Thursday, September 16, 2010
Working for a Living
Many thanks to you, Wendy, for being here!
One thing I rarely discuss in interviews is my day job. Like most writers, I have one. Indeed, my day job keeps a roof over my head and my cats in kibble. Even if I made a mint off one of my books, I’d probably hold on to the day job, both for the security of a regular paycheck and because I genuinely love what I do: teaching.
When I do mention my gig at the university, most folks assume I teach English or creative writing. But, no, I teach political science (American politics, judicial process, and constitutional law, to be precise). I make sure our newest generation of voters know how the electoral college works and all the would-be lawyers apply to law school with their eyes wide open about what to expect.
My writing life and my day job hardly overlap at all. Oh, sure, I killed off a graduate student in my newest Mystery a la Mode, and occasionally one of my students earns a bit part in one of my books. But really they’re separate worlds.
Personally, I prefer it that way. When I write, I get to play make-believe, live lives I’ll never know for real. Why would I want to spend my make-believe time “doing” what I do every day? That wouldn’t be fun (for me) at all. And while I adore teaching an occasional writing workshop to fellow travelers, the thought of spending every day trying to dissect the muse for a classroom full of college kids makes me a little sick. For me, I think it would take much of the joy out of writing.
I won’t rule out the possibility that someday I’ll write a legal thriller. Heck, maybe someday I’ll even teach writing on a regular basis. But for now, I appreciate keeping my writing life and my day job in separate boxes.
What about you? Do you write what you know? Or what you wish you knew? How much does your day job intersect with your writing life?
Wendy Lyn Watson writes deliciously funny cozy mysteries with a dollop of romance. Her Mysteries a la Mode (I Scream, You Scream [Highly recommended by Paula!]; Scoop to Kill; and the forthcoming A Parfait Murder (June 2011)) feature amateur sleuth Tallulah Jones, who solves murders in between scooping sundaes. While she does not commit--or solve--murders in real life, Wendy can kill a pint of ice cream in nothing flat. She's also passionately devoted to 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. (http://www.wendylynwatson.com/)