When I tell people I’m a writer, they ask me what my novel is about and if I have a publisher. When I tell people I’m doing a PhD in creative writing, I’m usually asked how a creative discipline functions within a traditionally academic environment. Actually, people usually ask if I think creative writing can be taught. For my answer, read this recent article in the Guardian Review by Rachel Cusk and pretend I’m there, reading it out loud and passing it off as my own words.
As a writer, there’s a clear – albeit financially unrealistic – career path: write a book then publish it. Repeat ad infinitum. As a creative practise-based academic, the boundaries over what I’m writing and why I’m writing it are much less clear, as are my thoughts about where I want to go next, and how I want to get there.
My PhD has prepared me for a career in academia but, having gone straight from my undergraduate MA Hons in English Literature at St Andrews University to an MLitt in SELLL here at Newcastle University, and then staying on for a Creative Writing PhD, I feel like I’m due a break from foot-notes.
So, for the first time since I started my PhD, I’m looking around the recession-scarred landscape to see what jobs both interested in and qualified for and trying to work out what I want to do once I’ve submitted my thesis
Over the next twelve months I’ll be finishing the writing-up process, going through my viva, and looking for paid employment. I’ll be blogging here regularly about the ups and downs of career hunting as a writer and a researcher, and what I’m doing in terms of professional development.
Viccy Adams is a final year Creative Writing PhD student at Newcastle University, funded by the AHRC. Her research examines the intersections between single-author short story collections and novels, with a particular focus on the contemporary British publishing industry.