Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Writing is a vocation for unhappiness

Words of encouragement for aspiring writers from Georges Simenon (1903 - 1989; creator of Inspector Maigret, writer of over 200 novels and supposed lover of 10,000 women):

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation for unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy. Because... I think that if a man has the urge to be an artist, it is because he needs to find himself."

Before Simenon started a new novel, he would get a doctor to give him a complete medical check-up. He would then shut himself in a room and write continuously for a week or so, generally finishing a novel in about 11 days (one chapter a day and a couple of days for revisions), after which he would emerge, exhausted and with low blood pressure.

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