I attend an arts school called ACES Educational Center for Arts, and this is my third year in the Creative Writing department, which has both workshops and taught classes. I have written lots of material and developed both reading and writing skills as a result of this school and its community. It's also my senior year of high school, and I have applied as a Creative Writing Major to all my colleges. However, due to a change in school plans, I won't be able to attend this school soon and will have no obligation to write on a constant basis (writing was homework).

I am very passionate when it comes to writing, but I don't write much or very often. I'm an introverted person and usually only show my writing when I'm teaching others about writing. When people do read my pieces, they tell me that they enjoy them, and highlight specific aspects of the piece they loved. I've won a couple of modest awards for some of my earlier pieces, but I don't think that has much bearing. I feel comfortable and confident saying that I am a skilled writer.

I write short stories, WiP novels and anti-novels, vignettes and novellas , usually in the alternate history, science fiction, and fantasy genres. I write stage- and screen-plays; I write pieces in all genres of playwriting, but my most well-written plays are absurdist plays.

My best friend says I shouldn't question pursuing writing as a career because I'm good at writing and enjoy doing it. So, should the amount of writing I do now (as a senior in high school who has yet to take a college course) be a concern over or influence whether I should pursue writing? If yes, where will I most comfortably fit in the writing scene (like what kind of writer will I be)?

Edit: I also thought it was worth mentioning that when my best friend and I hang out or chat, most of time and fun is spent collaborating in writing projects, and we have a handful of substantial works in progess that we're both personally and emotionally invested in.

2 Answers 2


Summary: The timing will never be better. Give it a try, and learn from your mistakes.

You are at the best time of your life to try writing professionally. As a new graduate with few responsibilities, you won't be trying to support a family on a minimal income. If you can stay rent free or low rent with parents or other relative, that's more money saved.

Most beginning writers work a full time job and write on the side until they've made a name for themselves. Many continue to do work other than writing because their writing doesn't bring in enough money. If you can't minimize your expenses you may run into trouble quickly. Creative writing is a very difficult way to make a living for someone starting out, especially if you will only now be beginning to sell your work. If you can avoid rent, you can write full time, and find a part-time job to cover the bills while you develop a name.

One thing that makes me hesitant about your prospects is that you don't have any experience selling your work. Most new writers don't, but most new writers end up not being commercially successful. Depending on how much of an introvert you are, it can be extremely difficult. It will involve a lot of rejection, a lot of people who don't like your writing, and a steep learning curve. If you have a thin skin and take all this failure personally, you'll give up. Assuming you write well, the more you learn about markets and marketing, the easier it will be to develop a name.

Being successful will mean learning from your mistakes. You have to be able to come right back to the same people who criticized your last work with a new, improved story or novel. It's not easy, especially if you are shy, self conscious, and heavily invested in your writing.

Go for it, but be aware that you'll face a lot of new challenges that have nothing to do with your writing itself. Good luck!

EDIT: I misread the question at first, and answered as though the writer was taking a year off between high school and college.

This is an answer to the actual question, about whether the amount of writing done should be a concern.

The amount of writing should not be a concern. Many writers will come in with less skill or experience, some with more. You say you haven't written much, but you describe multiple plays, as well as a number of prose works. A student who attended a traditional high school and wrote only in their spare time is likely to have even less work produced.

Rather than looking at the amount of writing you've done in and for school, I'd suggest taking the time between high school and college to write with no motivation other than that you want to. If you write nothing, you might want to rethink the creative writing major. If you find you keep writing even with no school pushing you, it's a point in favor of trying to make writing a career.

One point I would make is that Creative Writing is not a major likely to lead to an immediate large income after college. This does not need to be the determining factor, but you should certainly think about it. Will you be content barely scraping by when you see a friend who majored in engineering or accounting making three or four times your income in their first job? I did not mention this in my first version because if you spend a year trying to make a living through creative writing, you'll find out first hand whether it's worth the sacrifice to you.

  • Maybe I'm reading your answer incorrectly, but it sounds like you're addressing a college graduate. I have yet to enter college, and I will enter college as a Creative Writing freshman. I'm not choosing my career right now, I'm asking if I should be concerned about making my way towards a writing career. Also, won't the classes I take in a conservatory help me learn how to sell my work?
    – JD Solomon
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:35
  • Oh and I have a very thick skin. I learned quite quickly in the ECA workshop to separate criticism of my work from criticism of me. I honestly don't care what anyone thinks or says of me, and I value people's opinions on my work as well as my failures because they help me learn in a way nothing else can.
    – JD Solomon
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:36
  • @JustinAlexander, The thick skin should help immensely. I assumed that you were going to start trying to make a living from your writing before college. And as far as choosing a career goes, no such decision is binding. Myself and most of my friends tried many different careers during our twenties, often things that were only barely related.
    – Karen
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:46

Go for it!!!!!!

Writing as a career is tough unless you don't mind being told what to do, in which case there's plenty of work available. Just choose a career. Journalism or English are degree offerings at almost every major college. If you write a best seller in the interim ...

My feeling is that the genre you've chosen is , for lack of a better term, age appropriate. The more experience you get, both in life and in writing, the more you will expand your horizons. I am currently in the midst of writing my first epic battle scene in about 30 years. I love it!

  • You don't mean to imply that I merely chose the speculative fiction genres because I have a childish imagination, do you?
    – JD Solomon
    Dec 7, 2015 at 14:55
  • No. Hardly. Only one baseball player in a generation gets to the majors before 20. Certain skill sets develop over time. That's life--even for the gifted. Fantasy, sci-fi, and play writing is where many if not most writers start because it's what is interesting and relevant to you at this point in your life. It is not meant as an offense. The more you write, the better you will get.
    – Stu W
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:26
  • Sorry for assuming it was an offense. Now that I understand what you meant, I find that very interesting. Thank you for that piece of wisdom. So when you say I will expand my horizons, do you mean to say that I will later learn to appreciate other genres as much as the ones I do now?
    – JD Solomon
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:30
  • Yes. I look at my work from half a lifetime ago and cringe. Not that it was bad, or maybe it was, but there were things that I didn't do well: character development (I use a lot more dialogue now), transitions (I do a chapter break now if one scene to the next is not perfectly smooth), and psychology. That (psychology) in particular requires Living. I considered myself a novice until about 40--about 3 million words in.
    – Stu W
    Dec 7, 2015 at 16:40

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