Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day Jobs for Writers

With the end of Winter semester slowly approaching, I'm at that point where I need to start making some job decisions. For the past 2 1/2 years I have worked as a research assistant/secretary to a religion professor at BYU. It has been such a great job, and I am really grateful for the opportunity I've had to work in a BYU office. But I'm graduating this year. Not only that, but I will probably need more work for the summer. Its time to start making some serious career decisions.

Obviously what I really want to do is write. But you just don't make money doing that, especially not in the beginning. So I need a day job, and this is where I need your guys' help.

In my opinion, a good day job for a writer has set hours and no take home work. This is why I can see teaching being a difficult day-job: because you're never not working. Preferably a job where your not sitting at a desk/computer all day, so you don't get sick of computers by the time you have time to sit at yours and write. And you probably don't want a job that will leave you too mentally exhausted to write at the end of the day.

With these qualifications, the first thing I'm led to is: retail. I actually think retail might be a good day job for a writer. Personally, I love books, movies and animals so this morning I have been on the phone with Barnes & Nobles, F.Y.E., and PetSmart. In a retail job you have set hours, hopefully enjoyable coworkers, and time after work to do what you want; i.e., write.

Here are some other random ideas:

Bus/Taxi Driver

Still, considering that I'm still pre-baccalaureate, retail seems like the best option. Any other ideas?

Sarah Allen


  1. Very much a question of whether one is reactive to new ideas or requires a proactive environment that spawns creative thought. As a security guard at a university library, many hours of boredom allowed me to escape into my thoughts and many new ideas were nurtured. It still works for me, as mundane tasks allow all manner of creative thought to surface. For you, Sarah, I am thinking you are more outgoing and more socially interactive. In which case, a retail position would allow interaction with both co-workers and customers. Exposure to this environment may foster ideas for new character development based on real people. Conversations may ultimately lead to new ideas for a literary piece. Finally, and most importantly, you will be often asked, "What do you do in your spare time?" or "What is your educational background?". In addition to replying that you are an English Major, you can also mention that you host this blog. If the person shows interest, you will have in hand the traditional "business card" with the URL address on it. And so, you will be taking social networking out of the computer and also utilizing it in the "real world".

  2. Wow, awesome ideas! I think what you said is exactly right, and I hadn't even thought of using this blog as part of my self-introduction. Thanks so much for your support and great ideas!


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