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More musings on career choices for all you writers out there …


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.

2 Responses to “More musings on career choices for all you writers out there …”

  1. I enjoy reading your posts as a result of meeting on Twitter.

    I am passionate about writing and write about lots of topics. I don’t know if that is an asset or a liability. Maybe I should hone in on one subject? I have 3 blogs – fitness, weddings, and my non-fiction one. I have one book published,a wedding planning book and am working on three others relating to my blog posts.

    It’s interesting that you and I both went through the insurance agent deal. I learned a lot, but it wasn’t my passion either.

  2. Gary says:

    Welcome, Pamela, and thanks for stopping by. Glad you find something interesting here, and I hope you’ll find some useful things, too. Over the years, we’ve developed a nice mix of writers of all sorts.

    Delighted you came here via Twitter. That service is getting almost “addictive” for me, and I spend far too much time there.

    Congrats on your published book. That’s always a joy, isn’t it?

    Nothing wrong with being passionate about writing and about writing on a lot of topics. I have a theory (inserting tongue slightly in cheek here) that variety in writing is the reason Al Gore invented the Internet — now we are free to blog, “Tweet,” or whatever on a wide range of topics.

    Hope you’ll hang around here from time to time and take the opportunity to comment when you feel like it.