Traditional Publishing

Want to be a writer? This bleak but buoyant guide says to get used to rejection – Wednesday February 15, 2023

"No whining."

That's one of Stephen Marche's refrains throughout his provocative essay called On Writing and Failure. As a writer himself, Marche would never deny that writing is hard work: He well knows that writing for a living is fatiguing to the brain and tough on the ego and that the financial payoff is overwhelmingly dismal. But, by repeatedly saying, "No whining," Marche is telling aspiring writers, in particular, to "get used to it."

His aim in this little book is to talk about "what it takes to live as a writer, in air clear from the fumes of pompous incense." And what it takes, in Marche's view, is to have no illusions about the certainty of failure. Even beyond talent or luck, Marche argues, the one thing a writer needs to get used to is failing, again and again.

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