In this post I would like to explore the complex relations between literature and economics.
I’m holding the conviction that those who’re mainly financially motivated or search to reach higher social status through a literary activity, are approaching this field with a wrong mindset. If you want to become rich or famous by writing texts, consider a career in the corporate publicity industry or become a lawyer/politician.
I’m not propagating here the idea that an integer artist should live in poverty, although history books are lined with such examples. Let’s just admit that the most happy artists were those who had reached a certain degree of financial independence before they started to dedicate large amounts of their time to their artistically activity. When money is lacking, life is reduced to an eternal present that incarcerates us. The artists who lack money to cover for their basic necessities, often end up selling their souls.
Being neither the heir to a fortune nor a financier, I have never been rich enough to forget money or poor enough to neglect it. It is wise to have money, wise to reflect critically on it, and those who pretend to despise it are lying to themselves.
I vehemently contest the modern adage that writers should write what people want to read or suffer the consequences. The result is a massive gray pulp of imitations of the successful matrix of a contemporary bestseller: the novel with an average length of 375 pages, set inside the USA and the protagonist being a female lawyer or detective.
Writing has to be a pleasant activity for the writer in the first place. The reader and the sale-ability of a book should be secondary to that. Publishers and literary agents will disagree since they want books that are selling. In this aspect, the self publishing industry has opened up this bottleneck that prevented many creative writers of sharing their prose. And when your prose happens to string a note among the readers, they’ll come to you. In the meanwhile, writing is a means for the writers to process some convoluted thoughts and ventilate their creative energy. People are wealthy only to the extent that they love someone, and something, other than money.