It takes an entire culture to produce great literature
Which really takes the pressure off individual authors!
Lately, I’ve become much less concerned with the sociology of the writing world. A friend pointed me to this article about how writers earn a living, and she was mad because it doesn’t mention how many writers are financially supported by their spouses or parents. And that’s true—that’s a major omission.
I know a well-known writer who goes around talking about the amount of time it took to write their book—the years of agony and effort. And they don’t mention that they never worked during that time—they were supported by their hedge-funder spouse. A lot of people would consider a few years at home, working on a book, without financial worries, to be more of a vacation than a burden.
And I think this reticence about money has harmed a lot of writers’ work. Because they can’t be honest, they’re simply unable to write well—their books contain odd lacunae and bits of slackness, where details of wealth or high income would normally reside.
But…I also think that’s the choice that we, as a culture, have made. That’s not the author’s fault—they’re just responding to our own demand that authors exemplify some kind of meritocracy. They’re producing work to order.