You’ve probably heard the story about the two prisoners who got caught by the police and had no possibility to communicate with each other. Sad as this is, it provided economists around the world with the perfect example for pay-offs, gains and losses.
In fact, the fate of the two unfortunate prisoners even found its way into International Relations theory where whole countries are awarded points depending on whether they collaborate with each other or chose to pursue their own interests. And as you may also know, I’m not very fond of numbers. As a matter of fact, I usually bolt, as soon as figures -or even worse, percentages- are involved. …and that’s why I chose to study politics and humanities, instead of economics. But there seems to be just no escaping the dilemmas. So, here it is, the humanities version of a dilemma. Or better, the dilemma of a humanist who happens to like writing.
If you want to be writer, you have several options: You can
- write a novel
- write poems
- write for a newspaper
- write opinion-pieces for the op-ed pages
So although the job market for aspiring writers certainly looks grimm, there’re a number things to keep the linguistic mind occupied. But what do you do, when none of the above works for you? The first option is probably the dream of most aspiring writers: create a second Harry Potter and become rich and famous? Too bad that this actually requires a certain degree of endurance (after all, Patrick Süskind had worked for almost 17 years on his masterpiece “Perfume
Writing a poem on the other hand, presupposes some form of artistic creativitiy, a kiss of the muse. Poets, at least the good ones, are able to weave their message right into the very structure of their writings, so it becomes the backbone of their work which then usually justifies the lable “art” for this kind of work.
Journalism could be the way to go when “I don’t know what to write about” is the only thought that fills your head, everytime you take up a pen. Wouldn’t that be great? Have your editor tell you what to write and then pursue the story on your own. Get to the core of the issue and discover the human side of every story. Unfortunately, the “human side” sometimes does not want to talk to you so only pushiness and impudence would eventually get you this long sought-after statement. Tough luck, if you don’t have these traits, and in fact also don’t have the desire to develop them.
By now, your options have seriously diminished. But you may find that the writing of opinion pieces s is the last hope for you to get your words on paper. You wouldn’t have to work 17 years on your little masterpiece. It doesn’t need the kiss of the muse to rant about the many wrongs of the current state of affairs, and since it’s only you and your opinion that matter to this piece, you don’t even have to go out and bother people for a statement. If you only had an opinion to begin with, instead of moderately advocating the pluralism of opinions.
Now, you really have exhausted your options. There are no more pay-offs to be realized, no more gains or win-win situations. Just you, your pen, and the desire to let the words flow. Bottom-line question is this: What do you do, when you like to write, but none of the above mentioned options work out for you? And please don’t say “get a blog”.