The Day Jobs That Inspired Famous Authors

By Stephen Pritchard

To celebrate National Novel Writing Month I wanted to shine a spotlight on famous authors who had written books outside of their working hours by creating an infographic that reminded writers struggling to find time or motivation that a day job doesn’t have to get in the way of being an author.

What soon became obvious is that rather than being a hindrance, jobs could actually be a huge help to authors, as their experiences in the workplace had obviously been a source of inspiration. That must certainly have been true for Stephen King, who was working as a high school teacher when he wrote Carrie, while Joseph Conrad’s journeys to the Congo as a merchant seamen brought his descriptions of the area to life in Heart of Darkness.

You can take a look at the full list of day jobs that inspired famous authors below, but here are three that didn’t quite make the cut:

· The 18th century English novelist Henry Fielding helped found what was considered the country’s first police force. Fielding’s strong sense of justice is clear to see in the novel Tom Jones, which Coleridge criticised for its “robust distinctions between right and wrong”.

· Charlotte Brontë was a governess for three years from 1839-1842 – as was Jane Eyre who was employed by Edward Rochester.

· Thomas Hardy was a prize-winning architect and took charge of the excavation of St Pancras Old Church’s graveyard, which might have something to do with explaining the abundance of deaths in his novels.

Working Writers …headshot

Stephen Pritchard is interested in all things jobs in his role at Adzuna, Europe’s fastest growing job search website. You can find him irregularly tweeting from @stephen_ydw_i.

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