Editor’s Notebook: Don’t be so greedy! Maybe.
I’ll say it again: Life is short and getting shorter.
Last month, I mentioned that I’ve been gorging on post-pandemic PLANS. What I didn’t say is that all this activity is in the service of my current writing project, which, lately, I’m daring to call a book. I’m still in overdrive, both with regard to my calendar and writing. Every new experience and crowded page is deeply satisfying but I’m hungry for the next and the next after that and the next again. And I’m starting to wonder if Greed is driving me. At least in part. Greed for validation? Readers? Recognition?
Well, I hope so. Because as Suzanne points out in her essay on writerly Greed, the latest in our 7 Sins of the Writing Life series, it’s a sin that can breed success. I’ll let her say more about how that might work. Here, I’ll share thoughts on writerly Greed from my friend Lisa Mayer, who answered the questions Suzanne posed to a few writer friends in preparation for her essay.
What, if anything, do you feel most Greedy for? Name recognition? Earnings? Contest wins? Ongoing book deals? Solicitation of your work (i.e., lack of need to submit)?
OK, I’ll be nakedly greedy: I want to be David Sedaris. There. I said it.
I want to write my funny little memoirs and POOF! My team—agent, publisher, publicist, and personal snack maker—sends me on the road for six months every year to perform them. Across the country, and then around the world. No hustle, no mustle.
Even five months. Four. Three.
I am SO ready.
Then I call my mother, and read her my latest. And she laughs and laughs until she cries. She forgets her troubles. And that’s enough for me.
Maybe that’s my problem.
Does Greed ebb and flow as writers move through different life stages?
Oh yes. When I was 22, I started in the Advertising Biz in New York City, and there was crazy greed among the writers to be the one to come up with THE BIG IDEA. To be poached by a cool boutique agency and become Creative Director and make THE BIG BUCKS. We still reminisce on Facebook about the good old Madison Avenue days.
I can’t believe I was ever 22.
Now my greed is pitted against TIME, the scythe, dementia. I’m desperate to get it all down, get it all out. Stories, plays, songs, operas lately and a million-zillion memories. I wake up every morning, and lay awake every night, bulging with ideas.
It’s a curse.
Do you think you could ever be satisfied as a writer?
Well, that’s a hard no.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your Greed with us! I’m sorry you feel cursed but it’s a sorry-not-sorry, because I’m glad for whatever drives you to write and share more of your stories.
Next stop: Wrath.
May you indulge and enjoy all writing sins forevermore. And may you write well today.