04 August 2006

Wannabes - part 2

Following on from the guy on the business forum I network on, who fancied being a copywriter because he thought he could "have a crack at it", more wannabes are emerging from the woodwork.

It's definitely the silly season, or the heat...

The latest is a 16-year-old who has no shortage of ambition and drive and wants to make lots of money. Does he want to learn a skill and put the graft in? No. He publicly tossed a few ideas around on the forum - offering a personal newspaper delivery service was one. Teaching football to primary kids was another. Then he decided that because his school teacher had praised his creative writing, that he ought to become a professional writer. I asked him if he wanted to be a journalist or write novels and pointed him towards a few websites so he could read around and consider his options. I encouraged him to ask me any questions and he sent me a private message asking about routes into professional writing. He wanted to know what books he could learn from. I sent him a lengthy reply, with more web links, pointing out that he should consider an NCTJ course.

Next thing, he's started a new thread asking for advice on offering book-keeping services. Every single reply he got suggested he get an accounting qualification of some sort. He didn't reply to these very helpful people who generously offered him advice.

But I did get another message from him, this time asking about copywriting. He'd done some research on the net and found a course that was industry-recognised but told me he didn't want to do it. Could I recommend a book instead that he could learn from?

By now I was exasperated. His motivation is clearly to make money (and I don't doubt that one day he will succeed), but I wonder where his passion really lies. It seems he just wants to launch straight into a profession with no training or experience, in the belief that it will make his fortune. Ha! I wish. I told him of the thousands of experienced, talented journalists out there, struggling to survive because of low rates of pay, and doing PR and copywriting to make ends meet. And I asked him why he didn't want to go on a course. Needless to say, I got no response.

Cue big sigh... I kind of admire his chutzpah but unless his heart is really in his chosen route to fame and fortune, I doubt he'll make it. What happened to learning and hard work?

My best friend has decided to become a copy editor - she, by contrast, has taken the wise step of getting the right training (she has the raw talent and I'm encouraging her all the way) before she jacks in her current job. This bright teenager (bright in every other way) thinks he can take a short cut. If only it were that simple.

4 comments:

Linda said...

Oh I can relate to every word you say. (I mean how difficult can becoming a journalist be, right?)

I enjoyed this post and copied it to the JournoBiz forum:

http://renegadewriterblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/ask-not-what-writers-can-do-for-you.html

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Um well, not sure if I'm pleased or not about my post being copied. Would have been polite to ask first. I don't have access to the JournoBiz forum so I can't see what's been said.

Linda said...

No I'm sorry, I didn't mean your post, I meant the one I was just trying to link to - that's copy the link to - not copy the post - it's on the Renegade Writer blog and talks about what people can do to help themselves before asking the same old questions, which I hoped may be interesting. Anyway all the best. I was also under the impression anyone could access JournoBiz so sorry about that too. Oh well.

wordsmith_for_hire said...

No problem! :) I realised after I'd posted my last comment that you probably meant the other link, which was also a very good blog. You have to sign up to JournoBiz or you can't read anything on there at all. Cheers.