As someone who struggles to finish work when all interest in the project has fizzled out, this raises some questions. Can forced writing for money or obligation ever match up to inspired, charged writing? Having never made any money from my writing (barring the odd token payment here and there, mostly $3), the prospect of being paid and eating is probably the best motivator for those with paid commissions. But what about the writer starting out who has to write everything for no money? Surely, all we have is our inspiration and energy? Why force ourselves if there are no external stimuli?
I can’t actually imagine making a living as a writer. This was, partly, the goal of the MA, but I don’t believe it’s really possible for me, and even if it is possible, it requires so much tireless hustling and scrambling and restless networking that goes against my nature. I am not the person who is ever in the right place at the right time. Even if I found the right place, I would avoid that right place and go to the wrong place out of spite. I am insane and wrong in the head. This is a fact and any deviation from this fact would be dangerous.
This is not to say I will stop writing or halt my productivity in any way. I love writing and will continue to work feverishly on all my projects. It’s merely to say I have to start thinking about a viable career option now, because writing is not a viable career option. I have, for the last five years, been walking around in an idealised haze, imagining it possible for a person to have a job in the arts and be paid for it. Nothing on the MA has convinced me that a writing career is possible without having to make enormous sacrifices, develop a finely-honed radar for opportunities and basically live hand to mouth. This isn’t a failure of the course, more my own reality.
So. There is really nothing appealing on a long-term basis about being a full-time writer. I don’t want the hassle. I like peace and calm and equanimity. I’d prefer to save the tumult for fiction. So as I leave my MA, it’s time to abandon the “career” option and find another discipline to pursue for money. So, where does that leave my writing? My writing will continue as the same life-sustaining force as always, and hopefully—using all the techniques learned on my MA—I can become an average writer among the millions of others average writers, and achieve some average success.
Now that’s a plan. Kind of.