The Day Jobs Of Famous Authors
A friend and coworker of mine, Jon Acuff, recently wrote a book called Quitter. The book has done incredible on Amazon and even reached The Wall Street Journal’s best-seller list for business/nonfiction.
The gist of the book is this: Everyone tells you to quit your job if you want to follow your dream. But Jon took a different, more sane approach. He worked on his dream on the side while he kept his day job to pay the bills. Now, years later, he’s in his dream job as a speaker and author.
He asks the question, “What if you could blow up your dream without blowing up your life? What if you could go for broke without going broke?” Quitter is a powerful book.
And, interestingly enough, many famous authors took Jon’s approach. Publishers Weekly recently posted an article about the day jobs of famous authors--the stuff they did to pay the bills while they were writing their novels.
Kurt Vonnegut sold cars. He managed a Saab dealership in Cape Cod.
John Steinbeck was a tour guide at a fish hatchery.
Sylvia Plath worked as a receptionist at a psychiatric hospital.
Harper Lee was a ticket agent for Eastern Airlines.
And, perhaps most painful of all, Ken Kesey made extra money as a test subject in a CIA-sponsored drug experiment.
Read more about famous authors’ day jobs over at Publishers Weekly.
To me, that only makes sense. If you quit your job to, say, write a novel, then you put a massive amount of pressure on yourself to write a perfect novel. Sometimes it takes years to get a great story published–look at The Help, for example. Kathryn Stockett was rejected 60 times before her novel was finally accepted!
So, without a doubt, follow your dream. But keep your head at the same time. Don’t plunge in the water headfirst without a plan. That’s what these authors did, that’s what Jon Acuff says to do, and I totally agree.
So what’s your dream? And do you have a “day job” that is helping you pay the bills to get there?