Monday, February 17, 2014

The Unfair Disadvantage of Being a Writer

One of my friends is writing his third book and we have been in heated discussions about the proper use of commas, quotations, and other writing technicalities. Then, we talk about spelling errors, lousy feedback, and whether or not being an indie author is a good thing or not.

The more we discuss these things the more I wonder what the world has against writers.

It seems indie/self-published authors have a bad reputation.  The theory is the only reason indie authors are published is because they couldn't find a real publishing company to take on their story so they had to self-publish their work.

This isn't true at all.

Some people like the freedom of self-publishing, some people work better without the rules and regulations, and some people simply want to express themselves through the art of writing.  

And writing is just art.

Sure, we can learn the proper placement of commas, point out spelling errors, and a variety of other thing as steps in honing the craft but writing is still an art from.

It's a talent.
It's a gift.
It's a blessing.

It's an expression.

It's not something that can be learned without allowing yourself to be a part of the evolution.  Writing is exhausting; emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.  To write well, you have to pour yourself 100% into writing at all times, day after day, hour after hour, project after project.  Not everyone understands why those with the passion of writing exclude themselves from company to write something down or keep a notebook that makes you look like a schizophrenic.

At the same time, writing is completely exhilarating because we allow so much of ourselves to be a part of the expression of words on a page.

So then, why do I think writers have a huge amount of pressure on them?  Because we do!  We have to satisfy ourselves through our writing and still satisfy the readers and the critics.  Others have high expectations of us with our usage of grammar and our artistic ability or story-telling and mixing words on a page.  We have certain word counts to make a "legit" novel and those who do go through a proper publishing company are told how to rewrite their story so it will become a money making product instead of an expression of art.

Doesn't it seem unfair?  

But what about that small budget movie maker who wants to display his talent at the indie film festival?  That's okay because that person is an artist, right?  But wouldn't that mean they aren't good enough to get into Hollywood so they take a cop-out to work in their desired profession because MGM didn't hire them?

And what about that band that plays at the bar on Friday nights?  You listen to their self-produced album constantly because the music is so raw, so authentic, and their, you'd love to hear them on the radio someday.   Are they ruining their chances of making it big with their record releases on their own label instead of something Simon Cowell produced?

Instead of being able to use indie author experience on our writing resume, it makes us look like a sell out, when, like many other artists, we are using it as a chance to expose our talent until we "hit it big." 

I love to write and I am very bashful about sharing my talent beyond the blogging world because of these stereotypical issues.  People have told me I should go to college so I can be a better writer if that's what I want to do with my life because then, I'd at least have a degree... and that suddenly makes me a best-selling author.  That's how it's supposed to work, right?

I have a friend who teaches creative writing 101 or whatever her course is called.  She constantly posts her students flaws, mistakes, and other ridiculous things they've written.  Because of her posts, I refuse to ever take a college course on writing.  She can easily tell them what is wrong with each paragraph and this bothers me she's posting it on social media, exposing their "mistakes".  Her students are people in pursuit of their dreams and no matter how creative they are, it doesn't fit in the handbook of how to be an author.

Writing is as much as an art form as painting is yet it isn't recognized as such.  If an indie film maker can find his picture, and a unknown musician can find his song, then a writer should be able to write in their own voice — even if that means breaking some of the rules.  

1 comment:

  1. The reason that perception exists for indie writers is that too many people DO self-pub because they aren't good enough to ever in a million years get a publishing contract. It ruins the rep for those of you that are good writers and choose the non-traditional route.


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