle-class existence is actually incredibly hard to attain- it's not looking like I'm going to get to the (modest) level of wealth my parents had. Is this just a growing older thing? A misrepresentation on the part of art? Or is it because things genuinely were easier in the past and the western world is in decline?
I don't think the western world is in decline, I think the world's just getting smaller and we're in closer competition with foreign super powers. Which economy is going to win the commercial war; the one that pays pensions, or the one that dumps waste wherever the fuck is most commercially convenient? The one that pays thousands of US dollars in yearly salaries, or the one that pays in grains of rice?
America needs to hurry up and get the one world government thing going so we can end this suicidal level of consumption.
No wonder other writers got so mad at his vital lively prose and tremendous success, they thought they had their little sanctuary and here comes Kerouac to fuck their girls and take their readers.
The Ivy League was good back in the day. It's basically not until they started letting black people play NCAA ball that the big state schools pulled so far ahead.
With regards to jobs, it's just a matter of university prestige and alumni networks, not the English department itself.
This is true. T14 schools are for if you want to do big corporate law.
>He wants to be a writer but doesn't care about how his sentences look regardless of what he types. Even on fucking 4chan.
Yea you're definitely not gonna make it. Mistakes are fine and you can certainly improve from them. Apathy you can't.
>tfw can suck shit at writing as long as my insights are good
SUCK MY COCK WANNABE NOVELIST FAGGOTS
I know five white people who went into STEM. Four are struggling to find a job doing something they truly enjoy because they have to compete against Indians and Asians whose parents either moved to the States before they were born or sent them to school here.
The fifth has a pretty sweet government gig and it's largely because her dad is good friends with a well-connected congressman.
Despite the government's promise of creating more STEM jobs, the competition for them is unreal and you aren't Indian/Asian or don't have connections, good luck with that.
Are there even any real writers on /lit/? It seems like a bunch of mediocre liberal arts students begging for approval from each other. It's shocking these people think becoming a writer is a viable career path with the bile they spew out. Most of them will probably end up as insurance salesmen once reality finally sets in.
I'm sure there are a few here who devote several hours a day to their craft and are driven to one day make it through hard work. These people are thick-skinned, realize they will never master the art of writing and don't need to seek the approval of others. All they can do is keep writing and reading to get better at it.
They may not all become successful authors, but a good chance a few of them may shit out something. It's possible they may not even become authors either, but instead go into screenwriting or video game writing. Both viable career paths.
Then you have 95% of the chucklefucks on here who aspire to become writers but will never make it because they think they're already at their peak or don't take it seriously enough.
Almost all of the great writers have one thing in common and it's that they wrote a fucking lot. I don't think you need the 19 hours a day Jack London did but if you aren't doing at least 1k-2k words a day your shit is gonna stink.
I remember reading a thing recently where almost all of the currently most successful authors do at least 2k words a day and did that for an average of like 5 years before they published anything that made money.
Many of the autists of /lit/ don't do that because they don't truly love writing, they just want to make a buck off of it.
>Many of the autists of /lit/ don't do that because they don't truly love writing, they just want to make a buck off of it.
hey now that's rude, I want to make a buck off of writing because it's what I hate least among the various activities that might allow me not to starve and die
Here's what's up man
There isn't a direct path to becoming a writer. If you write, you're a writer, that's it. What determines the quality of your writing, I've found, isn't really up to your education.
One thing I think about often when contemplating this kind of stuff is that William Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying working as a nighttime security guard. So really the thing that matters is that you're writing always, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Your pen will guide you.
The thing about being s good writer, and this is why I often don't take /lit/ seriously and sort of see it as a circle jerk of pretension, is that it requires being yourself in the truest sense, and using your own voice. Everyone on here wants to be someone else, they're all constantly comparing themselves to other authors of trying to imitate styles or just straight flaunt in your face "hey I know more about literature than you do suck my literary cock". Very few of them have an actual voice of their own, something to say about the world they live in.
