Beautifully written piece in Irish Times by Kevin Powers about the delusions we create for ourselves about what it means to "be a writer" (or any other kind of artist, for that matter) "2010: I wrote most of a play about the Irish financial crisis. (It ended, or was supposed to end, with Brian Cowen and Enda Kenny dancing a waltz across the stage to the tune of The Offaly Rover. Oh, dear.) 2011: I tried to write a novel about the family of a disgraced banker. 2012: I cranked out 200 crazed pages about a south Dublin rugby schoolboy on a business junket to Serbia (where I had spent a weird week promoting my book a few years previously). 2013: I wrote most of a novel loosely based on the murder of Meredith Kercher (an attempt, hideously misguided, to recapture whatever magic had animated Bad Day). All of these projects consumed endless hours of my time and remained unfinished, unreadable, hopeless, dead.
Now, of course, I can see what all of these unfinished projects had in common, which is that they were impersonal, written not out of an honest attempt to understand my own experiences and to communicate that understanding to others, but out of ambition, undiluted: the ambition to be a writer. I was unable to write about the things that had happened to me (growing up; falling in love; flailing around in college and after: all the stuff usually taken by young novelists as their material) because I never thought about the things that had happened to me. I was too busy trying to be a writer."