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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, August 24, 2007 10:31 am
Your Glamorous Career in Writing
Posted by: Keir Graff

John Crace (Guardian books blog, “Don’t give up the day job“) with a bit of perspective on the dream of becoming a writer. Not that it’s hard to find this kind of perspective, but it never hurts to hear it again. Wait a minute, it does hurt. Reminds me of the line in Spinal Tap where the band is gazing upon the grave of Elvis Aaron Presley — too much perspective.

A few choice bits:

What people really want… is to be broke.

It’s not even as if writing is that glamorous. You sit alone for hours on end honing your deathless prose, go days without really talking to anyone and, if you’re very lucky, within a year or so you will have a manuscript that almost no one will want to read.

Few jobs allow a purer expression of the self. You can create your own worlds, your own characters and your own stories; the only limit is your own imagination and talent. And this is where, you can’t help feeling, the whole thing begins to fall apart.

One of the pleasures – and nightmares – of writing is that most of us can do it.

Update: This post has been edited to remove my pathetic substitution of Jim Crace for John Crace. Sorry, John. And Jim. Would have helped if I knew what either of you look like. (And would one of you be so kind as to start using a middle initial? Thanks!)

4 Responses to “Your Glamorous Career in Writing”
  1. Pete Says:

    Um, Keir, the columnist is John Crace, the fiction writer is Jim Crace. No big deal – I made the same mistake at first.

  2. Keir Says:

    Pete, thanks for the catch. Here’s how dumb I am. I read the thing thinking it was Jim Crace, but wrote “John” in my post. Then I proofed it and changed it to Jim.

  3. Pete Says:

    We’re all entitled to our flubs. In fact, the first dozen times I read Jim Crace’s name I did a double-take, thinking that it was “Jim Croce”, as in the late folk singer (“Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, etc.).

  4. Keir Says:

    What a career change that would have been!


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