Writing fiction is a stupid way to make a living. Payday comes once a year in good years and the check is rarely anything you’d brag to your mother about. Reaction to your work comes only when a new book is released. Most of your time is solitary time, and that’s hard time. So what’s the attraction?
Well, there’s nothing quite like the first sight of your first book on the shelves, right down the aisle from Hemingway or Hammett or whoever you’ve chosen to measure yourself against. You get to autograph books, but on the other hand, you have to autograph books. You get to hang out with other writers occasionally.
What else? You can work when you feel like it, but you’d damned well better feel like it regularly. No one yells at you except editors and agents and reviewers and everyone who bought a book and found it too salacious or nowhere near sexy enough or too violent or downright boring or . . . you get the idea. Everyone. Of course, you don’t have to listen to any of them because, after all, it’s your damned book and they can bloody well write their own if they don’t like it, but then you find out that they all have, or are getting ready to, or have this terrific idea they’ll tell you all about if you want to write a sure-fire best seller next time, but they want half the royalties and your editor’s name, or your agent’s, or an introduction to a writer they really like.
So why write? Because if you didn’t write, you’d have to do something else, and everything else is like drinking milk after you’ve tasted whiskey.