Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Beginning

Browsing Lapham's Quarterly I stumbled upon a list of famous authors and their day jobs. For as we know, it is a rarity for writers to fully support themselves financially with their art.

With that, I thought back on all of the things that I did while I tirelessly wrote and sent out queries. And waited for the impending rejections. There were a few odd jobs: I spent some time in the theaters of Boston, as a Lighting Designer and a technician. I created sets in the back of a Uhaul for a local high school play. I tutored. I taught photography and creative writing to kids. I worked at a library, and finally I ended up as director of an after school program.

A year and a half later I sold my first novel. A year and a half later, I was promoted at the day job. As is the custom of promotions, I went from the comfortable day to day into the open maw of the new, the unknown. I was thrown back to the learning curve and into the awkward transition. I, all of a sudden, found myself making cold calls, trying to get people to listen, failing, pursuing, failing, occasionally succeeding. I began to feel the writer in me, the introvert, twisting uncomfortably under my skin as I picked up the phone. Alternatively, the worker in me put her face out toward the upcoming challenge. Feeling gollum-esque each day, I push the introvert back and the extrovert forward. Knowing that in the end, I hope to find myself back in my comfort zone, with my writing, alone.

So to ease this transition and the discomfort that it brings, I would like to find some camaraderie, if you will. I want to know what writers do to support their writing. Are they--were they-- teachers, salesman, entrepreneurs, waiters, baristas. What does it do for their writing? Do they love it, hate it? Each morning do they look forward to it or do they fear it? In what way has it helped or hindered their tales?

Let's begin the inquiry, shall we?

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