Why Waitressing is good for Writers

Waitress taking orderI am a writer. I am a waitress.

Not only is it a good option when you’re broke, but it’s good for research too. I know that sentence probably confused you, so let me explain. When writing, you must describe what your characters are doing in detail; their expressions, mannerisms, silent communicative gestures, etc.

If you’re like me and a natural people watcher, then great, you probably do this 24/7. But if not, then serving would benefit you. You need to study people for your books anyway, so why not get paid for it too? I love to research and learn new things I’m interested in, and people are sometimes the most interesting to watch.

You can learn so much about a person without ever saying “hi”. Are they a nervous person? Do they constantly have to be moving some part of their body, whether it be a finger or a foot, to keep in time with their own internal rhythm? What does their demeanor look like when they’re stressed or angry? Because everyone’s is different.

In my writing, I try to show as much as I can instead of explaining everything. There are so many gestures and non-verbal ques that people use to describe their moods or thoughts even. I like the effect it has on my writing when I use this method.

Also, it depends on where you work to what range of personalities you get to study. Does your book have a slightly rougher crowd than the little country restaurant I work at? Try being a cocktail waitress in the city, maybe in a sports bar or club. I’m in no way telling you to put yourself in danger just to study for your characters. No need to get involved in a mob war just so you can accurately describe real-life mobsters in your stories. Haha, I’d definitely rather hit the books and online sources for that one, but that’s just me.

I know there are writers out there willing to take risks, sometimes extreme, in order to experience something they need for their books. I would actually love to do some crazy adventurous things in order to get some first-hand experience for my characters. How about you? Have you ever done something crazy just so you can write it out accurately? What was it? Even if it would be too dangerous to do in reality, what would you love to be able to do to get that first-hand experience for your characters?

For me, well I don’t think I can disclose what adventure I’d like to live just quite yet haha. That book is not done enough for me to show off, but soon!



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