Question of the day: I'm still in college, but graduating soon with my degree in Creative Writing. All I've ever wanted to do was write, and my plan has been to start small with submitting stories and trying my best to get published, then work my way from there. Right now I write for my college's newspaper and have been published by them several times. My post-graduation plan is to try finding a full-time job in publishing and write when I can. My main question is, in your opinion, is that the right course I should take, or rather, what do you think the best course might be when my main goal is to just write? Of course I need a job, which I have, but I want to get into the editing field. I would love to edit stories and such, so I guess I'm wondering what options someone like me has at this point in time.
I think that it sounds like you have an excellent plan and also, an excellent background. I started in PR after college, so maybe some others here can chime in who went right into magazines, but from everything I know, you're on the right track.
I've been asked before from new grads if there's a chance if they can make it right away in the freelancing world, and the cold, hard truth is that I think it would be very difficult. There are so many established writers who are also circling around the same magazines that there is just very little chance that an editor will send a lucrative assignment, as a newbie, your way.
So instead, go out, get that editing job, hone your skills even more, collect great clips (which it sounds like you're already doing), and pull together a great portfolio. In addition to building both your writing and that portfolio, you'll also meet a ton of other up-and-coming editors - you'll all move to and from different magazines, go to the same parties, run in the same circles. And these contacts will prove invaluable once you're ready to head out on your own. I think - and this is just an educated guess - that editors who start at magazines and leave to freelance probably have a much easier time breaking in and staying in the game than total outsiders.
So I think that you're definitely on the right track. Keep at it! Remember that things snowball in this industry, and while you might be chomping at the bit to write, write, write, (or at least get paid for that writing!), all good things come to those who wait. And from the sound of it, good things are headed your way!
Anyone out there get a magazine gig right out of college? Want to chime in with advice for our reader?