Some brutal words of advice

Writers (unlike reviewers) seem to be a supportive bunch, good at making friends and gladly offering encouragement to their insecure fellow scribblers. I’d like to think this is because authors have superior levels of wisdom and emotional intelligence; but really it’s just because anyone who’s ever published a word is all-too-afraid of damning public scrutiny. So it helps to be nice.

The truth is far more brutal. Like political careers, most writers are doomed to something which feels a lot like failure.

If you really want to be cheered up, try these brutal words of advice about writing.

The most depressing? George Orwell’s “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness.”

My favourite? Neil Gaiman’s “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you.”

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