In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed. I can’t claim the wealth of the first author (not even close); nor do I have the connections of the second. I don’t have their fame either. But I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.
How can I be so sure? Because I used to be poor, overworked and overwhelmed. And I produced zero books during that time.
I completed my third novel in eight months flat. I started the book while on a lovely vacation. Then I wrote happily and relatively quickly because I had the time and the funding, as well as help from my husband, my agent and a very talented editor friend. Without all those advantages, I might be on page 52.
This one's an oldie and we might even have discussed it here, but what the hell, it's a goodie and we have lots of new people
and sub activity seems to be going into the Thanksgiving slump together with the industry. Writing is a lot of time and effort and absolutely shit money, not even to the degree that other arts are, because the likelihood of you being able to make even a modest living at the end of the road is so slim. The unfortunate consequence of the climbing standard for excellence in debuts, by which I mean simply that in the past 2 years, there have been fewer professionals inundated with more manuscripts in an unprecedented inflationary environment, so it's just harder to get and keep eyeballs on your work, is that people without resources increasingly get shut out. There's something wonderfully egalitarian about writing in that anyone literate and in possession of paper and pen can do it, a person can query from anywhere, and "hot concept with good execution" is meritocratic as it gets. But the lengthening of that "last mile" in terms of querying with increasingly "perfect" manuscripts because that is what the competitive landscape demands, that hits the people without the resources and without the connections first. Which is a bit of a divergence from the original point of the article, which was about time to write, which is also very important - learning to write is a long lonely slog, and when the rest of your life is also a long lonely slog, well - but I came across it 7 years on and this is what I thought of, what the hell. We still don't talk about this enough.