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Is Writing a Real Job?

Is Writing a Real Job?

Taking one's writing seriously 

Penny Hancock
'Is this how people view what I’ve done for the last ten years? That publishing a novel is the result of casually tapping at a keyboard between wild swimming, making bread and having time on your hands to idle, dream, and ‘do a bit of writing’?' Penny Hancock on the blood, sweat and tears of writing that no one sees.
The reader is a newcomer, to each book. We enter every novel on its first page to find, within it, a world that already exists; a world that has, seemingly, been going on without us — and so we, too, feel to be outsiders, momentarily.
I was nine when my Dad told me we were going to live in Nigeria. Up until that point, Nigeria was a place my brother and I thought of as an imagined space. Returning to Nigeria, I realized that, although I was 'home', I had crossed a border into a new world. I had to learn its language and its codes.
I once read that if you wanted to be a good writer, it was a good idea to suffer from unrequited love, be starving, be a raging alcoholic, or better yet, become an ex-pat. I decided to sidestep the broken heart, poverty and excessive alcohol. But exile appealed to me, and I left my home country at the tender age of not quite eighteen.
‘Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be a writer. She worked very hard, scribbling lots of stories. Then, one day, a fairy godagent promised to make all her dreams come true.' Ann Morgan reconciles the myth and business of being an author.
Essays help attune the ear to the music of things. But I’m still startled — and delighted — by the sheer unexpectedness of the connections that proliferate once I start to really listen to the notes that sound in the objects that catch my attention.
How does one teach writing? It’s not a craft. I attended a one-day workshop in wooden spoon making, great fun it was, and that was a craft. Or in my case a bodge. Literature is an art form. As Doris Lessing said, ‘There are no laws for the novel'.
'I’ve felt that not doing an English literature degree has been the making of me. Knowing how lacking in confidence I was as a young woman, it seems such great good fortune that I was nourished by so many writers outside of those parameters.'
Clare Morgan explores the influence of early bereavement on her writing and traces her mother’s legacy through her own body of work.
Nick Caistor on a translating job that revealed his own family history, writing synchronicity, and how fiction and reality are intimately intertwined.
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