Some Circles

“I know that it’s quite fashionable in some circles to talk about how much you suffer as a writer, and you do suffer in some ways. Particularly if you’re delving deep into material that you find painful or that is objectively painful. But I probably wouldn’t do it if the suffering was greater than the reward.” – Margaret Atwood –

I like the way she put that: it’s fashionable in some circles. As I’ve already mentioned in the last few posts, not all writers talk about how much they suffer. I’ve noticed that in some circles I hear it more than in others.

What about the second part of her quote? I probably wouldn’t do it if the suffering was greater than the reward. Surely, if we’ve made the decision to become authors, we’ve decided that the reward is greater, right? But what exactly is the reward?

Steven Pressfield says that we have the right to our labour, but not the fruits of our labour. In other words, that the work is its own reward. Other writers see sales figures and bestseller lists as the reward. What is your reward? And, is it worth the “suffering”?


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About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women

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