Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Get a (Day) Job

Abraham Verghese has some surprising advice for budding writers

December 12, 2011 In a new essay for The Washington Post, physician-writer Abraham Verghese explains why it is important for a serious writer to do some other engaging work, too:

I write by stealing time. The hours in the day have never felt as if they belonged to me. The greatest number has belonged to my day job as a physician and professor of medicine—eight to 12 hours, and even more in the early days. Lest it sound as if I resent my day job, I have to say that my day job is the reason I write, and it has been the best thing for me as a writer. Indeed, when I am asked for writing advice, which is rare, I offer this: Get a good day job, one that you love, preferably one that consumes you and that puts your boat out in the river of life. Then be passionate about it, give it your all, get good at what you do. All that gives you plenty to write about, and it also takes the pressure off the writing. Counting on writing to pay the mortgage or your kid’s college tuition is decidedly risky.

Click here to read the full essay.