I’m always Googling “best jobs for writers.” I dislike the idea of technical writing—what if my day job bled into my fiction? The next best search results suggest working in security or as night auditor at a hotel, where down time equals writing time.
I propose something better: TEFL. Or Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The job description varies by country and school, but I can’t imagine a better situation than the one I have at my job here in Taiwan. I don’t teach more than 20 hours a week, but I’m provided with national healthcare and housing, so my salary goes a long way, especially since the cost of living is so low.
My go-to teppanyaki meal costs NT$60 or US $2.00.
Money aside, I have time, time, time! My school is an English “buxiban” or cram school, so I teach after school hours, mostly 5pm to 9pm. Sure, I have lesson planning and grading, but not much, and foreign teachers at my school aren’t required to sit office hours.
I have all day to write. I also get a good chunk of vacation time, and there’s nothing better for my creativity than travel!
Obviously there’s a downside. I miss out on writing conferences, and local writing groups. My only contact with the community is online. There’s also the distance from friends and family to deal with, so TEFL isn’t for everyone.
If you’re an aspiring writer and you’re not happy with where you are, think about it. It’s particularly easy to get jobs in Asia, and you can seek out a situation that will let you balance work and writing. There’s always Skype for keeping in touch with the folks at home.
I’m happy to chat if anyone is interested in the TEFL/writing life!