So how have I fared shifting from teaching for about 13 plus hours per week to a 40 hour ‘creative’ job as a writer? It has gone relatively smoothly. Here are a few observations for those who may be contemplating a similar shift:
1) Does my job have a direct relevance to my research and vice versa? Have the last 5 or 6 years of research been useful in my everyday job? To a large extent, yes. One of the aspects of my PhD that garnered strong positive feedback from my examiners was the way I theorised the cultural role of magazines in the scene of modified-car culture. Essentially I have been working in such a way to test some of the hypotheses regarding dispositifs and discourse, this is ongoing. It extends beyond mere intectual curiousity, as my work has helped me in a concrete fashion when speaking with owners of cars and organisers of car shows. This shall be the subject of the next academic article I want to write. One is with reviewers and another is in draft stage, both of which deal with ‘enthusiasm’. An article on the subcultural media is needed.
2) The ‘dailyness’ of the job. David L. Andrews chapter “Sports Page: A Case Study in the Manufacture of Sports News for the Daily Press” in _Critical Readings: Sport, Culture and the Media_ is something of a guide here. Nothing to do with the explicit content. I am working on two monthly and one bi-monthly magazines, the book chapter examines the pressures of the daily sports pages. What Andrews demonstrates however, is a capacity to critically reflect on his daily practice. Every job has rhythms that correlate with different responsibilities and tasks. As a staff writer, essentially the lowest ‘creative’ rung in the magazine industry, I don’t have to make decisions on the overall shape of the magazine. My dailyness takes on the character of the grind.
3) Do I have more time? I think I may do once all my marking is finished. Time is money and I am spending big at the moment trying to do two fulltime jobs. I have gotten a bit sick over the last few days, part of this is the change of season in Sydney and part of it is only getting six hours of sleep each and every night and basically driving or working the rest of the time. If I only get one day on the weekend to write up my articles, then this is one extra day I have for writing that I didn’t have when teaching.
4) How much work is my new job? It is a different sort of job of course, but I am still producing a prodigious amount of material. The publisher of motoring magazine told me after a few days that they were happy with me because I produced good clean copy, which is what they expected. I have so far worked on 6 separate magazine issues across three titles. I have written about 18 articles. As a freelancer I would’ve got paid between $400-500 for each. I have been doing about 1.4 per day, so they are extracting roughly $1500 worth of surplus value from me per week compared to casual rates. That is surplus value, so after fixed capital costs and other variable capital costs that impact on my job. They are getting their money’s worth.
5) Is it actually creative? I can propose ideas and I have already had my editor say, “Another idea!” But on a smaller scale, every ‘angle’ or discursive posture I assume when writing captures a different perspective of the car and of the project or ‘build’ or whatever. I literally create sense (pun intended); that is, in both the actual writing and inscribing (car) bodies into discourse, and in the sense of differentially repeating the discourse itself by creating further artifactual infrastructures. They also seem to have a policy of allowing you to work on other projects if they do not compete with the magazine. Although I need to officially confirm this; but it looks good in terms of my book and academic article writing.
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