Posts filed under Teaching

Meg Goforth-Ward: Adjunct Writing Instructor & Communications Specialist

Name: Meg Goforth-Ward

Age: 30

College & Majors/Minors: BA in Professional Writing from York College of Pennsylvania and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR

Current Location: Bothell, WA

Current Form of Employment: Adjunct writing instructor and Communications Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I teach college-level writing classes for Vincennes University's Military Education Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA and I am the Communications Specialist at nFocus Solutions.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I started working at a Subway in my hometown when I was fifteen. My brother worked there and got me the job. I stuck with it for about six years because they were flexible with my school schedule and it was a piece of cake job. I guess I'll admit that it was also pretty fun.

I got my current job as a Communications Specialist from applying for countless jobs after graduating with my MFA. This company was one
of only a few that contacted me and asked for an interview. When I was offered the position, I was told I didn't have all of the qualifications they were necessarily looking for, but they really enjoyed my personality and level of energy. So even if you don't have the skills, you have the energy! So fake it and you'll make it.

“When I was offered the position, I was told I didn’t have all of the qualifications they were necessarily looking for, but they really enjoyed my personality and level of energy. So even if you don’t have the skills, you have the energy! So fake it and you’ll make it.”

My teaching job came to me in a much more random way—at an AT&T store in a mall. My phone had broken (or I broke it on purpose because I wanted a new one, maybe) and I went to the local mall to get a new one. I sat at one of the tables reserved for people shelling out their left arm and their right leg for a new phone waiting for the sales lady to finish explaining all of the packages and extras I couldn't afford. At the table next to me sat a grey-haired man with kind eyes. He kept glancing over at me while I answered the lady's questions about what I did for work and school. I worked at a coffee house and went to grad school for writing, I told her. The man's ears perked up, and I saw him rooting around in his wallet. He leaned over, excused himself, and handed me his card. "We are always looking for writers to teach," he said. I told him I was new to grad school and wouldn't have my degree for another year and a half. "No problem," he said. "Hold on to my card and contact me when you graduate." I did as he said, he remembered me (or claimed to remember me) a year and a half after that new phone (of which I've had three since), and now I teach sailors how to write.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career? 

An inside look at Meg's writing space and process. 

An inside look at Meg's writing space and process. 

My time spent volunteering as a Grant Writer with a homeless shelter in Charleston, SC has proven to be valuable to me personally and professionally. I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer my time and not have to worry about getting a paycheck, so I took advantage. I learned the ins and outs of basic grant writing and advanced grant writing. This year of my life allowed me to see what worked and what didn't work in terms of writing for a purpose. I had real results--dollars and cents--that measured how well I wrote a grant. Being able to work at a homeless shelter put me in a situation I had never experienced before. I lived a fairly sheltered childhood in a nice neighborhood with everything I needed to survive and thrive. Walking into the shelter each day, passed George who had a heavy limp and a brain injury but always asked me if I needed help with anything, opened my eyes to real life. The real world, if you will. From that moment forward, I knew my goal in life was to use my love of writing to help others in whatever way I could.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did not do nearly enough, let me tell you. Whatever you don't, do more than what I did. Grad school was a tough two years for me. The schooling itself was incredible, and I highly recommend an MFA program if that is something that interests you. I met some of the best people I've ever known in the program. But I didn't write nearly enough. I did the minimum I had to to graduate. I was struggling with some mental health issues and my father passed away unexpectedly during that time, but I know I could have and should have done more. I had little to show other than a degree. Now I see my friends publishing work from their grad school experiences and talking about all of the books they read. I don't have those polished stories to send out to publishers and I barely remember the titles of books I skimmed. Luckily I was able to get a job with just the title MFA on my resume, but I would much rather have more pieces of writing that I can be proud of. So do your work, do it well, and read. Read everything you can get your hands on.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

First of all, are you crazy? Why would you get a degree in English?! I kid, I kid. English is the best thing there is. Everything about it is wonderful. I could give you pages and pages of advice, but who has time for that?

