Nothing brings me joy like casting a spell and watching that health bar drop while the melee's chew away slowly at it. The problem lies with doing it and being able to make a living(with SP). Hopefully there will be a place for people like me when NM's come and it isn't about getting SP.
That being said, how are we supposed to be adequately knowledgeable for NM's without any practice from day to day?
I've been trying to make a living as a black mage. I don't do as well as the "I only cure" conjurer's, but I guarantee I have more fun! With the fatigue system, I'm able to keep up with my linkshell mates alright. It just takes a -little- longer to hit fatigue. Here are the tips I've come up with:
1. Learn to love spirit bind.
MP is precious when you're grinding, especially in a good group with little downtime. Even with spirit bind, tranquility and exaltation, I can still run out of MP if we'er chaining quickly. That's bad juju, since you won't be getting much SP off spirit dart.
2. Stick to your lowest nukes.
For lots of reasons: They have the best damage/MP ratio (currently). They do the least amount of damage, which means you get more casts, and your melee friends get more hits. Spread the SP, it spreads the love. Furthermore, from my experience, amount of damage has little to nothing to do with the amount of SP given. That means, its in your best interest to conserve your MP for the maximum number of casts. (hence making spirit bind your friend)
3. Use profundity frequently.
When trying to get SP, use profundity on spirit darts or radiance. It doesn't blow the monster up as badly, giving others a chance for SP, as using it with a spell. It also gives a nice bump to the SP gain (when they all fall together like that), and it further conserves your MP.
4. Know your elemental wheel.
Seriously. I can't tell you how many time's I've been in a party killing squirrels or Opo-Opo's and another Conjurer casts Thunder. Earth grounds lightning. Your chance of resist, and subsequently no SP, goes through the roof. Use Aero on earth-based creatures. You CAN switch out spells even if your group engages. You just need to be in passive mode. So put that stick away, set the right spell (/eaction # "Spell Name" main) and get to work! While damage output seems not to affect SP gains, full resist and partial resists do. Its always in your best interest to use the proper spell.
5. Don't be "that" kind of black mage.
In FFXI, Blm/Whm was quite common. Equally as common as notion that BLM's shouldn't cure when needed. Supposedly that was the White mage's job. In 14, it is in your best interest to throw out an occasional cure. You can get a ton of SP off a single AoE cure, especially when people are low on health. If you have this kind of set up, don't hog the curable HP. Use Cure2 if its an emergency, otherwise stick to sacrifice or cure1.
Don't go crazy with this, because the SP gains aren't stellar. Every little bit helps, though. I tend to use the elemental DoT they're weak to, OR Dia. Whichever tickles my fancy. If you're having problems with resist, use the elemental DoT. You can use a single macro to give both the DoT and Spell on your action bar at the same time.
Its a lot of things to keep track of, but usually just chatting with whoever's doing the healing can do a lot for you. They aren't dumb. They'll know they're getting better SP than you. Set up an arrangement so you can cast sacrifice at the start of each battle. This is especially effective in groups of 5+. One good sacrifice can get you 100-200 SP even if everyone's health is full (from the regen buff). That's the best bet for buffing SP. Maybe you can take care of shell, and the other Conj takes care of protect? Work something out. There's plenty of SP to be had.
8. Magical Accuracy is your friend.
Resisted spells will eat away at your SP gains faster than anything else. There isn't much gear out there with Magical Accuracy built in, but by all means, get them. Bone Rings give +2 per ring.
9. Use rank-appropriate weapons.
Your potency and accuracy both drop through the floor when you use a weapon too high of a rank. The example here is an elm cane(r11) and a pine crook(r18). At rank 17, I had a pine crook in my inventory to use when I hit 18. Curious, to see if the difference in stats would be affected that much, I equipped it and was utterly amazed. Even by using it 1 rank ahead of time, my magical potency AND accuracy dropped over what I had while using an elm cane. It only dropped by two, but its still silly to further handicap yourself on a job that can be difficult to SP.
10. HQ weapons are DEFINITELY worth it.
They tend to have increased potency and magical accuracy. They might be a bit more pricey, but magical accuracy is definitely worth it.
I'm sure someone will eventually respond with "Lets stop pretending SP flows when you play like a black mage." I'll straight up tell you that I get better SP when I'm the only Conj and I get all the heals. As I said, though, this route is more fun for me, and I hope these tips can help you to have fun and still be able to rank up too.