Writing doesn’t pay bills

Jessica Johnston over at the Kenyon Review blog has a piece on writers’ lifestyles, including teacher-writers, parent-writers, waiter-writers, beekeeper-writers, lighthouse keeper-writers, farmer writers, construction worker-writers, librarian-writers, software engineer-writers, grocery clerk-writers and puppet wrangling-writers in her list of possibilities.

Tad Williams’ biog reads as a CV: band member, shoe salesman, financial manager, newspaper boy, military manual designer, DJ/Broadcaster, TV/Theatre producer, teacher, co-founder of a television company and a writer. David Eddings was a buyer for Boeing rocket ships and a grocery clerk. Thomas Lynch works as an undertaker. Dannie Abse is a doctor.

Alongside the weird daytime experiences out there are the ‘writerly’ jobs. Lecturing in creative writing or English literature or Poetry. (Heaney, Palahniuk and countless thousands of others). Editing journals. Sub-editing. Journalism. Ghost writing. Visiting schools/libraries/arts centres.

A few writers have recently stressed to me how important they found their day-job. The routine of getting up in the morning (or having to go to bed), coming across different places or hearing and talking to people.

I can’t see the attraction. Not working sounds ideal.

2 Responses to “Writing doesn’t pay bills”

  1. 1 emordino

    “£500 a year and a room of one’s own.” Nothing in there about full time hours…

  2. 2 david.

    Ah see, Woolf received £2500 from her Aunt (approx equivalent of £120,000/€160,000 today). After it was invested Woolf received £100 per annum (approx equivalent £5000/€8000 today)…

    Not quite £500. But no mention of full-time hours either way.

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