Is being a Writer a good JobIt'?s a good job being a writer?
Do you think typing is a job of your dreams? It' more like a nightmare movie. Movies.
One YouGov survey that has just been published is an writer the most coveted job in the UK - with 60% of those who say they want to do it for a livelihood. It would boggle the minds - or it if writers did not eagerly and at length, spending a good plurality of their times trying to evade clichés.
And the fact that humans dream of being authors only shows how little they know about the realities of the job - or how little they are reading in one of the biggest in the industry, George Orwell. "They are all vanity, selfishness and laziness, and at the bottom of their motifs is a mistery.
To write a work is a terrible, strenuous fight, like a long fight for a sickness. You would never do something like that if you weren't powered by a devil you can't stand or comprehend. "This is not a way of thinking about the letter that takes up a lot of time.
I confess that some authors express the joys of the fictional. The only thing I can say is that I have been a book writer for almost 20 years - and it was not of my own free will, but for the very purpose Orwell described - "driven by a devil that you can neither withstand nor understand".
I' ve been longing for a different way to make a livelihood on more than one occassion, a chance I now comprehend is completely in vain, as it is my only viable skill. I' ve had a humble triumph, won some awards, been short-listed for some others, and sometimes - long gone now, together with the then existing publishing sector - I've received ample advance payments from publishing houses.
It is undeniable that being a writer has many rewards. Authors can present their view of the worid, which for some occasion seems important to them - although, as Orwell also noted, this is inseparable from the baby's cry for care. But as I stress to the young authors attending my Guardian Masterclasses, it's difficult to write fiction - incredibly difficult for those who haven't tried it.
Every writer will accept the assertion that a work of artwork is never finished, but only given up. To be a writer also means an enormous number of denials - all the awards you were sure you were short-listed for and not all those you were short-listed for and did not gain, all television and film titles purchased for your work and never made, all photocopies you did not make.
In the meantime, you have to face the jealousy of observing your rival - and writers everywhere see rivalry, however much they might disavow it - to seem to be more effective than yourself (of course, you don't look at the invisible large minority, which is less successful). As John Dos Passos noted, typing is not a sociable, supporting business:
"Authors are like lice, they hardly feed on each other." It' s uncertain - and not only financial uncertainty, but because the fact that you have a good work is no guaranty that you can post another one. This destroys relations - because most authors are extremely introverted, who, when they are in the midst of a work, hardly even know the outside.
If you succeed, you can quickly become conceited and dainty. I' m a writer. If they think I' m fortunate, I can see why. It matters, I know, because I still get thank you notes about my textbooks and in one way or another they appreciate the kind of lighting that the readers felt I had made them bright.
It is a vocation - and for me a prize that those who envision the glamor of the job will never fully understand.