“Go into a room with a desk and a chair. Sit your butt in that chair. Write. Write words that mean nothing. Write words that mean something. Write nonsense. Write a novel. Just write. Don’t stop.”

Turn off the TV and the computer and the phone and the tablet and the iPod (do people still use those these days?). Go into a room with a desk and a chair. Sit your butt in that chair. Write. Write words that mean nothing. Write words that mean something. Write nonsense. Write a novel. Just write. Don't stop. Don't add that comma you think you should have added two sentences ago. You'll fix that later. Right now,though, just write. Don't be afraid. If it's important to you, it will be important to your reader. As good old Ernie H, said, "Write hard and clear about what hurts." Don't be worried about people judging you. No one has to see what you are writing right now as it it yours. You never know what can come out of sitting down and writing, though.

And read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, comics, graphic novels, children's books, everything. In order to write well, you need to read well. You'll learn more from reading than you ever can from a semester of a writing class (just don't tell your instructors I said that).

Most importantly, be yourself in your writing. Let your personality and voice shine. And make sure you have a little fun along the way.

To the graduates, congratulations and salud! To the current English majors, you are awesome. Keep going. It won't be easy, but, to be completely cliche, it will be worth it.


Posted on June 1, 2016 and filed under Interviews, Interview, Teaching, Communications.

Sara Strickland: Adjunct Faculty and Content & SEO Strategist

Name: Sara Strickland

Age: 23

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, working towards an M.A. in English from Texas Woman’s University

Current Location: Dallas, TX

Current Form of Employment: Adjunct Faculty and Content & SEO Strategist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently hold two very different types of part-time positions. First, I work at a digital marketing agency called BizTraffic as a Content & SEO Strategist. Before I started working for this company I didn’t even know that such a position existed, much less what it meant. The majority of my time at this job is spent writing content for blog posts, emails, ebooks, whitepapers, and website pages. 

Because I work for a relatively small company, I’ve had the opportunity to try a variety of things out during my time here. I’ve written instructional manuals for our company’s internal use, created and implemented social media strategies, and learned the basic principles of website design, just to name a few.

My second job is as an Adjunct at Richland Collegiate High School. I teach AVID (which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination) to high school seniors. But my students are no ordinary high school seniors! They are all enrolled in approximately 15 to 18 college credit hours each semester, in addition to a few courses for high school credit. Most of our students graduate simultaneously with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

AVID is a course designed to prepare students for college by teaching them how to excel through note taking strategies, analytical writing, discussion groups, and study groups. This is especially important for our students because their course load is so intense. We give them the tools to succeed in a college environment, and give them a little push towards attending universities once they graduate from the program. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I started working when I was 16, so my very first job was as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store. My older brother was working at the store and let me know they were hiring. It was not very glamorous and involved lots of hot summer afternoons clearing carts off the lot and bagging bloody meat for customers.

Both of my current jobs I found through job websites. I originally was hired as an intern at BizTraffic, and I’ve now worked there over two years, fluctuating between part and full time as my school and work schedule permits. When I applied for the adjunct position, I applied to teach Developmental Writing at the college and was offered a class. But my class didn’t make it. Fortunately, they liked my credentials enough to offer me classes at the high school, plus I’m scheduled to teach Developmental Writing in the fall. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

One of the most influential writing-related jobs I’ve held was actually an unpaid, volunteer position at a local homeschool co-op. I was asked to teach a high school level American literature course once a week for an hour throughout the school year. 

Because of this experience I began to realize that not only do I love to read literature and to write, but that I really love teaching them, too! This experience contributed to my decision to pursue a masters and pursue teaching at a college level as a career. 

“I took every learning opportunity that would work with my busy schedule.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did a few things to help me prepare for post-grad life. First of all, I never stopped working during my college career which has given me a strong work history and financial security because I have never had to take out a student loan, despite paying for my entire degree myself. 

I took every learning opportunity that would work with my busy schedule. That included volunteering to teach at the homeschool co-op I mentioned before, volunteering at a local museum over spring break, and taking the BizTraffic internship. All of these gave me valuable experience that contributes to the jobs I do now, and helped me craft my future career goals. 

