Whether you’re still in college exploring your options in this industry or you’ve gotten a taste of what writing and publishing careers have to offer, here are 5 top career tips from a bunch of successful professionals already in this field to help you navigate your next steps:
- PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HOBBIES
Before entering or even pursuing a career it’s important first to deeply explore your hobbies. Pay attention to where your interests lead you. “‘Make your hobby your career’ is probably the best career advice I’ve found,” publisher and founder of the Washington Gardener Magazine Kathy Jentz said. Examine your extracurriculars and where you’re spending your free time. Your interests can point you in the direction of a potential career choice. From there you can further explore opportunities and experiences that can lead to a full-time job related to that interest. Your exact field of interest might not become your actual job, but it helps you understand yourself and what you want to do. Writing coach John DeDakis seconds this advice. “Study what you’re interested in, with the understanding that that may not be what you end up doing. But if you find something that you’re good at and that you love, that I think is the recipe forward.”
- SHOW UP EVERY DAY
Once you’ve landed an internship or job, you’ll be balancing work with your personal life, maybe even on top of school. It’s normal to have issues outside of your work, or even at work, that may affect your performance. But what’s even more important is being able to show up despite that. “Show up to work every day, whether you had a good day yesterday or a bad day yesterday. It’s important that you show up every day and do the work,” CEO and publisher of Mascot Books Naren Aryal said. To the best of your abilities, it’s important to take little steps in your work every day. In the long run, you’ll be happy you kept pushing. On that same note, however, make sure you’re paying attention to your boundaries and mental health. Pushing through and persevering may help you stay on top of your work life, but don’t do so at the expense of your mental wellness.
- DON’T ALWAYS BE RIGHT
In the writing and publishing industry you’ll be working with all sorts of people, superiors and other colleagues . Either way, clear communication will be important. Constantly working closely with people can lead to disagreements and arguments. Writing coach and former CNN copy editor John DeDakis says the best advice he’s ever gotten is to just chill. “I’ve learned over the years to dial it down, notch it back, don’t always be right,” he said. Angry people don’t come to agreements or conclusions. He advises us to step back and chill before engaging in a disagreement. Once the intensity leaves that conversation, both parties are more able and also more likely to listen to each other.
- DO SOMETHING CREATIVE ON YOUR OWN
In very collaborative and creative fields, it’s important that you have something that is all your own. Mo Rocca, a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and host of CBS’s The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, says “if you have something that’s creatively, yours, that will nourish you.” If you can find something in your work that you can really take ownership over, on the other side of things, demands from a boss or suggestions from an editor that you don’t necessarily like won’t feel as bad. You always have your one work baby that you can come back to and that you have full creative ownership over.
- FOCUS YOUR HAPPINESS ON 100% EFFORT
It might seem tempting to grab every opportunity to advance your career, but sometimes it’s better to be patient. Eric Weiner, journalist and author of The New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss, advises to put “100% effort and I would add intention to what you’re doing, but have exactly 0% invested in the results.” This advice is easier said than done. However, not investing yourself in the results and the future prepares you better for potential disappointments. Focus on what you have complete control over and not what’s up in the air. “Don’t tie your happiness to results, tie your happiness to the effort and intention you put to something,” he says.
If you want to hear more career advice from these professionals or learn more about their careers, visit the Time4Coffee website to listen to their full episodes.