by Beth Shriver
I’ve always admired writers who also have another job as well as their writing. I was a social worker before my daughter was born and started writing soon after, but now that my youngest is off to college I’ve ventured back into the work force. I’m still learning how to balance the two.
The first thing I thought of was that I’d have to do some serious time management to get everything done that I do now plus working, and get my book, Grace Given, sent to my publisher on time. Getting my family used to the idea that I wouldn’t be as available would be the biggest undertaking, and having others do some of the tasks that I’ve always done. In having less time for writing I’d be spending less time with my imaginary friends, meaning my characters of course, along with a number of activities and groups I belong to. It’s all about prioritizing.
I did a little research about authors who didn’t give up their day jobs, or at least not right away after they were published. Some of these might surprise you.
• Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves, had just been fired from his job as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant when Kevin Costner called him to ask if he would be interested in writing a screen play of his book.
• Stephen King was a high school history teacher and used to write in the furnace room closet on breaks.
• Both C.S. Lewis and Tolkien served in WWI and then taught at Universities
• John Grisham was a lawyer and member of the State Legislature of Mississippi
• Jack London was an oyster pirate and then a gold prospector.
• Nicholas Sparks applied at Law school but was not accepted, so he tried real estate appraisals, waiting tables, selling dental products and starting a manufacturing business
• J.K. Rowling got her postgraduate degree and taught in Scotland. She had a baby and then was divorced. She completed her first novel while on welfare
• Francine Rivers wrote obituaries for the town paper
• Zane Gray was rejected for years shortly after he was finally published he quit his job as a dentist to write full time.
• William Faulkner was a post master
This group of writers is a tough comparison but are authors I was curious about. I know many writers manage both very well. They give inspiration and the encouragement to take the leap!
Beth Shriver wrote her first book in 2002 and a year later it was published. She received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. Beth worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband, two children, along with two cats and a beagle live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency.