Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jobs that suck up writing energy

Probably the key practical question for writers is how to support the writing. Usually we mean financial support--what kind of employment is going to allow me to pay the bills and work on this book?

But other kinds of support are important, obviously--mental and spiritual, for example.

If you read advice from writers a lot like I do, you'll see advice to get yourself a day job totally separate from the writing life. The idea is to make sure that the energy you spend on your day job isn't the energy you'll need to work on your book--imaginative energy generally and concentrated writing time specifically.

So the teaching profession is right out, because it presumably sucks up the creative juices. Journalism too. And marketing, advertising copywriter, radio jingle composer . . . what else? Court reporter. Soapbox prophet. Writing love letters for illiterate peasants at sidewalk cafe table in Bogata.

I'm breaking this rule myself, right now, working as a professional writer. I generally don't go by any hard and fast rules--everyone has to take their own path--but this is definitely something I worry about. Is part of the reason I'm having trouble turning my attention to the book at 9 a.m. because my subconscious is working on other writing I have to do later in the day?

Possibly, but on the other hand, the previous job I had--salaried, lots of hours, lots to manage, not a writing job exactly though of course with lots of writing needed to create the work product--didn't leave me any kind of energy, writing energy or otherwise. It sucked up all the spiritual and emotional and physical energy in a way my current job does not.

I'm curious to know what jobs other people find are most and least supportive of their writing, financially and otherwise.

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