Let’s face it. With the exception of the tiny handful of writers lucky enough to generate handsome earnings from their books or to have the full financial support of a spouse or a trust fund (two things I tend to longingly confuse), nowadays, most of us need some sort of gainful day job.
In fact, in this new economic and publishing context, paid jobs and careers in fields as seemingly unrelated to books as medicine, engineering, finance and law have become as integral to the writing life as long, quiet afternoons at the library once were.
Yet it’s a topic that tends to get lost amid our many conversations about publishing trends and craft.
So I asked some authors who also work outside their homes to share with us their experiences with this complex balancing act that’s increasingly becoming the *real* writer’s life.
Without further ado, I’m delighted to introduce Andrew Goldstein, Jane Roper and Michelle Toth.
Andrew’s smashing debut novel The Bookie’s Son will be released in May by Sixoneseven Books. (I can’t help adding that I was so taken by the humor and razor-sharp insight in The Bookie’s Son that I lent the manuscript around to friends and family long before it was ready to go to print, literally shaking them and saying, “you HAVE to read this!”)
A former Breadloaf fellow and a new grandfather, Andrew has run the award-winning custom building firm, Thoughtforms, for over thirty years. Initially he joined Thoughtforms to provide an income for his family, having held a panoply of part-time jobs before that including…Zamboni driver!…in order to write. He then put his writing on hold for twenty years. Still, he enjoyed his work and is proud to have helped helped Thoughtforms earn both Best of Boston and National Custom Builder of the Year awards.
Andrew confides that it was challenging to get back into the swing of writing after a twenty-year break. But ultimately, he did. Over the past ten years, he has managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing each morning before heading off to work. “Writing in the morning before work has created good discipline,” he says.
His patience and dedication have paid off. On top of publishing The Bookie’s Son, Andrew is now in a position of being able to leave his job in a couple of years to write full-time. He’s looking forward to it, and notes that even after all these years, writing is still his true love.