The Military Veterans in Creative Careers podcast works to help veterans turn their creative passions into careers by interviewing veterans who have become directors, producers, actors, game developers, writers, and more.
Are you a veteran who has considered writing? Maybe you heard about that Gunnery Sergeant who was an extra in some war movie, and you want to see what that's like? If these or any other creative path sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy the podcast and the advice the cohosts and their guests have to offer.
The podcast is in the top 10 military transition podcasts and is cohosted by Justin Sloan, Jennifer Marshall, and Trevor Scott, three veterans who pursued their creative passions after the military (Justin is a writer, while Jennifer and Trevor are actors).
Author Sean McLain Brown
Many of these veterans have found that being creative acts as a sort of therapy, and this is especially true of writers. Take, for example, Marine Corps veteran, Sean Mclain Brown. After his time in the military, Sean first went to school to study journalism, but soon moved into creative writing. He focused on poetry and short fiction and has gone on to teach creative writing and play a lead role in the veteran community of writers. He is one of many veteran writers who will state that writing saved his life.
Taught to Conceal, Not to Reveal
Sean advises veterans to get out of your comfort bubble and share, because doing so can be cathartic. However, he recognizes that it can be a challenge to do so. We are often "taught to conceal, not to reveal," he says. It was a good thing he disregarded this advice, or he might have become another one of the many veteran suicides we hear about every year, if not for creative writing. In the podcast episode with Sean, he shares how he was living in his automobile and attending school while he spiraled into dark places. One day he heard about Maxine Hong Kingston's Veterans Writing Workshop, and got ahold of her. She invited him to participate, and it changed (if not saved) his life.
Veterans can reach into their creative sides to deal with PTSD or any other issue they are dealing with, or just have fun. Some veterans just want to create for the point of creating. Whatever the reason, Sean recommends you look into finding a creative group near you, or start your own.
Start Your Own Writing Group
For those veterans interested in starting a veteran writing group in your area, Sean shared a document on this topic, available here: "How to Build Your Own Veteran Writers Group." To get an idea of what these groups may do aside from writing critiques, Sean shared an exercise he has beginning writers try.
Write a letter to yourself.
The act of writing the letter to yourself helps you to get distance from the experience, from the person that is the veteran that may have dealt with some form of drama. It helps you escape from self-criticism. And don't worry about the prose just yet -- allow yourself to meander, to wander, and throw form to the wind.
Listen to the Podcast
Are You a Veteran Writer in the San Francisco Area?
If you are interested in Sean Brown's writing, he will be presenting with author Justin Sloan and Telltale Games' employee Juan Vaca at this year's San Francisco LitCrawl. Keep your eyes open for the announcement on the LitQuake website. If you want more information on this LitCrawl event or about the podcast, contact Justin.
Also, Justin is hosting this year's San Francisco Writers Conference veteran scholarship. If you are a veteran and would like to be considered for free entrance to the conference, contact Justin for more information (and have your DD214 ready).
For these and related inquiries, you can reach Justin at VeteransinCreativeCareers@gmail.com.