I also took full advantage of my professor’s feedback by improving the papers I wrote and applying what I learned to future papers. I still think of advice I received from my undergraduate professors when writing my graduate level papers. Plus I always try to give feedback to my students that is as useful as that I received from my professors. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Take every learning opportunity you can and don’t limit yourself! There are so many uses for an English degree that sometimes it just takes some time and a little bit of trial and error to find the right match for your personality and talents. And it’s never too soon to get started, or too late to learn something new!

You can connect with Sara on LinkedIn and follow her on Instagram


Posted on May 30, 2016 and filed under Teaching, SEO, Content Marketing, Marketing.

Brittany Olsen: Editor

Brittany holding a copy of the graphic novel she self-published about her volunteer experiences in Japan.

Brittany holding a copy of the graphic novel she self-published about her volunteer experiences in Japan.

Name: Brittany Olsen

Age: 25

College & Majors/Minors: Southern Utah University; Major: English (Creative Writing emphasis); Minor: Art (Illustration emphasis)

Current Location: Provo, UT

Current Form of Employment: Part-time

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I have two jobs right now: One is a copy editor for an SEO management company (Textbroker International), and the other is an editor for a startup modest clothing retailer's blog (She Traveled). At Textbroker, I'm simply editing product descriptions and other pieces of content marketing to pay the bills, and it's meticulous work to make sure an author's writing fits what the client is paying for. At She Traveled, I manage a very small team of writers who have a lot more freedom with their topics, and because it's a lifestyle blog, it's a lot easier for the writers and me to get very excited about what we're working on. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I feel very fortunate to have a writing/editing job within two years of obtaining my undergraduate degree. Shortly after graduation in 2011, I left for an 18-month volunteer opportunity in Japan, and I found work as a copy editor at Textbroker upon returning to the United States in 2013. I applied for a position I saw listed on a local job board, and it turned out to be a great fit.

As for my job at She Traveled, it was mostly old-fashioned networking. My sister-in-law was a friend to a former model who was starting her own fashion company, and she hired me as a blog writer because she'd heard of my background in English. After nearly a year of writing, I was promoted to blog editor because the company CEO saw my dedication and organizational skills stand out in addition to my writing proficiency.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

During my time volunteering in Japan, I spent a few hours a week teaching English as a second language. Not only did this help me understand my own language better, but I also learned how to communicate ideas in the most simplified way. I had to teach in clear, simple terms so that even my beginner students could understand difficult grammar concepts. I also was able to develop a fun and creative teaching style so that participants would stay engaged in the lessons. These experiences helped me improve my communication skills in general, which has been beneficial in both my professional and personal lives.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Some of the most valuable experiences I had in my undergraduate classes were peer reviews. I went into college wanting to be a writer, and many of my writing classes involved working on other students' essays and creative writing in small groups. It was through this process that I grew to love editing more than writing, and I gained valuable skills in communicating with other writers. It takes work to put into words what you like/don't like about a piece of writing and why. It's also an extremely valuable skill to learn how to communicate your comments in a professional and encouraging way. I could apply those skills in any field, but I feel fortunate to have a job where I can guide other writers.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

I would encourage you to take up a volunteer opportunity that puts you out of your element. Growing personally and expanding your horizons will help your career prospects more than any amount of book learning, and volunteer experiences always give you interesting talking points during interviews. Employers are always looking for great communicators who can come up with creative solutions to problems, and English majors definitely fit the bill.

Visit Brittany's website, check out her blog ComicDiaries.com, and view her writing and editing work at SheTraveled.com/blog


Posted on April 17, 2016 and filed under Editing, Teaching, Copywriting, Blogging.

Christine Reilly: Author & Teacher

Name: Christine Reilly

Age: 27

College & Majors/Minors: Bucknell - Psychology and English double-major with a Concentration in Creative Writing. I got my MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College.

Current Location: New York, New York

Current Form of Employment: Author and teacher

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I teach fiction and poetry workshops at Sarah Lawrence College and the Gotham Writers Workshop, and my debut literary novel, Sunday's on the Phone to Monday, will be published in April with Simon & Schuster.

