No, I’m not actually going to become a janitor, but someone on LinkedIn posted an article about jobs famous writers had before (and sometimes while) they were famous writers. Two of them were janitors (Ken Kesey and Stephen King), but there was a massive variety between them, many of them doing multiple odd jobs.
I’ve talked about day jobs before, and I’m certainly a fan of them. Nobody wants a day job, but it’s good life experience for writing and a great way to remind yourself that nothing good comes easily. There’s nothing wrong, in my mind, with getting your hands dirty and getting a bit of work experience. Do I want a day job? No, but if I need one, I’ll roll up my sleeves just like everybody else.
But my biggest concern with people putting up articles like this is that people are reading this looking to copy the path of a particular author, finding that Stephen King was a janitor and signing themselves up for such a job hoping to replicate that experience.
Part of why we write is because we are NOT our writing ancestors. We have fresh ideas and experiences and style to bring to the table. Why would be bother writing if everything we had to be had already been said in the same way?
If we’re getting across that we’re different people, we should have different experiences, as that’s what feeds writing.
The most important thing to get out of the article, I think, is that there is no one career that the majority of great writers have done. You can have any day job you want! It’s part of who you are, part of what makes you interesting, part of what influences your writing. Why should you be like everybody else?
Go forth and work! 😀