If you wanna be a writer, write. If you wanna lead an interesting life, do that. But the most important thing, is that of you want your voice to be heard, use your voice, because that's the only thing that's going to improve the quality of your writing and turn it from something cute to something authentic.
100% spot on. But the fact is, 99% of people on Lit will never graduate beyond imitating whatever book they last read, because:
A. They don't write enough
B. They only want to write the next ebin novel of our times
C. All they are able to write about are sexually anguished, edgy/outcast young men
I agree with you for the most part, but what you said about using other people's techniques can also be seen really as an emulation to get the narrator's point across. I only say this because in my current project I use a couple Faulkner techniques, but in my case there's an actual reason and it isn't arbitrary.
So I think it's alright to emulate (subtly, hopefully) a technique so long as you're doing it right and not the fuck of it, or to sound cool.
There is nothing wrong with C considering we live in a time of unprecedented isolation and upheaval of man's place in society. It might even be the most relevant theme one can write anout today.
I'm pretty late to this thread, but I graduated with an B.A in English. I currently work as an English teacher in Vietnam, teaching English to children and tutoring college kids. I am considering getting a masters online to start teaching ESL in college.
Honestly if you are an English major your only choices are teaching, going to grad school to become a professor, or go to law school. I became an English major because I wanted to teach English overseas, but I also enjoy writing and hope to publish a few things in the future.
Many English and other liberal arts majors go to law school. Law is kinda a over saturated market right now so I'm not sure. And yeah there is a huge demand for English teachers in Asia right now.
Well, yeah. If you're an edgy young man, don't write about it because your story's been glutting the fucking story market for generations. It's been done to death. Also, stop it for your own sake - angst isn't that cool without perspective and a hook of some sort (which may explain "genre" and TV writers that get away with it - with mixed results).
At any rate, "be yourself" because other people do themselves better than you. Synthesize others, emulate their styles for practice, but for God's sake don't publish to be a second-rate imitation of your favorite - the fans notice.
This is such a dumb meme. Have you read Faulkner? Obviously Faulkner was an inspiration on Cormac, especially his earlier stuff, but neither subject matter nor form reflects Faulkner.
Is there any point in going to college right now? I'm 25 and thought about going back to college (I went for graphic design but dropped out years ago) for philosophy or something. I asked them if they started with the Greeks and they said yes, so at least my inquiry was funny to me.
I don't really want to do it but I lack options on what to do with my life even now when everyone I know has theirs somewhat together. Could I just get the same education by reading the stuff on my own? I feel like going into debt is a bit useless.
you can definitely get the same education on your own, but having a tutor / teacher speeds things up and also directs your critical energy so you're not simply reading chronologically. having teachers also helps to familiarize yourself with the current state of your field. but you can also find these things elsewhere, it'll simply be much more difficult (esp. because no one is obligated to give a crap about you). i can point to things that I've picked up in college that i would've missed had i not gone
don't go unless you can get subsidized.
I'm taking English secondary education and gunna be a high school English teacher
Was this dumb of me? It seems like an easy job with decent pay and 100% job security in a field I enjoy
English Studies aren't about writing - that's why most universities have a Creative Writing degree you can take as a minor at undergrad then in post or some such. I know at my uni you can do Short Fiction 1A, 1B, 1C, Honours, Masters and PhD and out of that, under the guidance of a published author, you will: Write a 1500 word short story, a 3000 word short story, a 4500 word short story, a 12k to 15k word novella, a short novel of 50k words, and a novel of 90k to 120k words.
I admire the kids I meet doing that. I don't know if I could expose my chicken scratchings to the critique of a professional the way they do.
>Law is kinda a over saturated market right now
>kinda ... over saturated
Ya nah. Getting a law degree now amounts to getting 200k in debt for a 50% chance of getting a 50k a year job where you'll work 60-80 hours a week doing something that is unbelievably boring.
>You'll learn about real life. The fact that you find this path revolting is your clue to your most damning character flaws