Sunday, May 27, 2018

Most Writers Need "Day Jobs"

Thinking you can make a living just by writing books is like thinking you'll get rich by growing corn in West Virginia. For the great majority of published authors, writing is a vocation supported by a primary occupation--the dreaded day job. During the day, writers are cops, reporters, lawyers, physicians, office clerks, bureaucrats, sales associates, receptionists, nurses and real estate agents. The lucky ones, although they seem to complain the most, are the college professors teaching in English (Richard Russo calls them "Anguish") departments. The poet and novelist Delmore Schwartz gleefully declared himself "self-employed" after quitting his professorship at Harvard. A few years later, however, economic reality drove him back into teaching at Kenyon, then later at Princeton. Still, the Stephen Kings and J. K. Rowlings of the writing world keep the dream of literary wealth and fame alive.

Jim Fisher 

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