[Web Exclusive] On the flaws of the system: Interview with Chang Kang-myoung
- onDecember 31, 2018
- Vol.42 Winter 2018
- byKorean Literature Now
KLN: Tell us about a typical day for you.
Chang Kang-myoung: Nothing special, I’m afraid. I’m quite boring. If I have an interview like today, I’ll go out, otherwise I might stay home all day. On those days I get up early—I set my alarm for 6:27, and when it goes off I’ll let it ring for a couple of minutes and get up at 6:30. My laptop is on the kitchen table, and I’ll start writing right away. I’ll start working on what I was doing the previous day, and keep going, and then break for lunch, nap, write some more, dinner, write some more, go to bed. That’s a working day for me.
KLN: It must have been a hard decision to quit your job as a journalist and become a full-time writer.
Chang: You know, I actually didn’t plan to. I know how hard it is to be a full-time writer and I planned to keep my day job. I wasn’t prepared to deal with the loss of income and I wasn’t exactly an established writer or anything. My plan was to keep my day job and publish a novel every two or three years, and if I suddenly became a bestselling writer I would quit my job, or I would keep working if they didn’t do so well.
But I had a bad day at work and just switched off my phone and went home and sent in my resignation by email that night. It was very irresponsible… It’s funny when I think about it now. I’m not that brave a person, so what got into me that day? It takes a lot of courage to be a full-time writer in Korea. Or any country, for that matter. It’s not a decision you make lightly once you’re past a certain age and when you already have a career. The usual me would never have done it. But the funny thing is, everything worked out for me. I got lucky, but I also think that focusing exclusively on writing helped to push me to a certain level.
KLN: How did you get the idea for your first novel, Bleached?