Sunday's on the Phone to Monday: A Novel
$12.50
By Christine Reilly

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different):

My first job was teaching middle and high school English at the Professional Children's School, a private school in New York City for ballet and modern dancers, Broadway actors, Julliard musicians, and professional athletes.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I had a wonderful internship at Tin House, the literary journal. I got to go through the slush pile and give feedback, which was a dream come true—reading all day!

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

In college, I read and wrote all the time. I also kept a diary, which comes in handy now that I'm writing a novel about college students. I also got to experience writing workshop for the first time, which is my favorite place to be. Now as a teacher I facilitate workshop. I love seeing that side of the creative process. There's always such a wonderful energy in the room.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

It sounds cliche, but I'd say follow your dreams but work tirelessly as you follow them. I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do in college, and I didn't let the naysayers discourage me! I did, however, learn to be unafraid of failure. I didn't have any publishing or teaching connections whatsoever, so I reached out to every literary agent and educator I knew to learn more about a possible career in those fields.

You can visit Christine Reilly's website here



Posted on April 11, 2016 and filed under Writing, Teaching, Publishing, Interviews, Interview, Author.

Kate Marchewka: Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Name: Kate Marchewka

Age: 33

College & Majors/Minors: University of Wisconsin-Madison | Major: English Literature | Minor: Women's Studies and LGBT Studies || Grad degree: University of Washington, Masters in Library & Information Science

Current Location: Seattle, WA

Current Form of Employment: Part-time Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm in my second year as the early elementary teacher-librarian at St. Thomas School, a private PreK-8th grade school in Medina, WA. I get to read picture books, perform felt board stories complete with voices, and sing songs with small children three days a week, and home with my son the other days. It's the best. Also, I get to ply my older kids with stickers and candy to check out books (it works...mwah ha).

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I found my first job through some random web searching and it (very luckily) ended up being a really great job. I had just moved to San Francisco and was fresh out of college and somehow ended up working for a small woman-owned brand agency, where I learned a ton in a short period of time. It was one of the first places where I learned that being highly specific with words and being a detail-oriented person could make a hugely positive impact on a project.

My current job as a teacher-librarian was also a stroke of luck; I interned here during graduate school and found the posting on our department's online job board. It had been listed by a former student, and was exactly what I was looking for. Turned out that the part-time librarian was leaving at the end of the summer after I'd graduated from my program, so I interviewed and had that extra leg-up to get the job.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

For almost three years, I worked first full-time and then part-time for an online flash sale retailer as a copy editor. I was the first editor officially hired into the role, and although it was a crazy pace and workload, I found that I loved the nitpicky work of editing and immensely enjoyed getting to work with writers on their writing, even if it was about tutus and eco-friendly cleaning tools. I kind of fibbed my way through the interview question, "Do you know AP?", saying, "Yes, obviously," while furiously buying up every book on the style and studying them at home after work. Between the studying and the breakneck pace of the job, I picked up skills to back up my claim pretty quickly. Occasionally, if a writer couldn't quite hit the mark or we were short staffed, I'd get to write copy myself, which was also a ton of fun and a fantastic learning experience. I'd never done that kind of writing before—researching brands to write a brand story, and making up character-limited descriptions for products on the site that millions of people were reading.

“I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wasn't the person who was constantly writing on my own for fun, but I have always been a reader with a 'to-read' list 18 miles long, reading-a-book-while-walking-down-the-street kind of thing. So I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal. It certainly helped in my editing career. And keeping up with the book world has absolutely helped in my career as a librarian. Even though it can be tough to read for fun while being bogged down with undergrad classes, I think it's important to sneak a few in where you can!

