How Do the Unwealthy, Non-Sponsored Find Time to Write?

February 4, 2015 § 10 Comments


William Faulkner In HollywoodMichael Nye at The Missouri Review weighs in on what it means to be a “white middle-class man” writer with the privilege of an education but no inherited (or married) wealth, how writers keep writing despite the need to string together work or work a nine-to-five job, and how luck and determination intermingle.  He also quotes writer Fred Venturini on the subject.  Both add much to the recent discussion:

First Nye:

I fund my writing life by working full-time…. My position is nine-to-five, and mostly administrative; I’m in front of a computer most of the day and there is no free time to pull up a Word.doc of my novel and work on it. …  I don’t think I give the impression that my life is easy, nor do I think I give the impression that life is overly hard … I think back to a couple of years ago when I ruptured my Achilles. This was 2011. I was on crutches for months, went through rehab, and was unable to run for almost six months. All of it was pretty awful. But, I had health insurance. I paid almost nothing out of pocket for the diagnosis, surgery, and rehabilitation. That’s a privilege most Americans, let alone writers, don’t have.

 Then Venturini:

I have been asked in interviews before how I find the time to write. I always found that question strange, simply because to me, it sounds like you’re asking someone “How do you find the time to play video games? Or hunt? Or scrapbook? Or shop?” We make time for the things we love to do; we have to find time for the stuff we don’t.

 Nye’s entire essay is well worth reading, in tandem with recent essays from Ann Bauer, in Salon, Brevity‘s Social Media Editor Allison Williams, and Brevity‘s Managing Editor Kelly Sundberg.

§ 10 Responses to How Do the Unwealthy, Non-Sponsored Find Time to Write?

  • ascreamin says:

    I thought this was a great perspective too, by Laura Bogart
    http://www.damemagazine.com/2015/02/02/price-i-pay-write

  • […] Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog […]

  • Jan Priddy says:

    Thank you for the links. I am regularly asked that question about time. “We make time for the things we love to do; we have to find time for the stuff we don’t.”

  • latasun says:

    Very true!

  • Phil Gentile says:

    Thanks for posting. Obviously this “making the time” idea applies to all other activities, people and places in our fast-paced lives.

  • Reblogged this on generationkathy and commented:
    I’m interested in these comments as well as the essays referenced at the end.

  • […] “I have been asked in interviews before how I find the time to write. I always found that question strange, simply because to me, it sounds like you’re asking someone ‘How do you find the time to play video games? Or hunt? Or scrapbook? Or shop?’ We make time for the things we love to do; we have to find time for the stuff we don’t.”-Fred Venturini quoted in Brevity in an article with the lovely title How Do the Unwealthy, Non-Sponsored Find Time to Write? […]

  • El Burro says:

    I enjoyed reading Bauer’s piece, as well as those linked in this post. I’m glad the issue is being brought up. Many people are not able to spend as much time on their writing as they’d like to because of work, family, or other obligations. It has nothing to do with them lacking passion for their craft.
    I work in a factory, and my off-days are the only time I have to get some serious writing done, and even then I’m often so tired I decide to get some more sleep instead.

    • Jan Priddy says:

      When I decided to have a family, a friend of mine from art school asked me, “How do you feel about giving it all up?” I cried for a long time, because it had not occurred to me to I was giving anything up.

      Later when I made the mistake of complaining about the challenge of making time for writing while working, a writer-friend who has no children and has never held a full time job sniffed, “Well, if it mattered you would find time.” Perhaps this was one stimulant to me to carve out more time. But unlike this writer, I was supporting my family.

      It’s tempting to consider dumping the people who relied on me, getting by on my purely imaginary family money, and focusing exclusively on my writing—we can probably all name people who have done this—but that is not the world I live in, or could live in with myself.

  • […] the Unwealthy, Non-Sponsored Find Time to Write?” Thanks to the Brevity blog for rounding up some of the best contributions to this […]

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