This is a bit pants, albeit, I think, fairly damn true:
This is something I can relate to, very much so. After several years of trying I’ve just become a signed author, which is AMAZING and WONDERFUL and other superlatives, because people are prepared to give me money for the stories which fall out of my head. However, when it comes to finances, it’s obvious that the market is being squeezed tightly. My agent described it as the middle being squeezed almost to non-existence; there’s a lot of people around the bottom, and a few people at the top, but very little scope for being in-between anymore. And don’t get me wrong, I wrote the book which got me this deal whilst working full-time, and I can continue to write more books whilst working full time, and I’m incredibly grateful that books with my name on are going to be out there without me having to self-publish… but if this is the story more widely and it’s not something which is going to change (maybe it will, maybe it can) then it seems that writing is likely to become, for many, not so much a career as a spare-time hobby for which you get a bit of money.
Although in some respects, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe it would be better if writers were writing a book because they wanted to write that book, not because they NEEDED to write a book in order to make ends meet because that’s how they get income, and no-one will employ someone with a fifteen-year employment gap being a novelist.
I’m not a writer, so my views on this are entirely theoretical. I do think as a reader that a writer who has other things going on in their life probably writes more interesting books, simply because of having a lot more input than if they were just sitting there by themselves spinning stuff out of themselves.
If you look at Tolkien, his working life informed and enriched everything that he wrote.
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