Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Writing Myth

I stopped being in online or real life writers groups because I was just so darned annoyed by the idiocy of them. First of all, people think writing is something they should do for free for "exposure." This is ludicrous. You should write until you're good enough that someone will pay you for it. Giving away your words just tells people that you don't think you're any good, either.

The other reason I stopped trying to be involved is that people spend TONS of time thinking about stupid things like their pen names and the names of the books they will write. Well, big news here, names of books are generally determined by editors and/or marketers. So, you'd be better off to spend some time writing. And, hey, it might give you something to put that pen name on. You'll have plenty of time to practice the Oprah interview when you're jetting between cities on your mega book tour. (Dream big!)

I think the reason people don't want to do any writing is because it's hard to accept that it's one of the easiest things in the world to do, and yet it's so damned hard to do it well. All it takes is a pencil and paper - almost everyone on the planet has the necessary equipment. It boils down to BIC (butt in chair) and that's the thing people have such a hard time with. In reality we don't need computers or spell checkers or an audience. What we need is to write. But, it's the last thing that most wanna be writers seem to want to do. I also discovered that the people who are making a living writing are generally ... well ... WRITING.

Wanna be writers join writers groups in real life and online where they can talk about writing. And they read books about writing. The only thing they don't spend much time doing is writing. Should they actually do some writing, their first instinct is to try and get someone to publish it. Trust me, that's rarely the first thing you should try to do with your writing.

Goodness knows surfing through about 85% of the web should be reason enough to realize that many people who write should not publish. And that *anyone* with a few dollars a month can publish a website. Shoot, you don't even have to have a few dollars - you can do it for free - blog sites abound.

Within the last 24 hours, I've actually heard someone refer to their "job" as being a "freelance writer." In reality, this person has neither a job nor are they a freelance writer. I know because they've gone on to say they're writing for online sites for free. I'm sorry, you're confused... let me clear this up for you... this is NOT a "job." It's volunteer work. A job is something you get paid for.

It's also rather bad form to call yourself a "freelance" writer when you're a volunteer writer. "Freelance" means to sell your services to an employer without a long term commitment. Even a volunteer writer should understand the words one is using.

A "job" is when you perform a service for someone - maybe writing - and do it well - and so they pay you for your services. It's much like when you pay the hairdresser to cut your hair, or the cleaner to press your suit, or the tailor to make your clothes. When you have a JOB as a writer, people pay you for the service you're performing of putting words together.

Well, this type, along with the, "well, today I've taken a leap of faith, and decided to devote myself to my art and quit my job" types, are the reasons I can't find a place to communicate with other writers. I haven't yet seen anyone who didn't have someone else to pay their bills take a "leap of faith" and quit their job. If you've got a spouse to pay all your bills, then it's not a leap of faith, it's just sleeping in when you want. A leap of faith is when you're so sure you can sell your writing that you're willing to bet the house on it - literally. Relying on someone else to pay the bills is not the same thing.

Well... gosh... apparently I needed to get that off my chest. And - hey - I got some big news for you - few of us like to write, but most of us love having written. Now, I need to get back to my own writing.

1 comment:

Patsy Terrell said...

The 70,000 hits my blog gets every month indicate that someone likes to read what I write.

My style is obviously not your cup of tea. Fortunately for both of us, the world wide web has many information super highways. I hope you find one that is better suited to your tastes.