Without the book business it would be difficult or impossible for true books to find their true readers and without that solitary (and potentially subversive) alone with a book the whole razzmatazz of prizes, banquets, television spectaculars, bestseller lists, even literature courses, editors and authors, are all worthless. Unless a book finds lovers among those solitary readers, it will not live . . . or live for long.
I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do---the actual act of writing---turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.