Lastly, taking writing classes where your work is torn apart by a pack of hungry undergrads is very good practice for receiving constructive feedback of any sort, and for giving it to others later on down the road. =)

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

I'd say to not let yourself get pigeon holed into the "Oh, an English degree. What are you going to do, teach?" schpiel most will offer. Don't listen to those people, they don't know what they're talking about or how much you have on offer. Try to think about the skills you have and how the things you're passionate about can translate into real work/jobs. I have been a brand manager, a customer service agent, done sales and operations management, and been a copy editor, and having strong writing, editing and communication skills played heavily into every one of those jobs. I didn't ever even think about becoming a librarian until I was in my late twenties, and it was a total light bulb moment and has turned out to be a dream career for me.

You can check out Kate's photography website here, and read her blog here


Posted on April 4, 2016 and filed under Editor, Editing, Librarian, Library Science, Teaching.

Rick Wiedeman: Instructional Designer

Name: Rick Wiedeman

Age: 49

College & Majors/Minors: Pitzer College (Claremont Colleges), BA English

Current Location: Dallas, Texas

Current Form of Employment: Instructional Designer

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I’m an instructional designer for Hitachi Consulting, the IT and business consulting division of Hitachi, which is one of the largest companies in the world (330,000 employees), based in Tokyo. Our division is in Dallas, with offices worldwide. I’m basically a teacher in a company, instead of a teacher at a school—I write curricula, teach classes in person and over the web, and create elearning on a variety of topics. It’s a lot of fun.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job was as a subrights and special sales assistant at Viking-Penguin Books in New York. I fell in love with creative writing in college, and wanted to be involved in the publishing industry. On my first day there, we got a death threat for publishing Salmon Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and had to evacuate the building. That was a fun welcome to New York.

Being in publishing was one of those experiences that looked neat on paper, but in reality was rather boring, and had little to do with my skills or interests. I did light typing and filing, and answered phones. My salary was $15,000 a year, and as you can imagine, you can’t live in New York on that—even in the late 1980s. It’s one thing to pay your dues, but it’s another to be miserable all the time. After a few months there, I took a job as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster—$17,000 a year—and the work atmosphere was even worse. The woman who worked next to me jumped off the George Washington Bridge just before Christmas, and my boss mostly went to long lunches and schmoozed with people. I stuck it out for a year, got to be editor for one book, and left. 

After this experience, I felt lost. I returned to my college town, Claremont, California, and got into the PhD program for English literature, but this wasn’t what I expected, either. Grad studies are nothing like undergrad—it was applying obscure philosophical principles to books nobody reads outside of academia. I didn’t see the point in going into debt for this, especially with the poor prospects for recent grads (at this time, fewer than 5% of PhDs in humanities were finding fulltime work). 

“The computer skills I’d developed, combined with my English degree, made me attractive for tech writing jobs.”

I don’t blame publishing or grad school for either of these experiences—I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted. I was still searching. For me, I learn by doing, and two years out of college I’d learned two things I didn’t want to do: publishing and grad school.

I went back to my hometown of Dallas, Texas, mostly to see old friends. I hadn’t lived at home since I was 18, and didn’t want to be one of those people who got a liberal arts degree and went back to live with their parents, so I slept on a friend’s couch and got temp work. The computer skills I’d developed, combined with my English degree, made me attractive for tech writing jobs. I think my first gig paid $10/hour, or about $20,000 a year, which was livable in Dallas back then. I worked for the technical training division of American Airlines, creating course catalogues and instructor guides. This was mostly layout in Quark and Adobe Pagemaker, which I’d learned working on the college newspaper, but also involved interviewing subject matter experts to build lessons, which I found interesting. 

The neat thing about corporate training is, you learn about a lot of different things -- technology, law, project management, organizational psychology. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys random documentaries, likes people, and who’s good at trivia, it can be a natural fit for a busy mind. Equally important, it paid a living wage, and I didn’t have to share a one bedroom apartment with two other guys on the Upper West Side and eat bologna sandwiches. I could be happy doing this in Dallas, and I was.

