Why do I write fiction? I know you didn’t ask, but I pose that question to myself whenever the rejection notices start piling up or there’s a conspicuous dearth of royalty statements in my mail. I don’t write for money, obviously. If I were to trim my standard of living severely, I might be able to subsist for a month on what my writing typically earns in a year.

I can’t even say that I write to be read. If people buy the books they read, not many are reading mine. A few people read my blog with some regularity, but that’s free. People will read anything they don’t have to pay for. Look at all the hours spent on Facebook every day.

The tourist answer is that I write because I can’t help myself. The truth is that I can, and often do. I won’t confess here all the time I waste in a day on things that are neither productive nor gratifying. I write because it is a convenient way to order my mind. I write because it lends some sense of meaning to the act of going along with my life. Things that are pointless and pernicious in the outer world can make a kind of healing sense in a story.


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