Not-So-Literary Jobs of Famous Writers

I have a day job. I edit content for the Discovery News Tech website. I also have a life that fills up with lots of activities that have nothing to do with writing. So squeezing in the time to write feels just like that, a squeeze. Sometimes I fantasize about how wonderful it would be to not have a job, and simply focus all of my energy on writing fiction. But I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. I’m not alone in this wishful thinking, and that’s a little consolation. There are plenty of writers in the same boat, working a day job to pay the bills and squeezing in the time to write. You might be one of them. Take heart knowing that plenty have come before you, working jobs that had nothing to do with writing fiction. Here are a few:

George Orwell: officer of the Indian Imperial Police

Herman Melville: cabin boy on a cruise liner

Kurt Vonnegut: worked in public relations for General Electric

Jack London: oyster pirate

John Steinbeck: tour guide at a fish hatchery

Jack Kerouac: railroad brakeman

Richard Wright: postal clerk

Joseph Heller: blacksmith’s apprentice

Joseph Conrad: gunrunner

Harper Lee: reservation clerk at Eastern Airlines

We’re in good company.

Photo: Jack Kerouac. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

via Mental Floss

9 Comments on “Not-So-Literary Jobs of Famous Writers”

  1. You’re absolutely right. I’m a translator and procrastinator. And like Robin, I’m also a wife, mother, doer of laundry and hauler of seemingly endless bags of groceries (2 teenage boys and a husband who runs 10 miles a day can eat massive quantities of food…).

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