A new phenomenon called over-employment is taking over the corporate world. Insights from Wired on workers working multiple jobs indicate a shift towards over-employment as a response to inflation in the US. The rising cost of living and general economic instability have driven people to want to double or even triple their income.
Over-employment may be more familiar for writers than for people in other professions. Writing can be challenging, and most aspiring to a writing career want to have a backup plan before starting. We’re always welcoming and encouraging towards new writers here at The Wordslinger, and we understand the common struggle for newbie writers, especially of not knowing how to start. Today, we’ll talk about four modern writers who began their writing careers in place while working their “regular” jobs. Hopefully, their unique anecdotes can serve as inspiration for the next gifted writer to simply start writing — even if you’re still working your day job:
Adam Baker writes zombie novels, most notably his Outpost series. Before he became a writer, however, he was a gravedigger, a cinema projectionist, and a slot machine mechanic in an Atlantic City casino. His secret? Unable to commit to a nine-to-five career path, he revels in town- and job-skipping in search of a “home” — and this vagabond mindset seems to have worked out for him in the end. Inspired by HP Lovecraft, Baker’s horror writing might as well be straight out of his previous job gravedigging. Aside from writing strong female lead characters in masculine worlds, Baker enjoys the occasional contemplation of mortality, viewing the idea of isolation as one’s way of mastering their fate.
Writer of the widely known and loved series, Outlander, Diana Gabaldon wanted to be a novelist since she was eight years old. However, as it usually does, life had other plans, and she pursued a career in the academe and science instead. Her degrees branched from zoology (B.S.), marine biology (M.S.), and, eventually, quantitative behavioral ecology (Ph.D.). Gabaldon wrote the first book of her Outlander series in the parking lot of a church and currently owns around 6,500 books in her collection. This giant collection ranges from Scottish history to 18th-century politics, which act as references for her writing, and then some general literature and fiction books for reading in her spare time. Her background in all these topics has influenced her creation of Outlander, which includes rich historical and medical insights.
Everyone loves a good self-improvement book once in a while. You learn a lot from essays on professional or life skills such as decision-making and being strategic, even for something as trivial as knowing when to Quit. Of course, these insights could come from nowhere else but the mind of retired poker pro Annie Duke and her experience in the poker community. Duke was the top female poker player during the poker boom era, racking up over $4.2 million in live tournament cashes — even beating poker icon Phil Hellmuth during the 2004 WSOP Tournament of Champions. Today, Duke is a full-time author and public speaker on how to think on your feet. Among her many accomplishments, Duke — while a controversial player in the poker community — remains one of the greatest female poker players of all time.
This entry is no stranger to most aspiring writers and avid readers. Haruki Murakami, known for bestselling titles such as Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood, is a Japanese literary master that specializes in magical realism, ambient music, and mysterious cats. What Murakami is less known for, however, is his background as a manager in a jazz club called Peter Cat, which he opened with his wife in 1974. No doubt, music plays a huge influence in Murakami’s writing, and it’s evident in his penchant for melodious descriptions of music in his stories. Case in point, Norwegian Wood, one of his most popular titles, was named after the Beatles song. Aside from jazz, Murakami often guides his readers through various genres, from rock to country and even classical. His first novel, Hear The Wind Sing, was written at Peter Cat’s second location in downtown Sendagaya.