••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Writing as a Career
How to Find Meaningful Work as a Writer
Keep in mind that you don’t have to box yourself into a certain set of beliefs.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been enjoying a writing career for years, everyone takes the time to stop and think about their work at some point. Maybe you’ve wondered if what you’re doing really makes a difference. Or, maybe you’ve tried to think of ways your writing could impact the lives of others. If so, you’re not alone. A recent Gallup poll found that 4 out of 5 college graduates say it’s very/extremely important to have a sense of purpose in their work.
Everyone needs a paycheck, of course. Sometimes, it can feel like we sacrifice meaningful work to pay the bills. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
No matter where you are in your writing career, there are things you can do to find meaningful work and feel more fulfilled. If you’ve been thinking about changing up the way you work for a while, now is the perfect time to do it. We’re living in a post-pandemic world where things have changed and everyone is dealing with a “new normal.” It’s a great time for a fresh start.
Whether you want to continue to write for someone else or branch out on your own as a writer, how can you find meaningful work? Let’s cover a few tips you can use to find fulfillment in your writing career, so you can start to make a difference with your words.
Understand Your Values
If you’re considering making a career switch or just trying to find more meaningful work, the first step is to determine what that means for you. If you’re having a hard time determining your core values, understand that it takes time. You can make the process easier by trying some of the following:
- Making a list of things that are important to you
- Writing down people you admire
- Considering your personal experiences
- Identifying a central theme
- Choosing your top values
Figure out what matters most to you and the type of contribution you want to make through your writing. Many writers go into this profession in the first place because they have a passion for words and want to make a difference through them. Once you have a better understanding of what matters to you, you can start to look for work in places that have similar values and beliefs.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to box yourself into a certain set of beliefs. Maybe you’re passionate about sustainability and want to work for a green business that incorporates sustainable best practices into its operations. On top of that, you might be an animal rights activist or a fighter for gender equality in the workplace. It’s okay to allow yourself to press forward with multiple passions once you discover what they are.
Know Where to Look
There are major corporations that probably immediately come to mind when you think about core values and beliefs. Chick-fil-A is undoubtedly one of the most notable. The company is open about its practices and beliefs. While it gets plenty of negative attention from that, it has been chosen as America’s favorite fast-food restaurant more than once.
As a writer, you’re probably not going to end up making chicken sandwiches. But, there are other companies out there who are proud of their values and beliefs. If you’re looking for work at an existing business that shares your beliefs, be sure to do your research. Most companies are proud to share their stories, mission statements, and values on their website.
It’s also a good idea to look at any media attention surrounding different companies, too. Any business can boast about its values. But, what are other people saying?
It can feel overwhelming, at first, to seek out businesses that line up with your beliefs and values. But, they’re out there – and they are growing. Because meaningful work is so important to the Millennial generation and younger, more businesses are going to have to be transparent about their values if they want the best employees.
Stand Out From Others by Staying True to Yourself
Being a writer allows you to work for a business or be a freelancer. Either way, you need to be able to stand out. If you want to work for a company, that involves creating a resume and portfolio that expresses who you are. Hiring managers only look at resumes for a few seconds before moving on to the next. So, it’s important to capture their attention immediately with your work.
You can improve your chances of standing out and getting hired by going above and beyond the traditional portfolio. Some tips to keep in mind include:
- Networking with those in your industry
- Shadowing with someone in the company you want to work for
- Sending in a video resume
- Creating your own blog for potential employers to review
If you want to go the freelance route, you’d be in good company. As of 2017, there were over 57 million freelancers in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly shot that number even higher, and it’s expected that by 2027, the majority of the workforce will be made up of freelancers.
||As a freelancer, your focus should be on standing out to prospective clients. The market might seem saturated, but there’s always room for more if you have a unique and powerful voice.
Alternatively, you can try to branch out on your own by starting your own blog or company. You can find meaning in that work by writing about your personal stories, or writing about things that everyone is going through. In this post-pandemic world, that might include things like:
- Job loss
- Health scares
- Financial problems
Now, more than ever, people want to feel a connection to others. They want to feel heard and understood, but they might not have the means to express themselves. If you start a blog or even write for clients, you can use your own experiences or the state of the world to create something that resonates with readers. Making a positive impact with even one person is beyond worth the time and effort.
As tempting as it can be to fall into writing strictly for a paycheck, that’s likely not why you got into this industry. Take a look at your values and beliefs and what they really mean to you. No matter who you write for or how you publish your work, standing up for meaningful subjects will leave you feeling fulfilled and satisfied as you look back on your career.
© Indiana Lee 7.28.21
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