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7 Famous Authors Who Weren’t Writers by Profession

typewriterIf you have ever thought about a writer’s career, you might have wondered about the ways you would pay your bills. If you are a famous writer, then writing already pays off. However, before you become one, you need to have a source of income. Ideally, to become an author, one should either have a lot of free time or a job that doesn’t take much of it and gives inspiration for writing.

Haruki Murakami

The author of numerous books studied drama in Tokyo and then was a business owner. Together with his wife, he managed a coffeehouse and a jazz bar. This experience was later shared through the protagonist of his South of the Border, West of the Sun.

Joseph Conrad

The author of the famous The Heart of Darkness has worked as a merchant seaman. This occupation of his and the work-related trips to Congo let him create the novel. The book made him famous once and for all. It also served as base for the iconic film Apocalypse Now. Conrad explained his work-life relations in his book, “I don’t like work — no man does — but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — what no other man can ever know.”

Bram Stoker

He managed the Lyceum Theatre in London between 1878 and 1898. In 1897, the novel Dracula came out, very much inspired by the actor Henry Irving. Stoker hoped that one day, Irving would play Count Dracula himself, but that never happened. Still, the first theatrical adaptation of the novel was staged at the Lyceum.

Franz Kafka

The world-famous Prague-based writer worked as an insurance officer. This job of his was probably the place where he got the ideas about the insane bureaucracy which surrounded people and made them feel alienated and depressed. Working for an insurance firm inspired Kafka to create The Trial.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A French writer was an airmail pilot prior to the World War II. He flew as a commercial pilot between Europe, the Americas, and Africa. When the war started, he joined the Air Force. The Little Prince, one of the best-selling books of all times, was inspired by his plane crash in the Sahara desert in 1935 when, deprived of water and food, he experienced hallucinations. He wrote the book while he was in exile in New York trying to convince the US government to enter the war against the Nazis.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The author of the immortal Sherlock Holmes book series was a medical practitioner. He started writing short stories while studying, then while waiting for the patients. After some time, Conan Doyle opened an ophthalmology practice in London. His medical career helped him create a number of stories and characters, especially Dr. John Watson.

Harper Lee

A Pulitzer Prize laureate was one an airline ticket agent. She was writing fiction while working and even found an agent in New York. Her friends backed her up a lot when they gave her a year’s salary worth of money for Christmas. This helped her write the book of her life, To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you ever think that, in order to write a masterpiece, it is necessary to have a degree in Literature, you should remember these 7 authors above. They all succeeded at literature, but had different jobs. Their occupations not only helped them pay the bills, but also provided the source of inspiration. If Joseph Conrad or Saint-Exupéry were Literature students, they would have never had their life experiences which allowed them to create their books.

About the Author

Steven Arndt is a passionate writer, educator and a former History teacher. He tends to reconsider the role of modern education in our society and watches with awe the freedom the youth now has.

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