On Careers and Writing by Chris Culver
More or less, I’m a full-time writer. I say more or less because I don’t actually spend much of my day writing. I used to, but then my wife and I had our first kid. The baby’s wonderful, and I spend most of the day chasing after him. And if I’m not chasing him, I’m usually chasing my dog. While I’ve never seen them huddled together in the corner, conspiring against me, I’m pretty sure they’re in cahoots, playing some twisted game the end result of which I don’t understand.
I write about two hours a day from ten in the evening to midnight when everyone else in the house is asleep. Despite being a relatively small part of my life, I allow those two hours to define who I am. When people ask what I do, I tell them I write books. I don’t say that I’m a pusher of children on swings, although I probably do that more often than I write. I don’t say I’m a wiper of backsides, although with an infant in the house, I do that quite often as well. No, I choose to be a writer.
But it wasn’t always that way. As a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist, but then my dad, the destroyer of dreams, told me real archaeologists don’t carry whips. My second career choice—Jedi Knight—ended with similar heartbreak. With these crushing disappointments always looming in the background, I spent most of my twenties adrift, foolishly attending graduate school in the belief that the world needed another philosopher. Before finishing my degree, my wife was offered a tenure-track faculty position at a university in southern Arkansas. When that university found out about me, they offered me a part-time job teaching Ethics.
I figured the job would be perfect. I’d teach two classes a year, finish my doctorate and finally get a “real” job. Fortunately, I never got around to writing that dissertation. Instead, I spent my free time writing a novel that would go on to sell about a million copies in North America. [For instructions on how you, too, can sell a million copies of your debut novel, see The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
Now, I’ve got a new book out. I think it’s brilliant. I hope it carries me over until my superhero career takes off.
And Dad, if you’re reading this, DON’T RUIN THIS ONE FOR ME.
Chris Culver is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Ash Rashid series of mysteries. After graduate school, Chris taught courses in ethics and comparative religion at a small liberal arts university in the south. Between classes, he wrote The Abbey, which spent sixteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He and his family live near St. Louis, Missouri. Learn more about his latest novel, Nine Years Gone, here.
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