Writing Fiction is a Job: Top 10 Quotes


I don’t disagree with Henry Miller when he said, “Writing is its own reward.” I also believe that writers should be compensated fairly for their labor. Of all types of writing, fiction writing gets the least respect. Most people consider it a hobby (read: nonpaying job) because they have no idea how hard it is.

Lincoln Michel former editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and a founding editor of Gigantic, said it best.  “There is a real problem with the attitude that writing and other art forms are just hobbies or passions that the creators shouldn’t expect to get paid for. That’s exactly what allows artists to be exploited,” he wrote on Electric Literature.

Top 10 Quotes

In honor of Labor Day, I salute all working novelists who treat their writing as seriously as any day job. Here are some famous quotes on the job of writing to inspire us all.

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
― Virginia Woolf

“When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”
— Margaret Laurence

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King

“I learned to write by writing. I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure, and to stop when it felt like work, which meant that life did not feel like work.” — Neil Gaiman

 “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi

“Nothing will work unless you do.” — Maya Angelou

 “Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.” ― Ray Bradbury

 “Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before.” ― William Goldman

“The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.” — Augusten Burroughs

"If you write for a living you make enormous compromises...If you write for life you'll work hard; you'll do what's honest, not what pays." — Toni Morrison

Read Lincoln Michel’s article in full:

Yes, Writing is a job (Even if it Doesn’t Pay Well)

Read other articles about writing:

How to Keep Your Writing Momentum: 3 Tips

Writing Fiction About a Famous Person: What You Need to Know