Due to my natural interest in technology, I’ve ended up working in corporate training for Microsoft, Siemens, McAfee, and now Hitachi, where I’ve been for six years -- the longest I’ve ever been at the same place. Maybe in middle age, I’m finally settling down. They give me great freedom to approach projects as I see fit, and it’s satisfying work.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Everything I’ve done (teaching, ad copy, tech writing, corporate training) has been shaped and supported by my writing skills. To me, good writing is the result of clear thinking. What I really learned in college was how to think clearly. I’d argue that if you can’t write well, you’re not thinking well. Writing is the evidence. People who approach it as a separate skill are missing the point.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I was on a work-study program at Pitzer College—my financial aid was tied to keeping a job on campus that worked around my schedule. The first two years of college, I was a security escort. I mostly accompanied young women to the library, which was across three other campuses (Claremont has five colleges, a grad school, and a school of theology). That was a good gig.

“So, it was really the combination of writing skill and technical skill that shaped my career, though at the time I didn’t think of it in such formal terms. I just enjoyed writing, and needed a college job for gas money.”

My second job, junior and senior years, was running the computer lab. This was in the days before everyone had a personal computer. Pitzer is a liberal arts college, and most students went to the lab to type their papers. I was given the key to the lab. That was my entire training experience. Basically, I was guarding the equipment. As students complained about losing papers or not being able to print -- these were the days where the operating system and the word processing program were on the same 5 1/4 inch floppy disk—I slowly figured out how these damn machines worked, and found I liked helping people. It turned out to be two valuable career skills that I’ve maintained throughout my life.

So, it was really the combination of writing skill and technical skill that shaped my career, though at the time I didn’t think of it in such formal terms. I just enjoyed writing, and needed a college job for gas money.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don’t leap into grad programs expecting you’ll find work afterward. I’ve had several English MAs and PhDs work for me on various projects over the years. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and pay attention to job projections. It’s fine to have a passion -- mine is creative writing, and I do it every week, if not every day—but I don’t try to pay the bills with it. You need to live. And you probably don’t need a Masters or PhD to do that. 

I think a lot of people go into grad school to feel good about themselves—grad degrees are like grown up merit badges. There are more fulfilling, and less expensive, ways to expand your mind and use your talents. For me, that’s writing. All I need is a library and the internet, both of which are practically free.

“Getting that first royalty check the month after publishing the first book made me feel like a real writer. (That’s my definition of “real.” If you got paid, you’re a pro.)”

The great thing about writing and publishing today is, you don’t need to be in New York to do it, and frankly, you don’t need an agent and a publisher taking 87.5% of your royalties to get your stories out there. Though at first I resisted self-publishing, since diving into it four years ago, it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. The first thing I wrote -- a short novel about a father and daughter trying to get from Dallas to Galveston after an apocalypse—did surprisingly well. I made two thousand dollars. The follow up novels did OK, but were a bit indulgent, and got mixed reviews; that’s OK, too. I’ve learned from that. I wrote a supernatural horror novella, which did poorly, and am now at work on a psychological suspense novel. The only investment has been my time and effort, and it’s been a great satisfaction to me. Getting that first royalty check the month after publishing the first book made me feel like a real writer. (That’s my definition of “real.” If you got paid, you’re a pro.)

If I were going the traditional route, I’d have to spend at least a year getting an agent. She’d spend at least a year marketing my book. If it sold, the publisher would spend a year doing covers and editing and scheduling production... and all that assumes perfect success each step of the way, which seldom happens. You’re about as likely to succeed in traditional publishing as you are to be a movie star. 

I’m not anti-traditional publishing. I may try that route it someday. But I know enough about the industry to have realistic expectations, and I love the full control self-publishing offers.

My personal website is rickwiedeman.com and I’m on Twitter @rickwiedeman. I’m happy to talk to any of my fellow writers about my self-publishing experience, and share what little I know about traditional publishing. My ebooks on Amazon are here.


