There was a time when I was seriously obsessed with the lives of writers: I read accounts of how they spent their time, I did a lot of research to find out who their influences were and I swore to see every documentary there is detailing their lives.
I wanted to know everything about them and all of that was just me being extra, because I wanted to get the secret formula of how to be a legit writer.And then I came across this:
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
— Somerset Maugham
That, along with reading more books made me realize that really, you just have to do it.
But then there’s the idealistic + romantic side of me which yearns to have days like this, five out of seven: wake up and meditate, sip coffee while writing my morning pages, transition to “real writing” (whatever that means), walk + run + be outside, have a decent lunch, edit in the afternoon, see friends/be social in the evening.
But I’m not Marcel Proust, as much as I love him, because I did not grow up rich therefore I have to worry about feeding and supporting myself. Which is where Manjula Martin’s book comes in handy — Scratch: Writers, Money and the Art of Making a Living (Amazon | Indie Bound) — as I try to make sense of what it means to be a writer, beyond the writing part.
Scratch is a collection of essays and interviews edited by Martin, a different kind of a backstage pass on how writers “make it.” And when I say “make it,” I don’t just mean once they’ve been published, but how they manage their day-to-day existence. Like, how do they pay their bills? Do they go on vacations? Do they have enough food?
What I love about this book is that the writers take us further deeper — the struggle of physiologically, mentally, emotionally supporting themselves while bravely and painstakingly committing pen to paper.