There are many things I dislike about being a writer, however at the top is feeling entitled to whine about my job. One that affords me the luxury of making a living in my pajamas doing the only thing I’ve ever been good at. This tendency to whine is one I share with many of my people. Writers seem to think that by virtue of intellect or sensitivity that we suffer more than others, that the work we do is more necessary than other work. This idea is not only ridiculous, it’s shameful.
The truth is, what I do, what ninety-nine percent of us do, is no more important than what public school teachers, bricklayers and bus drivers do, (and doubtless I am better compensated). Without teachers to educate the young there is no future. Without bricklayers, there would be no homes to hang our hats, no stores or bars, no places of worship. If the bus driver is even late, people can’t get to work, old people miss doctors’ appointments, children are marked tardy and the lover standing in the rain believing himself stood up, throws himself off a bridge. How dare I complain or think myself so special? How dare I, though I also lie and say that writing isn’t really hard. That there are days when I wish that instead of trying to create a bus on the page so real you can smell the exhaust, I could simply drive one.
—Elissa Schappell is the author most recently of Blueprints for Building Better Girls, which was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and O magazine. She is a founding editor at Tin House and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.