Caitlin Anderle: Substitute Teacher & Executive Producer at a Radio Station

Name: Caitlin Anderle

College & Majors/Minors: English

Current Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Current Form of Employment: Journalism and Education

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently have two jobs! I'm a substitute teacher by day, and an executive producer at a radio station by night. I produce sports broadcasts (despite being the least sports literate person in the nation, if not the entire world). As part of my radio station duties, I also write for a local news website.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I attended a last minute job fair at my university towards the end of the school year. I had recently switched majors and didn't know what I wanted to do post-graduation. I ended up talking to a very nice woman who later became my coworker, and got invited out to the station for an interview.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

This is actually my first writing-related job, but I'm hoping that it helps in future jobs. I will say this though, writing all of those college papers definitely helped prepare me for the writing I've done here.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Honestly, there's not a lot that can prepare you for post-grad life. However, I was kind of an odd case, because I switched majors from English Education to English at the last possible second, so all of the preparation I did was for a career I didn't end up pursuing. That being said, I like to think that I am managing adulthood reasonably well.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Think about what you want to do after graduation, and no matter how silly it may seem, go for it. I spent the better part of six years pursuing an English Education degree and teaching career because I didn't want my life to become an Avenue Q song, and I was miserable. My life has become an Avenue Q song, but I'm a lot happier now that I know what I want to do and am taking steps to do it. Also, never underestimate the power of networking.

You can connect with Caitlin on LinkedIn, and check out her work on the radio here! 


Posted on February 20, 2016 and filed under Teaching, Communications.

eNotes: An English Major’s Haven

eNotes.com was born purely from a passion for Shakespeare and classic literature. 

“We wanted to help students understand Shakespeare’s works better, because it was something we loved ourselves,” said co-founder Alex Bloomingdale.

More than a decade ago, Alex and Brad Satoris, eNotes’ other co-founder, secured AllShakespeare.com to bring academic content and deeper analyses of the Bard’s writings to the Web. Eventually they branched out to AllHemingway.com and AllPoe.com, and finally eNotes.com in 2005 to combine them. “A single place for students and readers to study classic and obscure works, their etexts, summaries, and analyses... that was the ultimate goal,” said Brad. 

The demands of the passion-project-turned-business grew and, realizing they needed more hands on deck, they turned to those that knew the content best: English majors. Employing hundreds of remote and in-house writers, editors, and all-around book nerds, eNotes grew its content and product offerings and is now one of the most visited sites on the Web (ranked within the top 500 on Quantcast).

eNotes is unique place where English majors are the backbone of daily operations; from writing new literature study guides or lesson plans, directly answering students’ academic questions, or starting their career as an intern, English majors have directly helped millions of students and teachers, all while promoting reading and learning. Allie, in-house assistant editor at eNotes, says, "I majored in English because I wanted to work with the stories I love—and I figured I might as well enjoy it while I could, since the chances of parlaying my love of Homer into a career didn’t seem very likely. But it turns out the twenty-first century and the Internet haven’t killed the book at all; sites like eNotes are letting people like me make loving lit a career."

While working full-time or interning at our Seattle office isn’t always feasible due to geography or timing, English majors can work whenever and wherever as an eNotes Educator.

eNotes Educator and Academic Writer Program

The eNotes Educator Program is constantly seeking qualified college graduates, teachers, and academic writers to answer student questions and write evergreen content for the site. It’s a great way for subject experts to share knowledge, get published, and earn a supplemental income on their own, flexible schedule. 

Hundreds of new questions are asked each day on To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet, Beowulf, and other great works, and Educators are paid per question.

Interested in applying for this opportunity? Please visit the application page and follow the instructions, and send any questions to the editorial team at editorial@enotes.com.

eNotes helps millions of students and teachers every day by providing online education resources and classroom materials. Meet the staff and featured Educators.

Testimonials

  • “It continues to be my pleasure to work with eNotes subscribers: I love providing help to our user community, and so enjoy the opportunity to learn something new every day!” — Jill, eNotes Educator since 2003
  • “Working for eNotes is such a pleasure, letting me help thousands of students and keep on learning myself.”— Lorraine, eNotes Educator since 2008
  • “After 6 years of working for eNotes, I continue to find it intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding.”— David, eNotes Educator since 2009
  • “eNotes has given me chances to stretch as I worked on new projects.”— Greg, eNotes Educator since 2007

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Posted on January 22, 2016 and filed under Articles, Teaching.