First, please tell me about your company and your job.
I'm a content coordinator at SEO TWIST, a digital marketing agency in downtown Ottawa.
Overall, did you find the Professional Writing program worthwhile?
Yes, it helped me gain confidence in my storytelling abilities.
What specific classes did you find the most useful and why?
Every class is always useful. It doesn't matter if you enjoy the material being taught or not. There are always lessons to be learned, whether they come from the teacher, from your classmates, or from yourself.
How difficult was it for you to find a job in writing?
Finding a permanent position generally was difficult. While I was freelancing, I wasn't looking specifically for a writing position, however I ended up being very lucky. I found a permanent writing position just a few weeks out of this program while I was still working on two other contracts.
Was the program's placement option helpful to you? Did it help get your foot in the door at any companies?
I loved my placement because I worked for an organization whose mission and values I truly appreciated. I also met a lot of great people along the way. It didn't help me get this job particularly, but they did offer me a paid contract to finish the work I had been doing while on placement.
How has the course impacted your career?
I never considered myself a writer... I just enjoyed writing and felt I had strong communication skills. Realizing there is a whole field for writers, especially in web and social media, really opened my eyes to new possibilities I had never considered before.
How has the course impacted your writing style?
I think I'm more aware of hyphens now.
What skills did you learn in the course?
Though I'm sure I learned many skills, what I know I got from the course was confidence in my ability to write, and that writing is a real skill and not everybody possesses it. I really learned a lot about myself.
What can students and writers expect in their future writing careers?
That's a big question, and not one I can answer. The only expectations you should have are for yourself. Know what you want to achieve, and create both short- and long-term goals to create a manageable path to get there.
Are you writing the things that you want to write about? In other words, do you feel a sense of fulfillment/satisfaction with your work?
I write for many different kinds of clients. Some I prefer over others, and I do what I can to make sure my voice is present in whatever material I'm creating.
Do you do any writing outside of work?
I should, and I will. You know how it is.
What struggles, if any, did you have in finding success in your writing career? What obstacles or criticism did you have to overcome?
My career is just beginning... success is yet to come!
How should graduates of the program go about getting a job?
Fire off those resumes. I think I had in mind that for every 40 resumes I put out there, I would hope to get a call. I probably sent off about 25 before I got the interview for this job, which is pretty good in my opinion.
Do you have any advice to offer young writers? If you had the opportunity to go back and talk to yourself while you were in the program, what would you say?
I had many other things on my mind while in the program, and those things made me stronger. The beauty of writing is: experience is knowledge. That knowledge—those feelings and understandings you gain from your experiences—fuels your creativity and your wisdom. Everything is useful and nothing will ever go to waste. That's the beauty of being a writer... we're very economical.
William Cousins is a Professional Writing student at Algonquin College, living in Ottawa, Ontario. Writing is his passion. He believes in the power of the written word, and aspires to perfect his craft in order to create great works of art. From movies, to song lyrics, to video games, he is locked in a constant quest for the perfect story.