„It is warm work; and this day may be the last to any of us at a moment. But mark you! I would not be elsewhere for thousands.“

—  Horatio Nelson, At the Battle of Copenhagen (2 April 1801)
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Horatio Nelson1
1758 - 1805
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Context: No matter what you may have heard elsewhere or however you may have romanticized the life of working writers, know this: it is, with very, very few exceptions, a brutal, ugly, and unrelentingly difficult existence. It is a grind, no matter how much you may love to write or feel driven to tell stories. Personal demons aside, you will encounter at almost every turn no shortage of idiots and shitheels upon whom you must depend to get your work to readers. Occasionally, there will be a fortunate aberration: a wonderful, brilliant editor, or a copyeditor who doesn't try to express herhimitself vicariously by attempting to rewrite your work, or an agent who busts hisherits ass for you. You may even be so fortunate as to encounter a publisher who cares more about herhisits authors than the bottom line. Those things do happen. But don't ever fucking count on it. If you come to this life, and if you "make it" and can actually eek out some sort of living writing, you will likely learn these things for yourselves. Plenty of people will tell you I'm full of shit on this account. And you are certainly free to listen to whomever you please. But after fourteen years as a full-time writer, during which time I have had great successes and profound failures, seen modest fortune and considerable poverty and everything in-between, been appreciated and reviled, awarded and ignored, helped and hindered — one thing remains true. It's a tough row to hoe, as my Grandfather Ramey would have said. And you do yourself and all working authors a disservice if you dare believe otherwise. (25 November 2006)

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