Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write? Gina Barreca answers:

It has nothing to do with emotion recollected in tranquility, I’m afraid.

The working writers I know — and I know a lot of them — sit and produce pages because it’s their vocation. You have to write because if you don’t then somebody eventually asks you where the stuff is, and then you feel terrible. That “somebody” who asks you where your work is, by the way, can be yourself (back to a need for the third person, I guess?)

You write not to feel terrible.

You write for the same reason you pay bills or go to a shrink or sleep: to keep the wolves from the door. Emotional, spiritual, financial wolves: All of them can go for your neck. All of them can kill you. You ignore them at your peril.

This is probably the place to say that most writers have some other kind of job. They might write catalog copy for L.L. Bean. They might write press releases for a not-for-profit group, or write in-house newsletters for a corporation, or do small pieces for a local newspaper, or they might work at a bookstore and do their p.r. materials. Unless you have a private income, it’s virtually impossible to live on what you can make selling words, even when you’re good at.

Day jobs are an excellent thing. They also stop you from taking yourself too seriously



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks!!

8:01 AM  

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