Friday, February 21, 2014

The Art of Brevity

So I'm an English major, and I'll graduate from college in about a year. As of this moment, I think I'd like a job in the publishing industry, although I'm also keeping my eyes open for jobs that involve creative writing opportunities. If at all possible, I'd like to have a job lined up when I graduate. Or pretty soon afterward.

How does one acquire a job of any kind? I've heard it's nigh impossible if you don't have experience. And the best way to get experience, I've been told, is to get an internship.

That's my goal for the summer: Get an internship, learn cool things about editing and publishing (or possibly creative writing?), get experience. As it so happens, I already have an internship lined up for the fall semester, and I'll likely apply to work in my school's writing center.

I'm sure there must be a way to balance a job, an internship, and marching band.

But I was talking about summer. After my freshman year, I worked at a museum. After my sophomore year, I studied abroad. This will be (I hope) the summer of the internship.

There are sooooooooooo many internships out there, with a wiiiiide variety of applications. Some applications are long and have trick questions. Some applications ask for a very, very specific cover letter. Some applications time out before you can type a single paragraph and force you to start all over again- four times. Some ask to see a portfolio. Some aren't really applications- just a request for you to send a resume. Those are my favorite.

I've hit a bump in applying for this one internship. It wants me to include a short (4-6 page) sample of nonfiction work along with my cover letter and resume.

"That's easy," I thought. "I'll just pull up my school folders and- waaaaaiiit."


Nonfiction. As in, not creative writing.

"Well, that's also easy!" I thought. "I'll just pull out one of those literature essays I'm always writing. In fact, I've got that really good one from last spring about the ghosts!"

The ghost essay, including the works cited, is seven pages long.

I considered just taking off the works cited, but then I decided that maybe I shouldn't risk the company crying plagiarism and blacklisting me forever. It could happen.

So I looked through my other literature papers from years past.

All the good ones are seven or eight pages long.

Even the okay ones are seven or eight pages long.

Brevity has always been hard for me. I guess I oughta work on that.

Hey, maybe I can just send the ghost paper anyway, and they can just ignore the works cited. Does anybody ever read those if they're not supposed to be grading them?

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