Writing Is Great Fun. No, It’s Not.

I like the writing very much. I often ask my writing friends if they like to write and they always say that they don’t. They love the research, perhaps the fun after a book is published, but not the task of writing. I think that it is the glory of the work. You have assembled all of this information. You have thought about it. You have dreamed about it. You’re ready. You are bursting with all of this and then you have this meticulous, but somehow not entirely rational, process of organizing it so that you communicate it transparently to other human beings. That is great fun.

—Richard Rhodes, interviewed by Brian Lamb on C-SPAN’s Booknotes.

I always liked writing when I was a kid. I like it less and less as I get older, but now it’s too late; I can’t do anything else. I can’t. When I was young, I just loved using words and writing about my feelings about this great diarist or great writer. But now that I have to do it to put food on the table, it’s not nearly as much fun. I never really wanted to do it seriously, as a way to make a living, until I was out of college. I had a number of failed attempts at other endeavors, except I didn’t fail up, I kept failing down.

—Andrew Ferguson, interviewed by Brian Lamb on C-SPAN’s Booknotes.



    “Never underestimate the power of immortality.” ~ Ben Luck

    Writing is the immortal track we leave in the sands of time.

    To write, in my experience, is like cooking a good meal. The most important part of concocting good food is the proper prep. It’s the same with every occupation where the easier it looks the harder and more skillful must be the effort to make it look that way.

    The hardest lesson for some writers I’ve known is that no matter how much trouble you went to to concoct a story that provokes a rebuke, it’s the writer’s fault, not the reader’s. And if your writing is applauded and shared, it’s your readers’ fault, not yours.

    Dr. Samuel Johnson dissed the hordes of unpaid,amateur literary tigers of the early 18th century by remarking: “Only a blockhead writes for anything but money.”

    Naturally, the good doctor lived a life of penury, pain, debt, and delusion.

  2. It’s hard for writers to fail up but many editors have found ways to do it.

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