Word of the Week #171:

Efficacious

“That field has no scope.”

How often have we heard that when we say we want to devote our lives to studying and practising the arts, be it writing or singing or painting or dancing?

Last week, we spoke about how the scope of traditional fields like engineering are grossly overrated in our society, and we tried to analyse the reasons why.

Tonight, let us look at the scope fields like writing do offer but are often grossly underestimated in our society, often for the same reasons.

Writing is fun. But is it really a profession? Is it feasible to think you can get paid to write?

Well, what if I tell you that I do get paid to do just that? And I get paid plenty, if I may say so…

So, let us ask ourselves, how did I end up here?

Am I particularly gifted? Well, that’s debatable.
Am I very rich? Nah, but I did have enough support to never have to worry.
Did I receive any specific training? Nope. None.

Then what did I do to reach financial stability while pursuing, and really focusing on, my artistic passions?

The answer is stupidly simple: I worked really hard for a really long time.

For five and a half years, I kept work on my craft, with no pay and little appreciation from beyond my inner circle, slowly but surely improving at what I do, spreading my roots in the industry, and seeking out opportunities wherever I could find them.

That’s hardly any more time than what most people spend on college and stuff, right? At least my route was totally worth it.

Tell me, how can a writer make money?

The first and most obvious would be by publishing books. But as any writer would tell you, the investment in that is extremely high, and the rate of success is exceeding low. Of course, that is no reason to not do it.

Essentially, one could say that it is the most likely to be artistically rewarding, and the least likely to be financially rewarding. And as we go further down this list, the former will continue to decrease, while the latter continues to increase.

If you want to make easy money as an author, one can try to write non-fiction books that highlight certain individuals or organisations. Co-authoring an autobiography can make you a lot of money.

Of course, you could also make some money by publishing articles in successful magazine or newspapers, or you can monetise your own blog.

Or, you can write for advertisers. That’s where Salman Rushdie started his career.

Or, you can write for TV or movies or, heck, even video games. Sidney Sheldon started his career in TV.

Or, you can find all sorts of jobs that require writers, from PR to content writing to creating subtitles. Really, the opportunities are endless.

And if all else fails, you can always work as an editor. As long as there are writers in the world and AI is not yet entirely up to speed, there will always be jobs for editors.

So, keep working, keep learning, and keep looking for opportunities. Your success might not be guaranteed, but that can be said about anything you try.

In the end, if you have spent every waking moment of your entire life in a passionate pursuit of your dreams, would that not count as a success?

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Word of the Week #170:

Ambit

“That field has no scope.”

How often have we heard that about careers that are even slightly outside the mainstream?

According to these people, everything apart from a handful of disciplines has no scope.

Why do they think so?

Well, I believe there are two reasons for that.

Firstly, Indians love structure. If you want to be an engineer, your life has a structure. 13 years of school, 2 years (minimum) of heavy coaching, and 4 years of college. Work for 19 years and you’re an engineer.

Now, the fact that this mechanism has been churning out 15 lakh engineers every year for almost a decade, while the industry simply does not have enough jobs for each one seems to be lost on them.

Secondly, Indians love success stories. One of their friends’ kid, or cousins’ kid, or neighbours’ kid, or even some random kid, got a great job and built a great life doing something? Then it is natural that their own kids should do that.

In doing so, however, they seems to forget about the rest are of the kids who didn’t get the jobs they wanted, or didt’t get any whatsoever.

Only 3% of Indian engineers find jobs doing what they were actually trained to do. According to some estimates, only 20% are capable of finding any job in the market.

If you bring that up, naturally, you’d be told, “Of course, you have to excel at it. The best students get the best jobs. Survival of the fittest.”

So, you want kids to excel in the field you choose for them, with little to no regard to their abilities and preferences and only a slight chance of success?

Looks like education has failed you, and you have failed your children. You should not be surprised when your children fail you too.

Word of the Week #161:

Participatory

These days, our Social Media feeds tend to be flooded with people sharing their inked fingers.

For those unfamiliar with our democratic system, please refer to the following:

02-04-15-pg08a
Courtesy: Hindustan Times

As you can see, newspapers in India could definitely use a few good copyeditors…

Now, as I was saying, it is gladdening to see the youth as enthusiastic about voting as they are.

However, I do take objection to the narrative that voting is the epitome of our democratic participation. Our work does not end the moment we vote; that is when it begins.

Once we have cast our vote, we need to ensure the government appropriately represents our interests by staying apprised its operation, and by letting our voices be heard.

Voting without being informed about the performance of the past governments and the agenda of its opponents turns the entire electoral system into a popularity contest.

Quite honestly, even the Student Council elections in my college were based more on policy than some of the past elections I have seen.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt