Famous Writers Who Held Regular Jobs While Pursuing Their Passion
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
It’s true what they say- anyone can write. You don’t have to be born a writer or into a family of literary geniuses. All you need is the passion to create worlds out of words. Some of the best writers in literary history started out with less inspiring day jobs. Long before they became the literary virtuosos we know them to be, these authors had normal day jobs to support themselves. This did not stop them from dreaming and going forth to fulfil their potential. In fact, many of their writings and incidents in the books were inspired by their jobs.
It has been found that people who pursued their passion of writing while working other jobs succeeded exceptionally. This is because of their ability to incorporate their skills and experiences into their writing. The lives of these famous authors outlined in the blog below will provide you with inspiration to begin writing from your office desk itself.
- Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens is renowned for birthing some of the most famous novels during the Victorian age. Almost every novel of his– David Copperfield, Oliver Twist or Hard Times, is now a classic. But he did not start out as a periodical writer. Charles Dickens was born into poverty and worked in a factory pasting labels onto pots of boot polish since he was twelve years old. A victim of the dark side of the Industrial Revolution, he worked 10 hours a day and earned a weekly wage of six shillings. When things improved, he started working as a freelance journalist and legal clerk in a London law office. Gradually, his writing attracted notice and he went on to become a successful novelist.
- Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie will live forever as the beloved queen of crime. But did you know that Christie qualified as a pharmacist’s assistant until the end of World War I? When the UK declared war on Germany in 1914, Agatha Christie quickly joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and spent the next four years attending injured troops at a military hospital. She later went on to publish her first novel Mysterious Affair at Styles by drawing on her knowledge of pharmaceuticals, especially poisons. More interestingly, she started writing partly in response to a challenge from her sister Madge that she couldn’t write a good detective story. But mostly, she wrote to relieve the monotony of the dispensing work which she was doing. Christie has left us with gifts in the form of the beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
- Stephen King
Known for his hair-raising, chill-inducing novels like The Shining, It and Carrie, Stephen King has dominated the horror genre for half a century. His bestselling novels have been adapted to the big screen, and have become blockbusters as well. As a boy, King discovered a box of fantasy-horror fiction books that had belonged to his father, and he devoured them all. This is where his passion for writing began and by the time King was seven, he had begun writing his own stories. However, while writing and submitting short stories he had to sustain himself through odd jobs. To earn money, he worked as a janitor, a gas pump attendant, and as a worker at an industrial laundry facility. Yet, he did not give up on his true calling and continued to persevere.
- Harper Lee
In 1960, Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, which changed the course of literary history in America by boldly foregrounding the issue of racial injustice. Before this, she held the day job of an airline ticketing agent. Having dropped out of law school, a young Lee moved to New York to pursue a writing career. To pay her way, she had to work as a ticket agent for Eastern Airlines and British Overseas Airways Corporation. All the while, she continued to write articles and short stories in her spare time. In 1956, her fate turned. Broadway composer Michael Brown, whom Lee had met through her childhood friend-turned-writer Truman Capote, gave her one year’s wages as a Christmas present, along with a note which read “You have one year off to write whatever you please.” A year later, Lee turned in her first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird to her agent.
- J.K. Rowling
“All I ever liked about working in offices was being able to type up stories on the computer when no one was looking. I was never paying much attention in meetings because I was usually scribbling bits of my latest stories in the margins of the pad, or choosing excellent names for the characters.”J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling overcame rejections from a dozen publishers before going to become one of the most successful and widely read authors in the history of the world. Before and even while creating the magical world of Harry Potter, she lived a disenchanting life. She struggled as a single mother surviving on government aid while also working as a \secretary at Amnesty International. As the above quote shows, while working at a desk job, she dreamed up magical worlds and fascinating characters. At the end of 1993, she had, in her words, “half a suitcase full of papers covered with stories about Harry Potter.”
These author’s lives are a testament to the power of dreams. To them, a daily job was not an impediment to fulfilling their passion. If you’re also like them, filing papers and meeting deadlines all while conjuring magical tales, don’t give up. The stories of the lives of our favourite authors can encourage us to continue to dream and write our own life stories into being.