Hanif Kureishi reveals how to succeed in the worlds of fiction and film

Hanif Kureishi in The Independent:

Kureishi_getty_569464t I had wanted to be a writer – to devote myself to words and storytelling – from the age of 14. I can remember the moment it occurred to me, one day at school, and how differently I felt about the world after, the door to the future opening. But I hadn't given much thought as to how I would support myself, and later, a family. I seemed to believe that I'd get by somehow. The details didn't matter, particularly since I made the decision to write in 1968 – a time when creativity rather than “bread” was the key. And the writers I'd admired – Kafka, Beckett, Kerouac, Henry Miller, among others – hardly had “professional writer” on their passports.

They were artists, which was different, and none of them, to my knowledge, seemed concerned about the price of prams, or had children at private school – both of which, according to a rather arch idea of Cyril Connolly's, were lethal for writers: “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway.”

Perhaps, for some people, becoming an artist implies abandoning ordinary life for the excitement of bohemianism, but I can't say I know many writers like that. Writing is as steady a job as any job can be. Routine makes the imagination possible. “Acting in”, you could call it, as opposed to acting out. Writers are envied because writing, or perhaps any form of art, is the most gratifying sublimation of all; it is one thing you don't have to leave the house to do – warm but not impressive underwear being the only requirement, apart from some talent.

More here.