Michael Nye, managing editor of The Missouri Review, tackles this question on TMR blog.
His post responds to Ann Bauer’s recent essay in Salon, where she called for more transparency among writers in terms of how they actually make their living and how they actually find time to write.
Nye agrees, and takes it a step further:
…when we intentionally misrepresent our writer income, when we buy into this “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” narrative, we end up putting a generation of writers and artists into a spiral of debt and servitude. With transparency, with honesty about who we are and how we work, that is something we should be able to help our students, our readers, and our audience avoid for themselves and understand all the better.
So if the reality is that most writers support themselves with full-time jobs that don’t actually involve writing (or have a working spouse, or a trust fund, etc.), how do we, you know, find time to actually do what matters, that is, write?
Nye goes on to share a fantastic quote from author Fred Venturini, who says:
I have been asked in interviews before how I find the time to write. I always found that question strange, simply because to me, it sounds like you’re asking someone “How do you find the time to play video games? Or hunt? Or scrapbook? Or shop?” We make time for the things we love to do; we have to find time for the stuff we don’t.
Pretty sure we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.