Writers and their day jobs.

Hans Christian Andersen worked in a tobacco factory at age eleven.

Jack London worked in a cannery at age thirteen.

Charles Dickens pasted labels on bottles of shoe polish.

Carl Sandburg was a firefighter, a traveling salesman, and secretary to the mayor of Milwaukee.

E.B. White sold roach powder and played piano.

Zane Grey was a dentist.

William Carlos Williams was a doctor.

Wallace Stevens was a lawyer for an insurance company.

Mona Simpson worked as an ice cream scooper, a waitress, a stock clerk, a Christmas present wrapper, a neurophysiology's lab assistant, a movie theater usher, an acupuncturist’s assistant, and an editor.

Alice Munro picked tobacco while a university student.

Carson McCullers put in time as a waitress and played piano for a dance class.

Colette supported herself by performing in a music hall, writing theater reviews, and briefly, running a beauty salon.

Christopher Marlowe moonlighted as a counterespionage agent investigating English Catholics abroad.

Erich Maria Remarque sold tombstones and played the organ in an insane asylum

Raymond Carver’s day job was a night job: he worked as a janitor.

Milan Kundera worked as a laborer and jazz musician.

Daniel Defoe was a spy and spin doctor for Tories and the Whigs.

William Burroughs was an anthropologist and private investigator.

Isaac Asimov compiled encyclopedias and taught chemistry.

Christopher Isherwood served as secretary to a violinist.

T.S. Elliot was a banker.

Philip Larkin was a librarian.

Russel Banks was a plumber.

Mark Jacobson was a cabdriver.

Richard Farina was a songwriter.

May Sarton worked during the war years for the Office of War Information, where she wrote documentary film scripts.

Walt Whitman was a typesetter, a journalist, an itinerant schoolteacher, and a newspaper editor.

Herman Melville was a customs inspector for the New York Harbor Authority.

Anthony Trollope was a civil servant for the postal authority and is credited with inventing the letter box.

William Faulkner served a postmaster for the University of Mississippi post office.

Hart Crane was a factory worker in Cleveland.

Alex Haley spent twenty years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Maya Angelou worked as a cook and managed a restaurant.

E.L. Doctorow, Mary McCarthy, Toni Morrison, William Styron, Gore Vidal, Lisa Alther, John Ashbery, Rick Moody, Amy Clampitt and Dorothy Parker all worked in publishing.

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