The Summing Up, XLVIII

I didn’t think I was going to care for this chapter—I thought it was going to be more of Maugham ranting on about being the only right kind of author, the fortunate one—but it turns out he had a rather good point to it. Maugham isn’t pedagogical, which makes him somewhat frustrating given his experience and knowledge. He goes on about the importance of creating writing habits, which must be broken immediately once they cease being productive and start being rote. Wish I’d read The Summing Up before any of my many blogging crises, not to mention MFA school, though being creative with a deadline is a lot different than encouraging oneself to blather. Then Maugham talks about the dangers of success for a writer. Again, it seems like he’s going to talk about himself, but he doesn’t. He talks about how he doesn’t think success corrupts, rather improves. Failure corrupts. Except improved character of person doesn’t improved character of writer. He also talks about how when a writer tackles their new, successful world, the results are nowhere near as good as before their successes. The unspoken, of course, is Maugham being successful so fast was just fine since he was well-off. Or I’m just still a little wary of him.

Scroll to Top