"The important thing is to do good work and not be a shit..."
Even at its best, writing is always precarious. To have the same success in almost any other field would give you a stable income and some degree of control, but in writing, even people who are doing quite well are doing badly next to other professions.
I think a lot of aspiring writers think, ‘Oh, it will be different for me.’ I think especially for young, male, white, middle class writers, there is a sense of entitlement there – they think, ‘Well that’s other people, but I’ll be the one who makes a living out of this.’
So it’s really important for anyone who aspires to being a writer to be accustomed to the fact that either they’ll need a day job – in which case they won’t be able to give their work the time they want to – or they’ll never have as much money as their friends who went into, say teaching, let alone some of the higher paid professions.
I think it’s important not to romanticise that relative poverty, because the important thing is to do good work and not be a shit – support fellow writers, give them opportunities when you can, be generous to readers, and be a generous reader yourself. That is what matters.
You can read the full interview here.