How Does Your Day Job Help Your Writing? - Writer's Digest

How Does Your Day Job Help Your Writing?

Author:
Publish date:
How does your day job help your writing?

Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership in Cape Cod. Harper Lee worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines. T.S. Eliot was a banker, and Wallace Stevens an insurance executive. Many of the most famous writers in history had to fit in their artistic endeavors around their day jobs, squeezing in words in early mornings or late nights, at lunch or on smoke breaks.

While some yearned for a full-time writing career, others relished the balance of the creative and the practical. In a letter from 1928, Stevens wrote about how such a counterbalance kept him stable: “But after living there [in a world of the imagination] to the degree that a poet does, the desire to get back to the everyday world becomes so keen that one turns away from the imaginative world in a most definite and determined way.” All to say that sometimes a day job can serve to actually bolster our writing.

Do you get story ideas from your customers, patients, clients or coworkers? Is your workday skill set surprisingly handy for your weekend writing? Do you have a job that other people find fascinating? Or is your schedule just flexible enough that you can take writing breaks during the day? We want to hear from you!

Email your best tips or tributes to your writer-friendly day job (a short paragraph is fine—a bit longer works too!) to writers.digest@fwmedia.com with "Writer-Friendly Day Job" in the subject line, or simply post your response in the comments to this post. Select responses may be edited for space and clarity and will appear in Writer's Digest magazine and its related publications and website. (By submitting, you grant permission.)

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.