From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books


As you may know, my day job is in web design, through my company, Istomedia. I often daydream about working as a full-time author, but that may have to wait until I’m a pensioner, it seems. Still, reading posts like this, from, anti-plagiarism online tools, make me realize just how lucky I am!

You see, it turns out that many big-name writers started from unbelievably weird and underpaid jobs not related to their writing careers at all.

Ken Kesey

Was inspired to write “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” after working as a janitor in a mental hospital and volunteering for a CIA study (Project MKULTRA) when studying. He and other students participating in the experiment were given LSD or mescaline and observed so researchers could see how they reacted while on psychedelic drugs. After that, Kesey decided to share his wretched experience.

Kurt Vonnegut

Was working as a car dealer for Saab (a Swedish car manufacturer). He combined managing the dealership with teaching – by that time he had already had two daughters and jumped at any chance to earn a living.

J.D. Salinger

Worked as an entertainment director on the H.M.S Kungsholm (a Swedish Cruise liner). He was organizing activities for tourists so they wouldn’t get bored while traveling. Can you imagine Salinger being paired as a dance partner to lonely ladies? Well, that’s what he did.

Jack London

Do you know what an “oyster pirate” is? That is a person who steals and resells oysters, and that is what Jack London was. Oysters from the West Coast used to be in high demand, and some people were willing to do anything to get them. Even in his novels London references oyster pirates a few times.

Chuck Palahniuk

This author had an unbelievable amount of occupations before he got a job as a writer. Imagine Palahniuk as a dishwasher, movie projectionist, bicycle messenger, diesel mechanic, or assembly line mechanic for Freightliner. He had all those jobs before becoming a fulltime writer.

These are just a few of the jobs mentioned in, so be sure to check out the original post for even more incredible jobs held by famous authors and find out what authors like Scott Fitzgerald or Stephen King did for a living before becoming famous!

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