Okay, I’m going to be unpopular for a minute.
I’ve never read Gabaldon’s books.* BUT. I think people are taking her “fries with that” comment WAY too… well, crazy, actually. But, that’s Twitter for ya.
The main thing that made my eyes roll were the comments from people saying that she devalued the food service industry. WHUT? I’m sorry, but the “arts and humanities degree” = “fries with that” thing was a meme before memes were memes. AND, it was standard advice from most parents. It was from mine. I started writing when I was FOUR. When I was in grade school, my goal was to be an author. What did I major in? Chemistry. Because I followed the advice of my parents. I can’t say I love my job, but I do have health insurance.
The fries/food service industry comment isn’t an insult. People giving advice to major in something that offers a steady income from a forty hour week at a day job isn’t an insult to your creativity. It’s an acknowledgment that the arts are a crapshoot. Look at how many authors out there are querying. How many will get agents, and after that, actually be published? How many self-published authors make enough to pay their bills? How many dancers make it big? How many painters, sculptors, garage bands? I’m not saying it’s not worth it to try – I’m still trying (and working my 40 hour weeks with health insurance). I’m saying that Gabaldon, who is from the same generation as my parents, probably wants to give out advice to people which will help them make a living wage and have… yeah. Health insurance. AND write on the side. It’s amazing how much writing you can do if you really want to do it, even with a demanding forty-hour work week. As for learning the craft, there are a crapton of workshops out there. Online, Holly Lisle and Kristen Lamb both have fabulous books and online classes/workshops (I’ve taken several). Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have a lot of books and workshops, the latter both in person and online. I definitely recommend the books – haven’t taken any of their workshops yet. I really need the Genre Structure workshop, though…
So, there’s my two cents. YMMV.
Oh – pro tip: I’ve researched it, and REI seems the best place for part-time workers who want health insurance. I’d be tempted to try for Starbucks, though… all that lovely coffee… LOL.
*I know, I know! I write time travel and I haven’t read them. But I’ve heard about some things in the books that I don’t think I could deal with. So. Oh, but hey – this can now fit in my Time Travel Tuesday category. Haven’t kept up with the categories for a long time…