The Writer’s ‘Day Job’

As an aspiring romance writer, I’m one of those who loves to scour authors’ web sites for “how I got started” stories.

I love the tales of “well, I was an accountant for 14 years, and decided to write this story that wouldn’t leave my mind …” or “I was a high school English teacher who had an active imagination …”

These stories always lead me to think about day jobs – the ones the writers had, the ones they might have – and wonder what might be the perfect one.

Is it easier for an author to be the writer in a PR company – where you’re writing all day and 2,000 words is absolutely no problem? Or is it easier to be something that has nothing to do with writing – someone who stares at spreadsheets all day, for instance, and can’t wait to get home to whip up some great dialogue? Is it helpful to work with plenty of people for inspiration – a library, perhaps? Victoria’s Secret? A doctor’s office? Or does it help if you have some off-beat, interesting job – like an archeologist or a member of the Peace Corps? Maybe it’s nicer to work at home in solitude, where you can switch to your novel file at a moment’s notice?

I often think of William Falkner, who I read once worked in a toll booth and would simply write while he waited for the cars to pass. I thought that might be nice for him – all that solitude, all that quiet. I wonder if he wrote The Sound and the Fury there.

What’s the best story you’ve heard about a writer’s day job? What do you think the ideal job would be? (for a romance writer? a mystery writer? a historical writer?)

And would you ever pursue a job just so you could put it in a book?

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One thought on “The Writer’s ‘Day Job’

  1. I know it may sound odd but I really miss the days of working retail!
    The people I met.
    The snippets of conversation I couldnt help but LONG to get home to weave into my writing.
    The people I met 🙂

    That said, Im a woman who adores all things las vegas.
    The crossection of humanity who ambles through that town (from way off the strip to ononon and in the VIP gambling rooms to everything in between) is writing fodder perfection.

    I love to go there and just sit and people watch.

    May that be my job? 🙂

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