Writing can be both a profitable and satisfying career, a panel of professional writers advised students on Tuesday night at an event hosted by Career Services.
John Miller, director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College, said journalism is a great place to begin a career in writing.
“A lot of people think if you work at the Collegian, you’re training to be a newspaper writer, which is one thing you might be doing, but really what you’re learning to do is how to how to tell stories, and write well, which is a highly transferable skill,” Miller said.
The event, hosted by Career Services at Hillsdale College, attempted to give resources and materials to young and aspiring writers within the student body.
The panel included Miller, Professor of History Wilfred McClay, Hillsdale Scott McClellan ’18, and Director and Editor-in-Chief of the South Dakota State Historical Society Dedra Birzer.
“Find opportunities to write and edit,” Birzer said. “Do not let good writing go to waste.”
Freshman Kamden Mulder said it was encouraging to hear from men and women who have been able to excel in a field she is interested in.
“Hearing how all of the panelists have been successful, including the panelist who graduated from Hillsdale, gives me a lot of hope,” Mulder said.
Mulder believed the event was also helpful in addressing negative stereotypes that people associate with careers in writing.
“There seem to be many misconceptions about the field and narrow perspectives on what you can do with writing, but there’s actually so many different opportunities,” Mulder said.
All of the speakers emphasized the joy that writing has brought into their lives and the connections they have made as a result of their decision to write.
“Writing is a wonderful thing,” McClay said.
The panel communicated the importance of getting your name in print early on when considering a career in editing or writing.
“Start to build your writing resume,” Birzer said.
“One of the biggest things I gleaned from tonight was to start writing now,” senior Grace Bennett said. “Get involved with writing opportunities on campus because those are stepping stones to writing opportunities in the future.”
McClay acknowledged submitting work to others for editing and analysis can be threatening
“You will have to get over your feelings,” McClay said.
Through failure, writers gain experience which aids them in perfecting their craft, McClay said.
Miller described the amount of fulfillment his career in journalism has given him.
“It has brought me everywhere from interviewing the president in the Oval Office, to touring NORAD strategic defense in the heart of Cheyenne Mountain, to learning how to throw a Stone Age weapon all just by virtue of being a journalist,” Miller said.
“I want to write because I can’t not write,” Bennett said. “I think through writing, I speak through writing, I connect with people through writing, and so I came to explore options in this career, but, ultimately, I just want to write.”