Writer Quotes: Roth.

“Eight hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, that’s the only way I know how to do it.”-Philip Roth.

We’ve all heard the advice often given to fledgling, wanna-be writers that the only way to go about turning writing into your career is to treat it like a career, an idea mirrored in this quote by Philip Roth. Naturally, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and if I can manage to even be successful in the endeavor, even better. Lately, especially, I have been mooning over the idea of turning writing into my main career. I know the days spent away from my quote-unquote real job, the days spent working on my craft, are easily the happiest days I’ve had lately. Being able to make enough money off of my writing to live comfortable would be a dream come true. And I always reason with myself that I’m really not even making that much money at my current job, so it’s not even as if breaking even should be too difficult.

But writing is a job, and that’s the key factor to keep in mind. It’s something one must dedicate herself to if she hopes to be successful, just as with anything in life. Oh, sure, sometimes, there’s a bit of luck involved, but nothing will happen if you don’t have something for it happen with. You’ll just be a boat in the middle of the lake without a paddle without the hard work, the effort, the honing, the marketing, the schmoozing, the promotion. Opportunity can’t knock if you don’t have the door.

Even better, we’re now living in a time where the face of writing is changing. There are more avenues available to writers today with the easy access to digital publishing and independent publications. Now is the time, but nothing is going to happen if one continues to keep pandering and treating writing like a hobby rather than a career. I’ve made a decision to start treating my writing more like my actual job; the actual job, that can be the hobby. Because, dammit, I’m a writer.

I know my biggest failing in this respect is my attention span; I have a bad habit of needing to juggle a lot and being unable to sit still for more than a paragraph unless the mood really hits me. So, inspired by Roth’s quote, allow me to pose a question: What gets you in an 8-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year mood? What motivates you to really sit your butt down and work, work, work? I’m thinking, maybe on my days off, of having my roommate handcuff my ankle to my chair and take the key with her to work so there’s no escape until she gets home, but that might be…a little extreme.

And, hey, a big thank you heading toward brain splats for subscribing to the blog! Welcome aboard, and good to have you with us!


  1. Even the successful, published novelists I know don’t write 12 hours a day. They admit to playing solitaire and surfing blogs just like the rest of us. I try to keep things positive–if you write that day, it will only serve to improve the next day’s writing… and so forth. Good post!

    • Exactly! Thanks, Anne. Yeah, I figure, even if I only manage a little bit, it’s still more than what I had, but one day, it would definitely be nice if I can play solitare or surf blogs without feeling quite as guilty about wasting what precious little time I have!

  2. Honore de Balzac — whose literature I’m not particularly fond of, who all his short life (dead at 51) was hounded by creditors, who in that short time wrote over 90 novels — followed a Herculean work schedule, often writing sixteen hours a day for months on end.

    As he himself described it in March of 1833:

    I go to bed at six or seven in the evening, like the chickens; I’m waked at one o’clock in the morning and work until eight; at eight I sleep again for an hour and a half; then I take a little something, a cup of black coffee, and go back into my harness until four; I receive guests, I take a bath, and I go out, and after dinner I go to bed. I’ll have to lead this life for some months, not to let myself be snowed under by my debts.

    Under this regimen, he often completed a long novel is six weeks.

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