“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
As an author, however much you long to, you may not have the opportunity right now to devote your days to writing and courting your muse. You may wonder why you don’t have the time you need and want to develop your craft. Well, you’re not alone. While it’s tempting to think of most successful writers as, well, successful — on their road to fame and hopefully, fortune, many of them held day jobs that were strange, even weird, in order to support their writing. As a revealing infographic posted by Unplag.com showed, even revered writers needed a paycheck:
James Joyce, author of Portrait of the Artist as a Young man and Ulysses: Composed melodies, played guitar and piano, and was a theatrical performer.
William Faulkner, Author of The Sound and The Fury: Served as postmaster at the University of Mississippi.
Ken Kesey, Author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Did a stint as a janitor in a mental hospital and volunteered for a CIA study.
Kurt Vonnegut, Author of Cat’s Cradle: Worked as a car dealer for Saab, the Swedish car manufacturer.
Stephen King, Author of The Stand and Misery: Mopped the floor as a janitor in a high school.
J.D. Salinger, Author of The Catcher in the Rye: Kept them laughing as entertainment director on a Swedish cruise liner.
Harper Lee, Author of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman: Booked plane tickets as a reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Author of Tender Is the Night and The Great Gatsby: Worked in an ad agency dreaming up slogans for trolley placards.
Charles Dickens, Author of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist: Labeled jars in a shoe polish factory.
Jack London, Author of White Fang and The Call of the Wild: Labored in a cannery and then struck out on his own as an oyster pirate.
Oyster pirate — sounds exotic and exciting, doesn’t it? Know any other writers with odd jobs? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Write on.