What do the following professions have in common?
– A Janitor
– An Airline Reservations Attendant
– A Coffee Shop Employee
– A Potato Chip Inspector
– An Apothecaries’ Assistant
Answer: Each were jobs held by famous writers. Stephen King was a Janitor. Harper Lee was an Airline Reservations Attendant. Margaret Atwood was a Coffee Shop Employee. Octavia Butler was a Potato Chip Inspector. And, of course, Agatha Christie was An Apothecaries’ Assistant.
And I too have held many different jobs. I have worked for the Department of Labor, a tutoring center, and two educational non-profits.
When I was graduate student for San Francisco State University, I worked as a Teacher Assistant for a course on the Business of Creative Writing. The point of the course was the address the very valid concerns of young writers.
HOW WILL I MAKE A LIVING AS A WRITER?
The truth is there is no straightforward equation or path when you chose to write for a living. There will be people who claim there is. That they have done it one way and it worked. But that’s the thing. That was THEIR path.
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PATHS.
The three things that are consistent between all paths where art and literature are concern are as follows:
1) those who want to create, consume the things which they wish t create with relish
2) those who want to create, create daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
3) those who want to create, do not give up in the face of rock bottom – they keep going and they keep submitting
Those who WISH to create, give up. They put off creating. They consume things that don’t remind them of their dreams.
Writers are readers, they produce, they submit, and they do not give up.
What does that mean for practical advice? If you need to eat to write, then work somewhere for a while and write. I work as a Toddler Assistant Teacher for a nonprofit. I write and read everyday, either on my tumblr or twitter, or facebook, or wordpress. The work with my students has given me the privilege to read more children’s books. It is a dream of mine to write a children’s book. Will I get there? Maybe, maybe not? Will I give up…
As long as Dragon’s Den is up and the internet exists, I will write. This is my pledge. To you, my audience, and my fellow writers. Do not give up, do not surrender, and always keep writing.
For more on the different professions held by famous authors, click here.