Abraham Verghese on Practicality in Writing

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese

I write by stealing time. The hours in the day have never felt as if they belonged to me. The greatest number has belonged to my day job as a physician and professor of medicine — eight to 12 hours, and even more in the early days. Lest it sound as if I resent my day job, I have to say that my day job is the reason I write, and it has been the best thing for me as a writer. Indeed, when I am asked for writing advice, which is rare, I offer this: Get a good day job, one that you love, preferably one that consumes you and that puts your boat out in the river of life. Then be passionate about it, give it your all, get good at what you do. All that gives you plenty to write about, and it also takes the pressure off the writing. Counting on writing to pay the mortgage or your kid’s college tuition is decidedly risky.

***I do understand how Abraham feels about the hours of the day not belonging to him. I also had a demanding career. Yet, is it just me or does this seem really obvious for him to say given his main career?***~Meyer Lane

From Wikipedia:

Physician-author Abraham Verghese (born 1955) is Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University Medical School and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He is also the author of three best-selling books, two memoirs and a novel. In 2011, he was elected to the very prestigious membership in the Institute of Medicine.

He was born in Ethiopia to parents from Kerala, India who worked as teachers. He was raised as a Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christian. Verghese, his father’s Christian name, being Malayalam for George, is a very common Suriyani name. In 2009, Knopf published his new book and first novel, Cutting for Stone. In 2010, Random House published the paperback version of the book and since that time, it has risen steadily up the bestseller charts, ranking #2 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction list on March 13, 2011.It has been on the New York Times list for well over two years.

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