This doesn’t actually suit all writers. Sometimes you talk to an author in the course of the day and realise they’re still in a different universe doing something else. They call their agent on a pretext: what are their sales figures in France? Has their book been submitted for some obscure award? It feels like someone calling up from the bottom of a well they’ve got stuck down. It’s dark here – is there anyone else up there?
Scriptwriters usually have it easier, working full time. They get called into meetings. They work on a couple of things at once. Their script editor calls for a long conversation. But book writers need to consider whether a job, even part-time, would keep them connected with the outside world.
I was talking to a trainee nurse once, who said she’d had a seminar on how to protect herself from the job. That sounds like a wise thing for anyone with absorbing work. Writers need to immerse themselves fully in the world of their story, and the characters, for it all to come alive. But I wonder if they can get stranded in there for too long, and need some form of decompression, like a diver.
Lest I find myself in a glass house throwing stones, anyone listening to a group of agents talking about high discount clauses or turnaround provisions would say we probably need to get out more, too.