Why Do You Write?

28 09 2010

I stumbled across some fabulous quotes on writing and rejection, again as was researching an article that’s due to a publisher. This research was a bit off topic, but once again my wanderings proved fruitful (though they delayed my writing assignment).

As part of an interview with Alice McDermott, the Catholic author shared advice from literary agent Harriet Wasserman, who claimed that “writing and publishing have very, very, very little to do with each other; almost nothing.” Have to chuckle (and agree). She continues, “For writers, it’s a matter not so much of deciding you will write fiction with the hope that you will publish fiction, but rather writing fiction because there is nothing else you can do that will give you a satisfying sense of yourself or of life.”

McDermott expounds on Wasserman’s statements: “…early in your career it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that the work itself is the most essential thing. As frustrating and depressing and discouraging as a day spent writing can be, that day of work is also the best reward this career will give you. That’s where your satisfaction has to come from-from creating those challenges for yourself, sentence by sentence, using whatever talent you have. You don’t do it because you’ve got a contract with a publishing house. You do it because you have to, because that’s what you’re here for.”

Getting back to the real reason we write can often lift us from the doldrums of rejection letters and help us take our work to the next level.

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