Friday Fun – If not a writer, what would you want to be when you grow up?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: If you weren’t or couldn’t be a writer, what other profession would you most like to try? 

Jamie Wallace: I always wanted to be a singer. I do sing quite frequently – in the car, the shower, and sometimes in the living room where passersby on the street might catch me at it. I’ve even sung in public – once in high school as part of a garage band that performed at graduation, and for a brief stint a year or so ago I sang backup for a local indie band. I can carry a tune and even harmonize decently, but I never had the right training or could muster enough courage to really put myself out there. I’m an unabashed American Idol addict and love to follow the journeys of all the up-and-coming vocalists on the show. Singing to me is not that different from writing. They are both forms of expression that are intimate and exposing. Done well, each has the potential to move people in deep and magical ways. I may yet put together a girl band for some local, musical fun; but – for now, at least – I think I’ll just be grateful that I am able to be a writer.

Deborah Lee Luskin: I was on my way to an academic career when I veered off that  path, thinking I was taking the fast track to writing full-time. Now, I think I’d pick something with more immediate and tangible results and be a potter or beekeeper or a breakfast cook. On days when my work isn’t going well, I read the Help Wanted ads, and wonder what it would be like to work in a fast-food joint, bake bread at the local, artisan bakery, or work on a farm.


Lisa J Jackson writer

Lisa J. Jackson: A math teacher. I loved high school and college algebra and trigonometry and thought I’d end up teaching at some point. I haven’t dabbled in either for quite a while, but that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read the question. 🙂 I think I’d enjoy being a barista at a cafe or a bartender at a restaurant – so many stories! Then again, if I couldn’t be a writer, what would I want stories for? I’m grateful that I can write and that I’m living my writer’s life, though and can’t imagine anything sweeter or more fulfilling, and hope I never need to. 🙂

Susan Nye: Writing is my Chapter Three so I’ve already tried my hand at a few things. All of them fun, interesting and challenging … until they weren’t. So I moved on.

Teaching was my first career. Like a boomerang, it keeps circling back and pulling me in; sometimes for a day, sometimes for a term. Also did the sales and marketing thing for a Fortune 50 company and on my own as a consultant.

In this chapter, I am both a writer and a chef.

And when this chapter ends? Who knows? I’ve always wanted to be a lounge singer with a blond bouffant hairdo and a blue chiffon dress. I like to  imagine myself  draped over a piano singing jazz in a sultry voice.

Did I mention that I can’t sing, never wear blue and have brown (with a fair amount of gray) hair?

Julie Hennrikus: I am very blessed. I have a portfolio career that suits me very well, and I think I am where I am supposed to be (running an art service org for theaters, teaching part time at Emerson College and writing). If I had known how much I love teaching, I wonder if I would have pursued an academic career with more vigor. And I do wonder if I can make writing full time a final phase of my career.

And sometimes I think about owning a cupcake bakery. . .

Wendy Thomas: Like many of the other writers here, I’ve had various jobs throughout my life. Clinical Microbiologist, Telephone operator at a psychiatric hospital, Nanny for a Hollywood director’s kid, Instructional Designer, I’ve even worked in a book store and I’ve even taught at a college.

But my one perfect career? When I was a pharmacy student in college (yeah, I know) I dropped out of the program my fourth year (making my parents really happy – not) what I REALLY wanted to do most in life was to be a stand-up comedienne. The problem was that I didn’t think I could make a career out of it, so I choose medical biology and writing. (have I told you my gonorrhea story?) Although I have had a great ride throughout the years, I just wonder how things might have turned out if I have followed my one true desire.

18 thoughts on “Friday Fun – If not a writer, what would you want to be when you grow up?

  1. At age 8, an archaeologist. From age 10 – 16 a veterinarian, then dropped that for two years to think about acting, but was too shy and loved the creative behind-the-scenes stuff more than the acting, then back to veterinarian when I realized I didn’t have the mindset for the cutthroat entertainment field.
    Went from legal secretary to legal assistant, back to college, business owner, now a writer and artist.
    I’m hoping to get rich enough writing best-selling-novels-turned-into-movies to become a philanthropist.
    That’s what I really want to be in the long run.
    I can dream, can’t I?
    When I read this, I want to laugh at myself. I sound like a nut.

  2. That is thought provoking – I had my life all planned out at 14 years old – don’t we all? I loved art & spent all my spare time in the art room creating more & more elaborate pieces. My art teacher, Miss Randall, was so good to me and sent some of my work to the Royal College of Art in London, UK. They accepted me for the following year – however I was only 14 so had to decline 😦
    So I planned art college & window display for the summer breaks to earn money. Then onto interior design (which at the time wasn’t so big!) I was steered away from it by my mother & into nursing but even now I long to have that time again and go down that route. Creating whether in paint, clay or ink is my soul’s happy place.
    Now I write for enjoyment regardless of any work becoming published although my children’s book succeeded last year. Rumble’s First Scare –
    Happy writing to you all
    Mandy Eve-Barnett

  3. If I couldn’t write, I would paint or sing. Oops, I already do all that. Most careers and jobs hold no appeal for me. I have been a recreation leader, a marriage and family therapist, have worked in a flower shop and for a crisis line, indexed newspaper articles for a living, installed security tapes in books, filed pages in legal binders. If I were young I would go to culinary school, but I don’t have the stamina for it now. My best job was taking disabled kids swimming.

  4. I dreamed of being an airline stewardess (opps, I mean “flight attendant”) . My uncle was a mechanic for United Airlines in the 70’s. During one of his visits to the west coast from Maryland he gave me a pin that was a little plastic pair of wings. I think I wore those wings all the way through the 5th grade.

    • I remember back when I was a kid and they gave you metal wings and the pilot would come out and shake your hand. Nice memory, frontporchgab!

      • It is always those simple things that bring joy. And, I stand corrected…they were metal. It makes me smile just thinking about it. Thank you for your reply, Laura.

  5. I’ve been blessed to either work or enjoy as a hobby just about everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my life, from working in theater, being a wife and mother, performing on stage, singing (degree in music/vocal performance), teach, build things, refurbish things, play guitar and so on. Writing and drawing things have been a mainstay of sanity for me throughout those times, so I would have to say they are the things I would like to do from here on out.

  6. Even though I can’t see my life without writing something since I was a kid…I wanted to teach gorillas and chimpanzees sign language. Is there a name for that? Primate Linguist? I don’t know. Didn’t have the college money for it so I had 4 kids…close enough I would say.

  7. Looking forward- my goal, after I sell 100,000 copies of Enchanted Rock Red, is to be the ranger who presents campfire programs at Yellowstone National Park when I turn 65 and ‘grow up’ at last. I’ll be 60 in a few weeks.

  8. I enjoyed all the stories but Susan Nyes words about jobs that were fun & exciting … Until they weren’t, really rang a bell with me. I think we all go through different stages in our lives. If I wasn’t a writer I’d be a painter. I find I don’t have the energy for both. Writing is where I am at the moment but I do miss the 3 dimensional quality & color of paint.

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