View Full Version : The Ideal Day Job for Writers

07-21-2008, 07:45 AM
To take a tangent from another thread: If you had to pick any day job to support your writing life, what would it be? (Note, the "day job" can take place at any time of day.) Would you pick your current job or something completely different?

07-21-2008, 08:31 AM
I think it was Brandon Sanderson that said his first job was as a night desk clerk at a hotel. I guess it allowed plenty of time to write while on the job.

KC Sunshine
07-21-2008, 08:34 AM
I agree Jamie. Something with no responsibility and all the time in the world. Perhaps receptionist at a company where the phone never rings?

07-21-2008, 08:41 AM
I'm a programmer. It suits me perfectly.

No, I don't have time during the day to write. Snatches here and there, nothing substantial. The reason it works for me is because it allows me to be left-brained. I'd go batty if I had to be perpetually one half or the other.

07-21-2008, 08:48 AM
Hands down: graveyard shift security guard. No clock rounds. Preferably for the government.


07-21-2008, 09:00 AM
I am interested in working in corporate finance... I think that would be the ideal day job for me. It pays well, is not influenced by magic fireballs from space (the numbers are there or they're not)... or so it would seem. ;)

07-21-2008, 09:21 AM
"Fluffer" for all-girl porn productions...

07-21-2008, 09:31 AM
what's a fluffer?

Lyra Jean
07-21-2008, 09:37 AM
Well, I'm school to study for my future day job. Librarian. Only three years left until I get my masters.

07-21-2008, 09:40 AM
what's a fluffer?

Something that actually doesn't exist in porn.

... so I've been told. From semi-reliable sources.

Danger Jane
07-21-2008, 09:47 AM
what's a fluffer?

Urbandictionary, my friend.

Karen Duvall
07-21-2008, 09:55 AM
I'm self-employed as a graphic designer and it works really well with my writing because I make my own hours.

07-21-2008, 09:58 AM
"Fluffer" for all-girl porn productions...

And what good, exactly, what that be?

07-21-2008, 10:15 AM
I'm a cat herder.

On a less serious note, I would think the perfect job for a writer would include being near creative people. Creative people feed off each other. Mutual symbiosis.

07-21-2008, 10:22 AM
Definitely something in a library or maybe a theatre. I would love to work in a theatre box-office.

07-21-2008, 10:41 AM
Translator. Specially for movies and TV shows since less vocabulary is required, really helps you to get into the mind of characters who aren't yours (the Dr. Gonzo Method :D)

07-21-2008, 01:19 PM
Well, I'm currently a high school student, so I don't have a paying "day job", but I'm working towards being a translator. Ideally, I'd like to be able to live comfortably and support a family that I would like to have based solely on writing,but chances of that are very slim...so I chose a translator as my back-up career. I love languages, and learning languages, particularly French, so this seemed like an obvious choice to me.

C.M. Daniels
07-21-2008, 02:09 PM
I like what I'm doing, and the hours are just about perfect. Now, if it just paid more.

I'm not a writer who could just sit around and be a writer. I'd go absolutely stir crazy.

07-21-2008, 02:42 PM
fire tower lookout in a forest,
or lighthouse sentinel :-)

07-21-2008, 03:42 PM
I already have the perfect job for me--freelance editor. I decide on my own projects and create my own hours. Since mine isn't the primary income for our household, I can set things up however I want. If I want to concentrate on my writing, I won't take any projects for a few weeks. Or if I'm getting burned out, I'll do some extra editing and take a bit of a break from writing.

07-21-2008, 05:33 PM
Investor. :) Work a few hours a day, done by 4 p.m.

Harper K
07-21-2008, 06:03 PM
My old writing teacher told me about a writer friend of his who worked at the "information desk" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The only "information" he was asked for most days was where the bathroom and the coat check were. So he got into a good routine of pointing people where they needed to go, and working on his novel the rest of the time. Basically he was getting paid to write, and he was in one of the best people-watching spots you could imagine. I could totally deal with a day job like that.

Susan Breen
07-21-2008, 06:17 PM
I teach a fiction class, and I was worried when I took the job that it would wind up crowding up my head with other people's stories and that I'd be plagiarizing. But I only teach once a week and I get to spend time with people who love writing and I wander around Manhattan on my way to class. Of course, it's a good thing my husband has a job as a lawyer.

Lyra Jean
07-21-2008, 07:20 PM
Stay at home wife like a stay at home mom but without the kids.

Please don't hurt me.

07-21-2008, 09:03 PM
Stay at home wife like a stay at home mom but without the kids.

You know, sometimes I regret leaving my "good-friends but no-passion" ex-boyfriend for just that reason. He wanted to get married young and I wasn't into it (or really all that into him other than as a friend), but he's an engineer (decent income) and he encouraged my independence, so in a way I think it could have been a great setup for the writing life. Have someone else pay the bills, so I can just write, take classes, and volunteer or take on a part-time job for inspiration rather than for some career or bill-paying reason. But you better believe you'll be paying for it in one way or another.

