July 18, 2010

Is she really as crazy as she seems?

Since I'm in the throes of finishing a book I seem not to be blog original these days and only able to post quotes but this one, from Sam Lipsyte is so attuned to the life of the writer that I couldn't resist:

"One of my big revelations," Lipsyte says, "was that nobody cares whether you write your novel or not.  They want you to be happy.  Your parents want you to have health insurance.  Your friends want you to be a good friend.  But everybody's thinking about their own problems and nobody wakes up in the morning thinking 'Boy, I sure hope Sam finishes that chapter and gets one step closer to his dream of being a working writer.' Nobody does that.  If you want to write, it has to come from you.  If you don't want to write, that's great.  Go do something else.  That was a very liberating moment for me"  (March/April 2010 Poets and Writers, pg 56).

Writing is a very lonely job.  You have to be willing to just forget about support and do it.  Once the meet and greets for the last book are done, you have to get right back to that big phosporescent eye that sits on your desk and go on to the next world you are about to create.  You have no mini-skirted cheerleaders yelling "Go Chrissie" in your ear.  Even your friends don't really understand that when you are talking to them your characters are wandering around in your head talking to you.  They think you a bit strange, but if you're lucky, they still have breakfast with you on Saturday morning.

All that said, you write because you have to, because the state of "not-writing" is worse hell than the state of writing.

I guess the answer to my question is yes.


  1. I love that quote, and agree completely.

    Writing IS lonely. It doesn't seem to get less lonely, either, even when you have, say, a blog that people are actually reading.

    I guess some jobs come to you (like, say, waitressing) and some jobs have to be chased and held down until they finally submit to your will.

    Yeah, that'd be writing...