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When The Writers You Don’t Admire Get You

At the end of the day, you admire them and they’ve earned their stripes

Scratch the little — they have CVs that cram twenty years’ of achievements into two

Somehow, while you were still scratching your head about whether to take this writing business seriously, they’

And it seems like they live entirely off fellowships and grants

And yet somehow — through black magic, bribery or both — those writers have become literary sensations

And if they do have stellar publication histories and fellowships and the like, they obviously deserve it

I don’t have to like what they’ve written — they don’t need my approval

The path to literary fame is a lot more democratic than it used to be

You can start on your own by sharing your stories online, even if it’s on a

People with certain backgrounds are likelier to make it as writers than others

For one thing, most of today’s successful literary fiction writers have literature or writing degrees

Does a degree automatically make one a better writer? Not necessarily

At the same time, the usual rules about jealousy being an unproductive green-eyed monster apply

So how does an ambitious-but-less-advantaged writer move on from their jealousy of the up-and-coming scribes who seemingly

Other people being successful does not mean you have a lower shot at making it

The world is always open to more fiction, as long as it’s good, and that good

And yet the number of literature students with writing dreams who go on to make waves is

But even at those programmes, not every graduate does equally well

Some produce a series of semi-successful books that occasionally get long-listed for awards

Only a very few really make it to the top — major awards, prestigious teaching appointments, national grants

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you want a more enduring career, one that translates

You still need to write excellently — which you can do even without the residences

Within you may lurk enough talent for the world to someday hail you as the next F

Just like the original F Scott Fitzgerald earned his own repute in his time

Maybe they had better connections, maybe they were in the right place at the right time, maybe

Those publishers and prize committees can’t all be dumb, right? Those writers evidently have merit, even

So you might as well move on from agonising over why they won and not you, and

As if not feeling entitled and having to accept their merit was hard enough, right? Hear me

The point is to see what goes into making a story fail — which is, if you think

When it comes to writing, I have neither education nor connections nor work experience

No one in my family or friend circle has anything to do with the literary world, and

At the same time, I know there is absolutely no rule that says I can’t make

Several of the people I met at B-school and my first workplace, for instance, would make highly