I’ve mused in the past about various opportunities and changing options for all you writers/writer wannabes out there, including me. Here’s a little more musing on some career choices for writers — presented with my tongue lightly nestled in my cheek:
1. Lawyers. Ever popular, lawyers make wonderful writers. They spend their days wading through legalese, so they’re obvious candidates for writing thrillers and courtroom dramas. At least that worked well for John Grisham and Scott Turow, among others. Related caveat — while lawyers seem to make good writers, writers apparently aren’t very happy as lawyers. At least that seems to be true of, oh, say John Grisham and Scott Turow, among others.
2. Doctors. Once again, this seems to be a great career choice for writers. Why, just look at all the mediocre writers who became outstanding doctors — Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, for example. Okay, so Cook apparently was an excellent doctor and still does some medicine; Crichton was always quick to admit he made a lousy doctor.
3. Insurance agents. This one is a bit of a stretch. Not many insurance agents that I can name have become best-selling writers. Allen Drury, Pulitzer Prize winner for “Advise and Consent,” would be one. Sara Paretsky was an advertising manager for a large insurance company at one point when she first started working on her private detective series with V.I. Warshawski. I have no idea how successful or unsuccessful either were as insurance agents.
Finally, when I needed some income about 10 years ago, I took the training and earned state licensing to be an insurance agent. I was miserable in my very brief, abortive efforts — mostly because I hated cold-calling to get leads for insurance prospects. (If you don’t understand “cold-calling,” don’t ask.) I’ve never completed a novel, though I’ve done a lot of religious journalism and, yeah, a ton of blogging in recent years.
What’s the point of all this “musing” about writing careers? I suppose it would be something like this: If you REALLY want to be a writer, it doesn’t matter what your “day job” might be, do the one thing all writers must do to succeed — write. Just keep putting those ideas into words, stringing the words into sentences, shaping those sentences into paragraphs, and before you know it you, too, will be in a position to make writing your full-time passion.
Or, maybe not. But keep writing or it’ll never happen. In the words of a quotation I found on Twitter this week attributed to hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky: “100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.”
Go ahead. Take your shot.