Like 99.99% of authors on the planet, I need to go out and work to bring in the bacon.
For me its applied process engineering, specifically looking at process integration to reduce the energy demand of a shale oil production process and assessing a range of carbon offset and renewable energy projects – call me Mr. Greenhouse. Its interesting work, and I find myself at the forefront of global research and practical application, and I have always had a keen interest in science. Its also nice to be part of something. But again, like most authors on the planet, I wish I could somehow invert my life and actually Work my writing with a capital ‘W’ instead of shoving it into the cracks and make engineering the enjoyable pastime (not that I regard writing as a hobby, and friends have learnt through harsh experience not to suggest it is one! Something about that word, ‘hobby’).
I have spent so much of my life remonstrating at the competition between ‘work’ and writing, that I have never really stopped to think about how they complement each other – or could work in some sort of synergy. Sometimes I feel like I have put myself into so many ‘compartments’ that I’ll never get myself together again, but maybe its time to start trying.
I guess there is the obvious one – that is that the science and engineering directly inform my science fiction. I guess the whole structured approach that I have been trained in also comes out in the way I approach designing a story arc and plotting my work. Mind you I am far from a typical engineer, and am definitely on the outside of the curve in terms of how they think and approach the work.
It goes the other way as well. I think my writing has made me an outstanding communicator in my career. And the effort I’ve put into learning how to network at conventions has flowed effortlessly into doing the same thing at technical conferences.
What sort of work do you do? And how has that enhanced your creativity and your writing, or inspired you?