Thursday, January 17, 2013

5 Jobs that will make you a better writer

Most writers know this sad truth: it’s hard to make a living. Many of us work other jobs to support our writing, at least when we are starting out. But which jobs are best for writers? Writer Abroad has complied a short list of jobs that may improve your writing, along with successful authors who have done them.

ESL Teacher
How better to understand the English language than to try to explain it to others? Teach English to non-native speakers and you’ll also discover a new world of characters and cultural understanding.
Successful author example: Peter Hessler

No one hears more of life’s little stories than a hairdresser. Become a one and you’ll probably also become a better storyteller.
Successful author example: Deborah Rodriguez

Expat at Large
Take any job or maybe no job at all, but do it in an entirely different country. Your old world will become clearer to describe and you’ll have a brand new one open to you as well.
Successful author: Janet Skeslien Charles

Take a complicated business problem and solve it with a one liner that entertains. Oh, and do it in an hour, please. Become a copywriter and you’ll write succinctly and be able to handle deadline pressure.
Successful author example: Augusten Burroughs

No writer knows what other writers are publishing these days more than a bookseller. Become one and you’ll know the trends and markets that are important for writers today.
Successful author example: Diccon Bewes

What are some other good jobs for writers? Why?


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  2. Interesting post! I often daydream about jobs that would help me as a writer. I worked for a police department before coming to Switzerland -- I think a cop gets to see a pretty full spectrum of human existence, and their whole day is spent interviewing people and piecing together what happened and then writing it up. Strangely I can't think of any authors who have this background, though.

  3. I wish I could earn a living via publishing my casual diary journals! Lol!

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  7. A cop must be a great thing for a writer to be! I can't think of an example off the top of my head either though.

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  10. Chantal,

    One might include the opportunities of teaching online. Of course, one needs a graduate degree to teach at the college level. While living abroad, I teach English Composition online at two different US colleges. It supports my writing, involves me in the academic and writing communities, and improves my writing at every step. It helped provide opportunities to give readings at many colleges for my book "Body of a Dancer," which had a successful release. Plus, the position seems to help with the great reception of my book, giving me an authority within the field. Online teaching is a great option for all writers!

    Thanks for your blog, as ever, and your work on behalf of writers abroad.

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