4/04/2017

Expectations

"But, over several months, my manuscript was rejected for reasons that bewildered me: often because all the slots for debut literary fiction that year were taken; once because I was a woman; but mostly because editors “just didn’t love it enough”. When I took the call from my agent saying we had no deal, I cried like a little girl. I defiantly started a second novel. It was my masterpiece, but it bombed, too. Years of work and emotional investment wasted, I finally gave up, to save my sanity."
 This  article in the Guardian speaks to me in a way its author didn't intend; of the value of persistence and of false expectations. Writing novels is often seen, wrongly, as a primarily middle-class pursuit, and as a result a certain number of those who chase publication expect or hope it to support them in a middle-class lifestyle - I recall a recent article in an Irish newspaper where a writer spoke of having to go back to his civil service day job because writing novels didn't pay him enough to support a wife, two kids and a mortgage.

I read articles like this and laugh like a drain. I guess it says something about the kind of writers I admire, who always extolled the virtue of constantly writing, and writing fast if need be. When I think of being a writer, I think of Michael Moorcock, sitting in a cramped apartment in Ladbroke Grove in the mid-sixties, banging out fantasy novel after fantasy novel to keep New Worlds afloat, or Philip K. Dick, making ends meet in a record shop while similarly hammering out novel after novel. Those are serious writers - far more serious in their intent and focus than many of those who fancy themselves 'literary' writers, who are more taken with a vision of accolades than of ripping out ideas and putting them on the page, hour after day after week after year. 
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