Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Monday, April 23, 2007

ON MAKING A LIVING AS A WRITER...

"What the young writer of today should contemplate is a dual profession, and incidentally, it would be the best thing in the world for his tortured creativeness to be forced to touch some nonliterary world, forced to remember what saner folk are daily up to. Let the young Balzac or Byron not only wear his elbows shiny at his desk, but let him with equal assiduity learn another and slightly more lucrative calling. But I would like him to keep out of advertising, journalism and the teaching of literature, if possible, because they are too much akin to writing. No let him become a doctor or a grocer, a mail-flying aviator, a farmer or a bacteriologist, a priest or a communist agitator, and the two professions together, he may make a living."

~~ SINCLAIR LEWIS, From The Writer, September 1936

10 comments:

Tricia Goyer said...

Any thoughts on this? I think the key phrase is, "it would be the best thing in the world for his tortured creativeness to be forced to touch some nonliterary world." Hurting, needy people tear your heart apart, and it is then you can bleed upon the page. Writers who live in a controlled environment, and whose lives are not touched by heartache, produce works that are controlled and lifeless.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely true, IMHO. But, it probably does not need to be the result of a second vocation. Why, if income from writing suffices for daily bread, could it not be the result of intentional contact with "the outside world"? John Steinbeck, working full-time as a writer, spent time with the migrants to be able to write The Grapes of Wrath. Still, since most of us will never see that kind of success, employment serves those two useful purposes.

BTW, your lables for this entry includes "c.s. lewis", not "Sinclair Lewis".

NDG

Christine H. said...

It's always been my impression that very few people can make a living as a writer. It is something that you do because you want to, not because it pays the bills. I have had to convince DH that it is worth my time to do this even though it doesn't bring any money in.

I definitely know that I had little of relevance to say in my writing until I had gone out into the world and had to make my own way, with many mistakes and challenges.

Jen's Journey said...

I agree. Perhaps, the heartache brings more color to the page. I am one who loves words. There is so much that can be gained from reading and writing. When I am writing, it is a way to pour out all the "clutter" in my head. I can put my creativity to use, in spite of how anyone else may view it. It is a part of my soul. And the naysayers ... Well, they just don't understand because they do this in their own "tortured" way.

Christine H. said...

I just have to say, I love the "communist agitator" part. I didn't know there was money in that! ;o)

Tricia Goyer said...

Hahaha ... well I'm writing a book that includes a commuist agitator. Does that count?

Jim Thompson said...

What could be more boring than reading the work of someone who easily "has time" to write? Having to Find the time between family and vocational demands tests one's calling, makes his work more urgent and supplies the natural, dramatic tension she needs for her work to breathe.

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