No, honestly – why even get started in this dismal trade? I can think of a dozen reasons.
I want to become rich and famous.
A: Really? You won’t. Not by writing, anyway. You’re better off getting a job. Really, just get a fucking job.
A: Surprisingly, Hemingway himself agrees with you. His motto was “writing is easy: all you have to do is sit at your typewriter and bleed”.
I want to become more attractive and interesting to others.
A: This is the most ludicrous. Have you ever met a sexy writer? Really, ever? I think not. At parties, the writer is the one standing on their own looking for someone to explain the lack of apostrophe in “Finnegans Wake” to.
It’s a vocation – I feel called to write – I am summoned by the Muses.
A: Get a fucking job.
I want to change the world.
A: Give me a break. I mean, good for you that you think that, because the world could do with changing, but give me a break. Maybe Lady Chatterley and Victim and Up the Junction and The Second Sex changed the world – no art changes the world anymore. The last play or book to try was Satanic Verses, and look what happened to that.
I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t write.
A: Get a cat. And a job.
I have something important, urgent, and eternal to say.
A: Be honest. Do you really think anyone in the world is interested in your ideas? You partner, your mother, your cat maybe. For everyone else – and maybe even them – your only reason for existence is so that they can tell you about them. That’s how people work.
I want to discover myself.
A: This one is uber-ludicrious. If no one else is interested in you, why should you be? That would just show you have bad taste.
I want to get laid.
A: There are easier ways. There are even ways that pay better.
I want to make people laugh, make people cry.
A: Get an MBA and become a manager.
I am a shaman returning from the threshold of the next world with stories to light the hero’s path for those that come after me.
A: Next time, consider staying there.
It’s a scientific project. I want to study men and women, find out how they tick, record that and add to our stock of knowledge of them in the best and most accurate way I can. I want to discover universal human nature in the tiny lives of my particular characters. I want to run my story like a scientist experiments on lab rats, testing their limits and what circumstances allows them to go beyond them. Most of all, I want to mix chemical A and chemical B and wait for the explosion…