By Isabel Paris ||Layout Assistant
This past Monday, the English department and OSPGD co-sponsored a career talk with alumna Bridget McNulty ‘05. She is a published author, content strategist, creative director and writer with a specific passion for helping others through her storytelling. McNulty’s talk was called “13 Ways to use your Creative Writing degree” as she described her various jobs since graduating in 2005. McNulty was one of the first F&M students to take advantage of the creative writing concentration and has shown in her extensive career that any job is possible if you learn how to write. Her advice for those who feel that pressure of being an English major and not feeling like there are any jobs available gave the group both peace and inspiration for the future.
McNulty went through all thirteen jobs that she has held and pointed out the common theme of storytelling. She told us that when she graduated she only believed that she could be a novelist. Indeed, soon after leaving F&M, she published her first book, Strange Nervous Laughter, and one month after having left college she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This new change in her life inspired her next book How to Live a Happy Life (with a Chronic Illness).
McNulty talked about when she was first diagnosed; no one was giving her positive outlooks on life and she felt so dragged down by all this negativity surrounding her. This book was a letter to herself and others with Type 1 and letting them know that having a fulfilling and happy life is possible with diabetes.
McNulty said that the biggest change in her mentality towards writing was knowing that the “joy of writing is in the writing, not actually getting your stuff published.” McNulty explained that when you get your work published it is exciting; however, the hype and glory die away. In the end, all you have is your writing to keep you going and to keep you working. Along with loving the process of writing, McNulty gave us another piece of advice to always be kind to people. Now, this may seem like a given thing to do in life; however, she has found that the connections you maintain in the business might open up doors for you in the future. One of her favorite jobs was being a hotel reviewer. She obtained this job from a former employer who knew the head of the review site and gave her a great recommendation. McNulty got to travel the world and stay in the fanciest hotels and review them and their service. She proved to us that “creative writing is a springboard” that enables you to do anything. She explained how so many people do not know how to write or need someone to write for them, which is where she has found her niche.
She is now involved in different online websites like Now Novel, that helps someone begin writing a book, and Sweet Life. Sweet Life is her passion project, a non-profit that promotes awareness and tips for those with diabetes. This magazine has led her to many stories and so many different relationships through the power of her writing and wanting to connect with others. When McNulty meets someone with diabetes, she feels the need to “draw stories out of people” because she believes that people can always find ways to relate to one another.
McNulty gave us hope and excitement for what life could be for Creative Writing majors after graduation. With her emphasis on storytelling, she explained how writing is a tool that can be used for so many things as her career has shown us. McNulty ended the talk with a favorite quote of her’s by Daniel Kahneman: “no one ever made a decision because of a fact. They need a story.” McNulty epitomizes this love for a story and wants to share it with the world through her talent and craft of writing.
Sophomore Isabel Paris is a Layout Assistant. Her email is email@example.com.