Updated: Oct 8
By Will Eichler
I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2019, utterly unsure of what I would do now that I no longer had the safety net of college to delay figuring out how “who I was.” So, I spent the summer after my graduation applying for jobs regularly, seeking out what connections I had, and embodying the stereotype of the listless college graduate afraid to take the final steps into adulthood.
I talked with a family friend who happened to work in the publishing industry. After I gave one of her colleagues my resumé, I felt confident that I would quickly secure a position where I could begin a promising career. My God, was I wrong about that.
So, I completed more applications. I kept in touch with friends from school to see what they were doing. And I gradually began to realize that I might be left behind.
I was frustrated. I was angry. I felt cheated. I spent four years securing a degree, improving my skills as a writer, and trying to figure out, to put it bluntly, what the hell I would do with it. At one time, I was dedicated to life as a teacher, but after multiple personal upheavals, that life no longer seemed to be the right fit for me. Then, according to the many places I was applying to, neither was the life of a writer. I applied to be an editor, a copywriter, a proofreader, a blog writer, and every other job posting with some variation of those words I could find. I had no luck.
I was lucky in different ways, though; my parents didn’t mind me living at home, and I was not dealing with intense debt like many other recent graduates. I lived in a privileged environment, but I was still unsure of what to do moving forward. I did not know how to find work as a writer.
After an untold number of applications, I found an unpaid internship and was working part-time at a bakery. I followed this up with an ill-fated attempt to be a teacher, which sadly didn’t last. Seven months after I graduated, I was still stuck in the same place. It was not until Cheryl Scheir offered me a position with Next Page Ink that I found a way to gain experience and regularly work as a writer and editor.
I wrote this entry with the idea that I would start this blog off, explaining how I managed to find work as a writer, but it’s honestly more of a venting session about the difficulties I had trying to do just that. It took connections and luck to carve a small space for myself in this field, and now I’m doing what I can to chisel away at my surroundings so that space might become a little larger. I hope that my writing will help others (you) realize that you are not alone in the struggles you may be facing as young or aspiring writers. Maybe I’ll be able to provide a little bit of insight into how to find a place for yourself, even if it is just by telling you to do the things I did not.