Another way to become a writer is to skip grad school and simply start writing. Find a mindless job that takes little of your mental energy but pays enough to buy health insurance, rent a room, and provide yourself with groceries, and use all your spare time to put words on paper (or disk). If you download Third-Act Trouble and do a keyword search for Cyclades, you can read about how I carved out two years to write in West Berlin, working for, variously, the American, British, and French armies. None of those jobs required much mental energy, so I had plenty to bring to banging out three terrible novellas on my little manual German-language typewriter. After two years of that, I returned to the U.S. and on the advice of my father’s friend, himself a writer, got what he called, “any job that will pay you to put nouns and verbs together.” Search in Third Act Trouble for the keyword “skyrocket” to read how I took no experience and no talent and from those built a career as a reporter, which led to freelance magazine and book writing.
Published by Dan Baum
A freelance writer for 30 years, I've written -- along with my wife and writing partner, Margaret Knox -- four non-fiction books, a daily column from post-Katrina New Orleans for the New Yorker's website, and lots of magazine articles. We also enjoying mentoring young and beginning writers. If you are eager to write for magazines or write a book, you might find my page of proposals helpful. View all posts by Dan Baum