In our new “What I Wish I Knew Then” series, we ask successful graduates in specific fields the question, “What do you wish you knew about your career that you didn’t know when you graduated?”
This month, we’re diving into the world of fiction writing. We switched it up a little bit though and instead of reaching out to grads, we contacted several of Full Sail’s Creative Writing for Entertainment and Creative Writing MFA Course Directors. These instructors are all published authors themselves – they’ve been through the ups and downs of first drafts and revisions and pitches and everything else in between – and they’ve got great advice to give to those looking to break into the field and get their own work published. Check out what they had to say below.
“Never say: ‘That’s not my thing.’ You can have a specialty and passion, but be flexible and be prepared to learn new things. If you can tell a story, you can learn a format. Don’t fail because you’re not willing to try.” – Sid Williams, Literary Genre II: Horror, Mystery, and Suspense
“Make life choices that nurture your creativity, and keep your foot on the gas. It’s so easy to let life get in the way of your creative work, and we all have other priorities with jobs, family, and other obligations. Just make sure that writing remains a top priority, and you’re always working on a project or thinking about your next project. The only words that will never be read are the ones you never write.” – Alicia Guy, Children’s Entertainment
“The biggest thing is networking. I knew I needed to know the editors in order to sell stories to them, but it didn’t hit me early on that I needed to know as many people possible in the industry in order to maximize my ring(s) of contacts. Looking back it’s so easy to see a lot of agreements are about who you know and not what you know.” – Roland Mann, Writing Workshop III: Writing for Comics and Animation
“I wish I’d known how long it was going to take. In fact, I still don’t know. What I do know now is that persistence is key to success as a writer. Everyone’s path is different, so it’s only useful to look ahead, rather than at the road behind you or the paths other writers are taking. Live in the moment, love what you’re doing, and keep writing!” – Julie Anne Wight, Literary Research
“This is the thing I wish I had known that I know now: Writers have to write. When I ignored and denied something so essential about myself, everything in my life got out of balance. I knew that I needed to write or be a part of the writing world. So, my advice to any new writer is to write. The odds of success in this business are daunting. But if this is what you were put on the planet to do, there will be a way for you to succeed.” –Deborah Staley, Creative Writing Portfolio Assembly I
“Everything is a sales job. You sell yourself at an interview. You sell your skills to a client. You sell a new idea to your boss. Become an excellent communicator because all jobs require articulation. Learn how to pitch and the best way to learn is to practice. A great pitch will get you the job, the client, and funding.” – Evan Hewitt, Filmmaking Concepts and Practice (Film Production MFA)