Before They Wrote: Jobs Once Held By Famous Writers

This post was inspired by a recent conversation about jobs once held by famous writers.  Before I started writing, I had a full-time career as an Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter.


  • Mark Twain, (Samuel Clemens) first worked as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River.
  • Herman Melville once took a job as a surveyor on the Erie Canal.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne worked as weigher and gauger at the Boston Custom House.
  • Steven King took odd jobs to pay for his living expenses, including one job at an industrial laundry.
  • J. K. Rowling worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International in London.
  • Kurt Vonnegut was a soldier and prisoner of war during World War II.
  • Danielle Steel worked for a public relations agency in New York called Supergirls for several years, before moving to San Francisco, and worked for Grey Advertising, as a copywriter.


  • Obalade Damilola

    This writers discovered their passion after working at different places..some had that passion but were scared to follow their dreams..some were too broke to start off as writers..I’m glad this people you listed eventually woke up the giant within..great one man

  • meldred24

    This only means that following hearts passion and desire will always lead you somewhere. No. matter what your current job is, if it’s not your passion you will never stay in it. Find your passion. Follow your hearts desire.

  • Patricia

    It takes courage to quit a medical job to pursue your true calling. For that I truly respect you.

  • Daphne

    It doesn’t matter the path we follow as long as we end up in the right place. It’s interesting to see all the jobs these famous writers had.

  • Maury Cheskes

    Very interesting findings. I think writers are much more well-rounded and knowledgable when they’ve had experience in other fields. It gives them a lot more perspective on life and the world around them.

  • Miaka Yuuki

    As a rookie in this field. I will be honest I Do not know these people. However, if I read things that will mold my skills better I will take it. Regardless of who writes it. It helps me gain experience after all.

  • Jenna

    It’s nice to know the jobs of these people before they become famous writers. This is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • brainedet

    Amazing information here. I know alot of talented people dabble into other areas of life before they are able to actualize their dreams.

  • jolly555

    This is to say at the end of the day our god-given path will always up no matter where we had wandered to. Good to know this.

  • esgyll

    It’s surprising to see what these writers were doing before they became famous. Boggles the mind completely when you think about the circumstances that led them to become writers.

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