In the literary fiction world especially, it’s often taken as an article of faith that writing is an intrinsically important activity to be engaged in. So when writer David Mizner (@DavidMizner) challenged this view at a writing workshop, he was taken to task for it:
When I was twenty-nine, shortly after I started writing fiction, I went to a two-day workshop. The first night, a group of writers—including an accomplished or at least published novelist (I forget who it was; I’m not choosing not to name him)—were sitting around talking about the “writing life.” Loose after a few drinks, I asked them if they ever questioned the value of writing fiction. “It feels indulgent,” I said. There was an awkward silence, as if I’d said something borderline racist or taken off my pants. Finally, the published author suggested that I might not have the stuff to be a fiction writer.
Mizner goes on to discuss his ambivalence about fiction writing, which is partly tied to fiction possibly being less relevant and powerful in today’s culture. Read the full piece over at Glimmer Train’s site.
Also at Glimmer Train this month:
- Building a Collection by Christine Grace
- Bob Shacochis interview
- Why Write Characters of Color? by Lillian Li
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has nearly 25 years of experience in the media & publishing industry. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses (How to Publish Your Book), she is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as Digital Book World and Frankfurt Book Fair, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.