Money Problems

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Reading, writing and thinking are all tasks that are nearly impossible to cultivate while performing manual labor. As Plato first noted, when discussing education, “sleep and exercise are unpropitious to learning,” and therefore students should avoid intense exercise as they pursue educational endeavors. Writing is what Veblen would call “conspicuous consumption,” a task primarily done by a “leisure class” uninhibited by manual labor.

It’s no secret that even the most talented and dedicated of writers aren’t living large off of their careers. But does needing a day job to pay the rent preclude becoming a successful writer in the first place?


Marisa Siegel lives, writes, and edits near NYC but thinks twenty times a day about heading back west. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” will appear in the anthology Burn It Down, forthcoming from Seal Press in fall 2019. She is Editor-in-Chief and owner of The Rumpus. Find her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet. More from this author →