Somerset Maugham’s novel The Moon and Sixpence contains an interesting passage. The following is a reflection on writing by one of the world’s most famous writers:
“It is a salutary discipline to consider the vast number of books that are written, the fair hopes with which their authors see them published, and the fate which awaits them. What chance is there that any book will make its way among that multitude? And the successful books are but the successes of a season. Heaven knows what pains the author has been at, what bitter experiences he has endured and what heartache suffered, to give some chance reader a few hours` relaxation or to while away the tedium of a journey. And if I may judge from the reviews, many of these books are well and carefully written; much thought has gone to their composition; to some even has been given the anxious labour of a lifetime. The moral I draw is that the writer should seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from the burden of his thought; and, indifferent to aught else, care nothing for praise or censure, failure or success.”
Writing is a self-sustaining passion. Maugham makes this abundantly clear. He shows us that, in the end, we have to write for the sake of writing itself, if only to be authentic to ourselves as writers. The journey is, as they say, more important than any imagined destination.