We’re All Just Exiles Here, of Our Own Device

The truth is this: Writing is a bumper-to-bumper crawl through hell with an occasional jolt to the next level of anguish. To be a writer means hitching one’s self-esteem to the slimy tail of success. Slip loose, and it’s into the wreckage of failed artists.

If there are cheerier routes to the blessed state of authordom, few take them. Like a nation of exiles, millions of tortured souls go forth in search of a byline and a word of approval. Only a three-chain flagellant is assured more misery. Yet being a writer remains the dream of any romantic who ever watched the seasons or fell in love or counted the zeros in some lucky idiot’s book advance.

Arthur Plotnik, The Elements of Authorship


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