Letter to the Editor of POETS & WRITERS Magazine

The below was written to Poets & Writers in response to Michael Bourne’s article “Why We Write: Failure Is An Option” (September/October 2015). The letter appears in the November/December 2015 issue of P & W.

I so identified with his realization that he had viewed writing as an indulgence, as frivolity, when one could easily make a living with a less subjective vocation. Growing up in the Midwest, in a family of staunchly practical Germans and Scots, some of whom spent lifetimes working in jobs they disliked in order to support their families, I felt a pull to succeed in particular ways. It can be difficult to develop a conception of success that doesn’t involve a certain income, a certain type of house, and, since my family is from the Detroit area, a certain level of car ownership. I enjoy great support and encouragement from my family when it comes to my writing, but that doesn’t stop that internal nagging voice that says I am wasting my time that could be better spent on something “productive.” Reading Bourne’s article was a welcome step back from my doubts as I prepare to query agents with my third manuscript, and brace myself for more rejection.

— EB in Lansing, Michigan


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