“I still dream of making enough money from selling a novel every two or three years to not have to do anything else, but looking at the publishing market that’d involve me having to produce such mediocre work that it’d make the whole venture completely pointless.”

DEL resident Tim Maughan is an author and journalist using both fiction and non-fiction to explore issues around cities, class, culture, technology, and the future. His work regularly appears on the BBC, New Scientist, and Motherboard. His debut novel INFINITE DETAIL was published by FSG in 2019 and was picked by The Guardian as the best science fiction and fantasy book of the year.

Q: How do you fund your artistic practice? What would it take to live off your art?
A: Most of my income now comes from writing fiction for corporate clients, mainly for their internal use. It’s not the best scenario as the work can be uninspiring, but it pays well enough to fund my other work. I’ve no idea how long this will last of course; I sense we’re only just starting to see the economic impact of COVID-19 and the budgets for this kind of work may well dry up. I still dream of making enough money from selling a novel every two or three years to not have to do anything else, but looking at the publishing market that’d involve me having to produce such mediocre work that it’d make the whole venture completely pointless.
Tim recommends:

Astra Taylor “Against Activism” (Mar 2016)
Q: How would your approach to artmaking change if you didn’t have to worry (as much) about making money?
A: In the usual ways: more room for experimentation and collaboration. The ability to take more risks. It’d probably get more self indulgent too, which could go either way in terms of how interesting or good the work is.
Q: What hopes do you have for younger artists that are just starting out?
A: Christ, I don’t know. I’m so inspired by the young artists whose work I encounter or who I meet that it’s very conflicting; I simultaneously feel like they might save everything—fix it through sheer passion and talent—while my inner-realist knows they’re facing an incredibly uphill struggle: not just to get their work made and seen, but just to stay alive. How do you continue to produce art when facing civilizational collapse within your lifetime? It simultaneously feels like the most important and most trivial thing to try and do. But maybe that’s always what art is? So deep, makes u think, eh?