However much I enjoyed trying to get the world into words, the rejections were disheartening; and the writing habit was keeping me from a “proper” career elsewhere.
I was writing, I think, in my early twenties, to prove to myself that I could write, that I could become part of the community of writers, and it seemed to me I could not myself be the final judge of that question. To prove I could write, that I could put together in words and interesting take on experience, I needed the confirmation of a publisher’s willingness to invest in me, and I needed readers, hopefully serious readers, and critics. For me, that is, a writer was not just someone who writes, but someone published, read and, yes, praised. Why I had set my heart on becoming that person remains unclear.
Tim Parks’s essay “Does Money Make Us Write Better?” at The New York Review of Books makes for interesting reading.