The (Big) Publishing World Falls Apart, But Real Writers Just Keep Writing Every Morning. Gasp!

I find this Galleycat warning amusing:

The worst case scenario for writers? “You make decisions about your career based on what you love to do,” the author explained, “but when it gets to the point that you can’t make a living writing… Maybe writing books will become just the hobby* of rich people, or people who can live very cheaply.”

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, most writers don’t make money from their writing.  And in other countries, such as Egypt, writers pay their publisher a contribution.  Most writers throughout history have been rich or able to live cheaply.  That part of the equation will probably never change.  If you’re in the business of writing or creating art to make a living, you’re a crackhead/manic-depressive with delusions of grandeur.  One writes because one loves it and can’t bear to live without it.  At least, that’s how it ought to be.

*A hobby?  Oh, please.

3 thoughts on “The (Big) Publishing World Falls Apart, But Real Writers Just Keep Writing Every Morning. Gasp!

  1. “hobby” ….!@#$^$@$#%~!!!! I second you! Very few writers are able to make a LIVING off their writing alone, let alone a good living.

  2. Of course you write because you must, because you have something to say, because you like constructing stories or books.

    AND publishing a book is a way to get a decent job teaching. An MFA means you might be hired to teach Freshman Comp at a community college, but only as an adjunct with no benefits. An MFA and a published book, plus a few stories and some awards, means you qualify for a faculty position at a college or university, with benefits. Ph.D. by publication.

    Hate to be crass but that’s the economics of it. My friends who have scored big time in literary fiction are using advances and prize money to buy themselves a year off; or put a down payment on a little house; or otherwise protect themselves from the perils of being a temp worker in the cruel American job market. I’ve put it to at least one of them that now they can move out of the Freshman Comp jobs we taught together and apply for those cushier Writer-in-residence or Visiting Faculty positions.

    A friend who knows Junot Diaz reports that he says winning the Pulitzer doesn’t make him any richer; it just gets him higher-level contacts. He’s got a top-notch teaching job and yet he can’t exactly give it up and live on his royalties.

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