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Don’t Quit Your Day Job (And Why You May Not Want To)

T.S. Eliot, banker,

T.S. Eliot, banker, never quit working full-time

Many of us have thought, at one time or another, how nice it would be to quit our day jobs and just…write. To wake up each morning with nothing but hours of writing time ahead of us.

For many, this is the Dream. But plenty of famous writers never quit their day jobs—and maybe there’s something to be said for that.

T.S. Eliot, Toni Morrison, William Carlos Williams, and Kurt Vonnegut are just some of the names recently cited by Mental Floss as “celebrated” artists who never quit working some other occupation. (For the complete list, with pictures and personalized anecdotes, click here.)

And what about those of us who don’t have traditional jobs, but instead parent full-time? Toni Morrison had this to say:

“Writing before dawn began as a necessity,” she told the Paris Review. “I had small children when I first began to write and I needed to use the time before they said, Mama—and that was always around five in the morning.”

For most writers, the actual writing is only part of their income. For many more, writing is and always will be an avocation. And these writers may find they enjoy staying connected to the “outside” world, that to be engaged in another profession entirely actually informs and even energizes their writing.

Thinking of quitting your day job to write full-time? Better consult this check-list first. And if the answer’s still “yes,” then Godspeed and good luck!

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