And... they always want kids eventually. Unless you're older. Or they're older. Hmm... maybe I should find a rich octagenarian who's still heavily involved in his work and doesn't demand a lot of attention?

07-21-2008, 09:15 PM
I used to work the night shift at a women's shelter. It provided me with plenty of time to think about my writing, but also occassional real-life drama & intense human interactions which also helped with my writing.

07-23-2008, 09:29 AM
Professional traveller. I'm still looking for someone to pay me for doing it If not, my second choice is my own little Italian restaurant with music. I'll cook and be inspired while customers will provide me with so many ideas. Sometimes just sitting in a restaurant and exploring people's faces can easily produce a novel.

07-23-2008, 10:13 AM
I'd run a doggy daycare personally

Play with doggies, write, play with doggies more, write

sounds good to me

instead: I make coupons...yeah that's right...coupons

07-23-2008, 01:30 PM
I work as a private English teacher. :) It's a bit unfair, but I make pretty good money, can dictate my own hours, and listening to the students lives provide endless fodder for my imagination. I feel like a psychiatrist, minus the notepad and the comfortable sofa.

07-23-2008, 01:43 PM
I don't have any choice. I was an accountant for 32 years and lost my job last year. I can't get anything and I've been on welfare for 15 months now despite applying for over 150 jobs. However, it does give me endless time to write plus my two dogs keep me sane - sort of!
No wonder my books so far are dog-orientated :snoopy:

07-23-2008, 09:08 PM
Like JackFishWoman, I used to work the night shift in a shelter. It supplies the quiet time necessary to write but with occasional drama that can feed writing. The pay is not bad. This has come to an end as I am working the day shift in another position at the same place. I wish I could go back to nights, though because the day shift is very intense and not quite my piece of cake. I will move on to something more quiet eventually.

Rena Andra
07-24-2008, 07:47 AM
Fast food...if you need to see people's worst and best behavior. I could wing off a thousand character flaws in a day. One hundred ways to dis' yer ole man. A new way a day to insult and humiliate a child, co-worker, or any unsuspecting individual. A list of crude things old and young men say to women, young and old. Or perhaps talking a man down from lofty heights to nothing more than a burger muncher. All of this is possible, for one low wage. Of course, you absolutely need to have the uncanny ability to tune out those who would send a sane mind into the abyss. ( That low evil laugh gets inserted here.) lol

07-24-2008, 08:16 AM
You guys are giving me good ideas. I lost my job last month due to the economy. I'm on unemployment right now, which gives me plenty of time for writing (which I work feverishly at) but would love to find something that gives me a lot of time to write. Writing is all I want to do. My bills are minimal.

I can't go back to Corporate America, I just can't. I hate it with a passion that burns deep inside and has the red hot intensity of 2,000 burning suns. I've never been a "career-oriented" person. Keep the ideas coming! I like the lighthouse watchman idea. ;)

07-24-2008, 08:20 AM
To take a tangent from another thread: If you had to pick any day job to support your writing life, what would it be? (Note, the "day job" can take place at any time of day.) Would you pick your current job or something completely different?

I'm a receptionist. It's the perfect day job for an aspiring writer. Slow times are predictable, and when the phone does ring while writing, it's never a conversation long enough to completely take me out of my zone. Wouldn't change it for nuthin.

Then again I haven't used this to my advantage since January, but heck. :)

freezer burned
07-24-2008, 10:08 AM
"If you mean me, the best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it’s the perfect milieu for an artist to work in. It gives him perfect economic freedom; he’s free of fear and hunger; he has a roof over his head and nothing whatever to do except keep a few simple accounts and to go once every month and pay off the local police. The place is quiet during the morning hours, which is the best time of the day to work. There’s enough social life in the evening, if he wishes to participate, to keep him from being bored; it gives him a certain standing in his society; he has nothing to do because the madam keeps the books; all the inmates of the house are females and would defer to him and call him “sir.” All the bootleggers in the neighborhood would call him “sir.” And he could call the police by their first names." -- William Faulkner

07-24-2008, 10:11 AM
I found the following job description and remembered that someone here mentioned it, so I thought I'd post it.

Forest Fire Lookout

This is the perfect job for solitary types with no fear of heights and the ideal opportunity to write the great American novel. The job consists of manning a tower in a national park or forest preserve and watching for signs of fire. It can be lonely work; for years the Forest service sought newlywed couples for this job. Pay is based on civil service wage levels (starting around $6,000) and includes generous health benefits. Author Jack Kerouac did this.

Sure beats this one:

Brain Picker

Places animal head on a table or on hooks in a slaughterhouse, splits the skull and picks out the brains.