Maybe I Should be a Janitor

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! 😀




About Charlotte Blackwood

Charlotte Blackwood is a self-employed aspiring author working on perfecting her first novella/ first novel. She is a current student at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA. If you're looking for a reading list (someday she'll add her own works to the list), she's currently supporting Anna Karenina, anything by Dickens, anything by Tolkien, anything by JK Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Hunger Games.

4 thoughts on “Maybe I Should be a Janitor

  1. Heh, well in my line of work in the real, I ran coal samples to and from the mines, and then wrote sci-fi and erotica at night. What we do to earn a living and our writing, I find are two different things entirely. Really great perspective. ❤

  2. A.M.B. says:

    True. Everyone has to choose their own path to a writing career, and I believe that the most interesting writing often comes from people who have had a wide range of experiences in life. Working is part of that experience. Working a “day job” also prevents writing from losing its appeal when it transitions from being a hobby to being a job. Have you ever read Faulkner’s resignation letter (he had been a postmaster)? It was featured on Letters of Note a while back and I wrote a post about it on Sept. 28th. It’s hilarious–there are certainly many authors who couldn’t wait to give up the day job!

    • No, I’ve not read it! I’ve heard that he wasn’t the most devoted or quality postmaster, though, so I can imagine that it was interesting. I’ll check out the post!

      I agree, I think many people are eager to give up the day job (as I will be, if I ever have a day job), but it’s also important to find a day job you can at least tolerate. Or learn something from. Or something. I’d hate to think of all the people working jobs they can’t stand. There’s already too many of those in the world.


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