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Thread: Writing as a career

  1. #16
    Jealous Optimist Dori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kandaurov View Post
    Jon1jt, nice idea, and it does make sense, but I don't know a single writer who worked as a security guard, you know what I mean? Sure, to be a teacher is very exausting, but intellectually stimulating. And you get nice vacations like the students do and with those you have time to go to France and Vienna and get inspired and what not

    ...yeah, security guard would be good to write... and also to read. I might give that idea a try one day, heh
    All of my teachers look forward to summer vacation much more than I do. That statement alone reveals a lot about what it's like to be a teacher (at least at the high-school level).

    This is what you need to do: go two miles into the woods, build a cabin, work six weeks out of the year (picking berries and whatnot) and devote the rest of your time to thinking (and writing, of course). It worked for Thoreau, but only for about two years.
    com-pas-sion (n.) [ME. & OFr. <LL. (Ec.) compassio, sympathy < compassus, pp. of compati, to feel pity < L. com-, together + pali, to suffer] sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others, accompanied by an urge to help; deep sympathy; pity

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  2. #17
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dori View Post
    This is what you need to do: go two miles into the woods, build a cabin, work six weeks out of the year (picking berries and whatnot) and devote the rest of your time to thinking (and writing, of course). It worked for Thoreau, but only for about two years.

    It worked for Thoreau his entire life; Walden was just part of his writing quest. Besides, he had finished A Week On The Merrimac & Concord Rivers and felt it was time to move on to a new experience.

    After Walden he moved back into his parents' home, which left him plenty of free time to write his masterpiece.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-03-2008 at 11:14 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  3. #18
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    thanks for all the insights but as a security would you even be able to have the capital to publish your work. it will take a long time you know.. i would prefer an office job and writing during all the time i could possibly find.

  4. #19
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Writers have done all kinds of jobs, from criminal and prostitute (Jean Genet), to insurance company head (Wallace Stevens). Stevens used to write his poems on the train to work.

    Joyce sold advertising space, Sei Shonegan, author of The Pillow Book, was a Chinese courtesan, Alan Ginsberg did market research for a baby food company.

    A friend of mine wrote a novel about working as a receptionist under the desk while working as a receptionist.

    Salman Rushdie was an advertising copywriter and wrote the line 'Naughty, but nice' for cream buns. Fay Weldon wrote 'Go to work on an egg'.

    Rabelais, the first ever novelist, was a monk.

    Henry Fielding started the first London police force.

    Kafka worked in insurance and invented the first civilian hard hat, making a huge contribution to reducing deaths among steel mill workers.

  5. #20
    Moderator Logos's Avatar
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    Zane Grey was a dentist and minor league baseball player; guess which inspired some of his stories
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  6. #21
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    William Carlos Williams was a general practice doctor. His famous poem, The Red Wheelbarrow, was written while he was on his rounds:

    so much depends
    upon

    a red wheel
    barrow

    glazed with rain
    water

    beside the white
    chickens.


    The story, which for quite a while I couldn't relate without finding it difficult to speak at a certain point, is that it was written at the window in the sick room of a little boy whose life Williams was trying to save.

  7. #22
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    A friend of mine wrote a novel about working as a receptionist under the desk while working as a receptionist.
    Did your friend write the novel while under the desk, or did your friend write a novel about a receptionist who worked under the desk?

  8. #23
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DickZ View Post
    Did your friend write the novel while under the desk, or did your friend write a novel about a receptionist who worked under the desk?
    She wrote it under the desk. Only her hands, her body from the chest down and her notebook were under the desk at the time. Her head and shoulders were above the desk. The book was about a receptionist writing a novel under the desk while at work.

  9. #24
    Cat Person DickZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    She wrote it under the desk. Only her hands, her body from the chest down and her notebook were under the desk at the time. Her head and shoulders were above the desk. The book was about a receptionist writing a novel under the desk while at work.
    OK - I guess that's even better than Kramer's coffee table book about coffee tables!

  10. #25
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DickZ View Post
    OK - I guess that's even better than Kramer's coffee table book about coffee tables!
    I don't know - Kramer's idea is just so simple. You call it 'Coffe Table Book' and, like all the best titles, it works on more than one level (three if they followed through on making the book something you could convert into a coffee table). I wonder if anyone ever actually made that book.

    The poet George Oppen was a communist party worker and, later, after he was forced by the red witch hunts to flee to Mexico, a carpenter. During the twenty five years he was engaged in these activities, he did no writing.

    Fellow objectivist poet Lorine Neidecker worked as a cleaner.

  11. #26
    Registered User McDonald's Avatar
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    Just remember those who employ the writers are seldom writers, and often view writers as 'a dime a dozen.' If you love to write, you will write!

  12. #27
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp View Post
    Writers have done all kinds of jobs, from criminal and prostitute (Jean Genet), to insurance company head (Wallace Stevens). Stevens used to write his poems on the train to work.
    True true yeah yeah. It's funny...whenever this subject comes up about jobs and writing, it's almost like clockwork that this schtick is used that starts with dropping the same famous names of writers as a justification that working 9-to-5 doesn't get in the way of a writing life. The fact is that those writers make up an infinitesimal percent of the total writing population. Wallace Stevens? Kafka? Oppen? You're talking about masters, prodigies. I'm talking about the writers with great potential who will never quite get there because they lack the quality time to focus on their craft and lay it all down. They comprise the vast majority. There's a difference.
    Last edited by jon1jt; 03-04-2008 at 06:23 PM.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  13. #28
    Jealous Optimist Dori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    It worked for Thoreau his entire life; Walden was just part of his writing quest. Besides, he had finished A Week On The Merrimac & Concord Rivers and felt it was time to move on to a new experience.

    After Walden he moved back into his parents' home, which left him plenty of free time to write his masterpiece.
    I meant the whole living outside of society thing only worked for about two years. Like you said, I think he wanted to move on to a new experience.
    com-pas-sion (n.) [ME. & OFr. <LL. (Ec.) compassio, sympathy < compassus, pp. of compati, to feel pity < L. com-, together + pali, to suffer] sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others, accompanied by an urge to help; deep sympathy; pity

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  14. #29
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon1jt View Post
    True true yeah yeah. It's funny...whenever this subject comes up about jobs and writing, it's almost like clockwork that this schtick is used that starts with dropping the same famous names of writers as a justification that working 9-to-5 doesn't get in the way of a writing life. The fact is that those writers make up an infinitesimal percent of the total writing population. Wallace Stevens? Kafka? Oppen? You're talking about masters, prodigies. I'm talking about the writers with great potential who will never quite get there because they lack the quality time to focus on their craft and lay it all down. They comprise the vast majority. There's a difference.
    I'm not trying to justify anything. I don't want a nine to five job either, though I ****ing loathe advertising, even though it's the only way I've worked out to earn a living wage and have free time in this, the third most expensive city in the world. All I was saying is, there doesn't seem to be any rule about what writers do to get by. And I don't think there is. Those guys were masters? And? They weren't when they started out, were they? I don't think there's any rule about it. I also don't think having loads of free time is necessarily the best thing for a writer. Lay what all down? I'm firmly of the opinion that most work sucks and is meaningless, but it's what most people have to do and, as such, I think it's good material. Not the only material, but I wouldn't want to be a writer who'd never had to do it.

  15. #30
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    I like add something to all that has been said here. Writing should be taken as a hobby or passtime and if you take it as a career and want to get paid you are likely to be disappointed as a matter of fact. There needs to be some sacrifice. Kafka hardly got published in his life. Ayn Rand got refused a dozen times by publishers.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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