digital livings 02.08.2008, 10:09 AM
posted by chris meade
Alongside our research for Arts Council England, I'm also looking at how how new media writers earn their livings and make their way in the world.
The Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University is so innovative that there isn't an obvious career path for its graduates nor an established group of successful role models for students to look to in the UK for inspiration. The Digital Livings project is finding out how writers are carving out professional careers, starting with a survey of UK writers and expanding worldwide later in the year.
Which skills do new media writers possess? Where do they sell their work? What advice do they have to offer those wishing to follow in their footsteps? Is the market for digital fiction growing or not? I'll report back on our findings.
James Smythe on February 9, 2008 7:10 AM:
I'm currently finishing my Critical & Creative Writing PhD at Cardiff University - literally, my Viva is next friday - and I've been looking at Blog and Internet fiction, specifically with regards to the remediation of text, and the future-proofing of writing. My qualifications/skills have primarily led me away from creativity, however, much to my chagrin: I've been doing copywriting for major arts centres as a primary source of income. Personally, I don't feel that the digital fiction market has grown enough - or at all - over the last few years. If anything, I would argue that it has actually devolved as writers use the internet primarily as a means to present fiction that they would prefer to have published through traditional means.
There's a lot to be said for doing degrees in Creative Writing, but so many people assume that writing New Media or writing for Online presentation involves writing something and sticking it up on the internet or writing a diary-based fiction on a blog when there is so much more that they could actually do.
Courses such as the MA from De Montfort offer, I think, a future-proof to the people who take them, but won't necessarily be offering immediate rewards. They are so focussed - and excellent aspect - that when the digital literature explosion happens (which it will, sooner or later) they will be totally ready for it, if not leading it, right there at the forefront.
Personally, I'm fascinated to see where these people want to go with their careers: institutions and courses such as that found at De Montfort are where I ultimately want to teach, so this Digital Livings Project sounds great.