Reader Request Week 2010 #4: Quitting Writing
Dave H asks:
What would it take to convince you to quit writing?
Not that I want you to quit, but I’m curious what you’d find compelling enough to make you want to change careers (in a “greener pastures” way, not an “offer you can’t refuse” way).
Well, in the sense of writing as a career, I suppose what would convince me to quit writing would be the fact that I couldn’t make a living at it any more, at which point in order to pay my bills I had to do something else. Short of that sort personal economic meltdown I don’t see much that would tempt me away from it, since I like to write, don’t really like most other sorts of work, and I make enough money from writing that I’m not particularly tempted to try something else just to make money. I could see myself doing other sorts of things from time to time, for fun, for curiosity or because there was a stonkin’ big honorarium involved, but as long as it possible for me to make a decent living as a writer, it’s going to be hard to pry me away from it as my primary occupation.
In the sense of writing to write, I suspect it will take death, senility or a stroke that leaves me illiterate to convince me to quit writing. I would do this even if I didn’t get paid (he said, writing on the site he’s been writing on for eleven years without being paid for it), because this is fun for me, or at least it is most of the time. I could see taking time off from writing — a month, or two, or six, whatever — if I didn’t feel like doing it, but outside few days of exhaustion or outside forces keeping me from a keyboard, I haven’t yet felt like doing it. Seriously now, I can’t actually think of a week since I was a teenager where I didn’t write something. I might try it now just to see what it’s like. But I don’t imagine I would like it much. If I don’t write for a day or two I get irritable; a whole week without writing might prompt my wife to kill me. And she would be right to do it.
Fact is, I like being a writer, even more than I like making money as a writer, and as all you know, I like making money as a writer a lot. But ultimately, it’s really not about the money. It’s about the writing. I’m not going to be quitting that.