Writing Even Though You Can’t Make A Living Off It

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The best things on my CV—the ones I almost want to use comic sans for, just so they’ll stand out—haven’t paid me.

In an essay for The Toast, Jilly Gagnon lays bare the realities of the writing life: handling 3,128 rejections, working a day job, and drying Mom’s tears when she sees the size of the apartment you can afford.

She perseveres because…well, she doesn’t want to say it’s a “calling,” but she does think it’s “brave,” “stupid,” and “really, really arrogant,” which sounds kind of like a calling to us.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →