Image via jetheriot on Flickr (EdITED)

Why writing for a living is a terrible idea

This is not the romance you are looking for

Writing for a living fucking sucks.

Seriously, writing is among the most overly-romanticised things you can do with your life. Right up there with being an astronaut, or charity work.

Everyone is a writer. And everyone a critic. You’re the bottom of the food chain.

The pay is lousy - if there is pay - and unless you’re very lucky, you don’t get any respect until you’re dead.

You can’t stand your own work. Most of your ideas have either been done before or are just awful.

You spend your life inside your own head, questioning everything, even your own questions. Your days are filled with doubt, self-loathing and anger. You probably hate yourself, and most of humanity.

“Boo-fucking-hoo” people say when you’re blocked.

“They’re just words, how hard can it be.”


No-one understands you, except other writers. And they all hate you anyway because you’re a fucking asshole.

It takes years to hone your craft. Years of ritual self-abuse, mental flagellation and misery.

By this time if you’re not an alcoholic, then your heart just isn’t in it. And if you’re an alcoholic then your writing won’t be worth shit.

Catch-22, bitches.

On TV and in movies writers live the life. They have lake house retreats and warehouse apartments in Manhattan and good teeth.

Or, in the case of Hank Moody from Californication, they have endless sex with a revolving roster of perky-breasted young women eager to fuck an alcoholic writer who never actually seems to write anything.

(Love you, Hank!)

No, writing is not romantic.

Writing isn’t living in a lake house six months a year. Writing isn’t fucking groupies. It isn’t paying the rent on time.

Writing is cry-wanking to screen-grabs of perky-breasted young actresses in the dim light of your rat-infested one-bedroom apartment.

Writing is refusing to leaving the house for weeks and saying no to any misguided invites to socialise.

Writing is sitting at the same fucking desk every day to be taunted by a blinking cursor and your own crippling inadequacy.

Writing is tearing your soul out and arranging it on paper for others to consume and judge.

Writing is asking for more every time someone pulls your heart out through your asshole in the name of “constructive” criticism.

If you want romance, have an affair. It’s cheaper and less soul destroying.

If you can afford the lake house, you’re not a writer; you’re a lawyer with a hobby.

Writing is hard. It is painful. And it is thankless.

Is it really worth it?

Yes. It’s the best job in the world.

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