David Levenson / Getty Images It’s tempting to talk of writing—the art of it, the craft of it, the lifestyle of it—as a kind of romance. Writers of serious literature (according to, at least, many writers of serious literature) do not simply type stark words onto blank pages; instead, they stare into an abyss and reach into their souls and find, if they are fortunate, the swirling fires of Prometheus. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect,” Anaïs Nin said, which is beautiful and true and also objectively incorrect: Writing is delicious work, but it is for the most part simply work. It’s often lonely. It’s rarely romantic. (I am not a writer of serious literature, but I am a writer, and I am writing this while sipping stale coffee from a mug that’s in bad need of a wash.) Writing is a craft in the way that carpentry is a craft: There’s art to it, sure, and a certain inspiration required of it, definitely, but for the most part you’re just sawing and sanding and getting dust in your eyes. Because of all that, it’s refreshing—and it is also a profound public service— […]