Writing Is the Loneliest Profession
December 9, 2012
Writing is the loneliest profession.
You sit in a room by yourself.
You stare at a screen that stares back.
And the scenery never changes.
You get up every morning and enter a world that doesn’t exist.
You travel to towns that don’t exist.
You spend all day talking to characters who don’t exist.
You’re frightened of dangers that don’t exist.
You fall in love with paramours who don’t exist.
You bury friends who don’t exist.
And you sometimes cry real tears.
Sure, writing is a lonely profession.
But you’re not in it alone.
You’ve never been alone.
Here are some thoughts of writers who have traveled the same isolated path where you walk every time you write a new scene on a blank screen or blank piece of paper:
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Ernest Hemingway.
Writing books is the closest thing men ever come to childbearing. Norman Mailer.
Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for. Mark Twain.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Benjamin Franklin.
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar, and all great writers have it. Ernest Hemingway.
The Road to Hell is paved with works in progress. Philip Roth.
The Road to Hell is paved with adverbs. Stephen King.
To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. Allen Ginsberg.
Cheat your landlord if you can or must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a great meal. William S. Burroughs.
Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all of my life. Hunter S. Thompson.
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom we can neither resist nor understand. George Orwell.
I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories as long as he finishes the book. Roald Dahl.
There’s nothing left to be said.
Lonely has a lot of company.
Mostly, they bleed words.