Top 5 Worst Side Jobs for Aspiring Writers

Writing 100% of the time is the ideal job, right? And you probably have a preference for what type of writing you’d like to do: writing fiction, writing nonfiction, memoirs, blogs, about a certain thing, journalism, scriptwriting, etc. The possibilities are quite literally endless.

However, I’m willing to bet my front teeth than you’re not the next Mozart of writing, and so you’ll probably need a second job to support you while you get your writing off the ground. This is pretty common, and you should know by now that your writing won’t buy your bread the second you become obsessed with writing. You have to prove yourself to the many editors, hirers, and directors that are looking for talent.

Until then, though, you’ll need a job. Hopefully a job that won’t hinder your work in writing. So your top priorities are: something that leaves time for you to write every day, something that doesn’t chew up your brainpower, and something that might even leave you otherwise free so that you can write at work.

However, I’m here to give you the top 5 worst jobs to have as an aspiring writer. Listen, if you can get one of these jobs and you’re confident that you can still write, go for it. Heaven knows you’ve got bills to pay. But if you’ve got a little more wiggle room when it comes to choosing a job, try to stay away from the ones on this list.

#5: Editor

At first blush, this one doesn’t seem so bad: after all, you’re looking to improve your skills as a writer, aren’t you? Doesn’t editing do that? Well, being an editor as a young writer is unhelpful for a couple of reasons: one, you’re not going to be very good at it, so you wouldn’t keep the job for too long (if I had to guess).

Two, your skills as a writer would actually begin to wane. Here’s what I mean: editing involves very little content creation. It involves content management, arrangement, and assessment, but it’s kind of lacking in the original content creation department. As a result, you’ll probably be a better editor, but not a better writer.

The biggest drawback here (and something you’ll see reoccur throughout the list) is that working on other writing projects saps your energy. You don’t want to go home and do more work. After all, after you work for eight hours at editing, you don’t want to come home and do 3-4 more hours of writing. You want to rest–and you probably should. But be careful of any job that would sap your will to write.

#4: Computer Programming

Similar to Editing, only you don’t get the added bonus of becoming a better editor. Writing hundreds of lines of code is never helpful for writing, as it directly saps the same part of the brain that motivates you to write. Writing code just feels too much like writing stories, and requires critical thinking and time spent on a keyboard to match.

There’s not a lot that can be said here, just that if you want to be a computer programmer and a writer you have to have some effective way of being able to output twice the amount of meaningful content per day. It’s pretty hard to hold down a job like this and be a writer, so be warned. But if you’re up to the challenge, who am I to stop you…

#3: Diplomat

I really doubt that you can get a job as a diplomat, just because it’s more of a rare job, but if you do, it’s a job that requires a lot of foreign travel. This is bad for a writer for a number of reasons: with all of the flights, travel, engagements, and talks you have to arrange, your schedule is just going to be too full to write.

This is just a pitfall of time-consuming jobs: it becomes a part of who you are as a person, and irrecoverable imprint on your personality. And writing is also extremely time-consuming as well, especially for people like me who can only kick out a thousand words or so a day, tops (except on my good days).

Probably the main advantage of this job is that it allows you to work on long plane rides, but I doubt that’s enough to support your writing career (especially with expenses and all)

#2: Lawyer

To be a good lawyer, you have to be proactive. This means you’re out and about, pushing yourself to advertise, hold on to as many clients as you can, to do critical thinking and research, and improving your people skills. It’s just a demanding job in general, and being able to build up a sizable amount of writing is also tough.

This job combines the critical thinking skills of computer programming with more time spent talking to people. What little time you do have to spend with a computer, it’s filled with more legal matters and talking to more clients. Not to mention time-consuming hours spent in court if you’re a defense attorney.

I mean, you make a lot of money though.

#1: Accounting

There are a lot of bad jobs for writers (and your list will probably be different from mine), but accounting may be the worst. Doing mathematical equations and arranging legal documents will sap your will like nothing else. Accountants also have to keep long hours, making it worse than lawyers who can occasionally catch a big break and sleep in their mountains of cash (if it sounds like I know nothing about lawyers, it’s because it’s almost true).

But yeah. Avoid these jobs if you want to become a writer. If you want an article explaining what jobs you should choose, you’re gonna have to wait till tomorrow. Sorry.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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