Dean Is Right, Of Course

Dean Wesley Smith doesn’t need any verifying from me regarding the realities of publishing, but here it is anyway —

I’ve made most if not all of the mistakes Dean describes in his post at, and he’s absolutely right; the only “mistake” that halted my writing career was halting my writing. Period. The literary paradigm is that of the writer Reardon in George Gissing’s novel NEW GRUB STREET, who hits a seriously bad patch and decides to “become reasonable” by giving up his writing — and a couple chapters later he’s frickin’ dead.

(NEW GRUB STREET has the reputation in some circles as the best novel ever written about writers. Many years ago I recommended it to Barry Malzberg on that basis; he read it and said, “It’s all there.”)

In this regard, we should dog-Latinize Cicero’s motto Dum spiro, spero — “While I breathe, I hope” — to Dum scribo, spero — “While I write, I hope.”

2 thoughts on “Dean Is Right, Of Course

  1. Thanks, KW, great stuff. And I have not read New Grub Street, so I will find it. Thanks!

    And yes, Dum scribo, spero.

    This new world is just making it too much fun for all of us.

    Thanks for the great comment.

  2. What you said, K.W., what you said! The mistake I made was the same one…stopping writing.

    That said, I can see pausing for a while when life or the Day Jobbe fries your brain enough that you can’t think straight. And even then I have found that writing fiction can help keep me sane when the Day Jobbe is exploding in craziness around me (but I do a lot of tech-type writing in my day jobbe). These days I only stop writing (or editing/revising) when the brain is so dead that I can’t stir anything. Usually a stint on the slopes or on the horse helps with that. Anything physical helps.

    I don’t remember the moment when I stopped writing fiction. I do remember the day I looked at just one more Present Level I had to write for an IEP and muttered, “I want to write creative stuff again!”

    Didn’t start writing again right away, but I did within six months.

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