Writerly Stuff: Writing Sharks

A friend of mine recently lamented. 

Why are writers meat?

You don’t see hordes of jackals preying on sculptors or violinists.  Writers are seen as a herd of ruminants to be pulled down and stripped of their money for daring to have dreams and stupidity.  I get SO sick of this.

And of writers playing into it.  Somebody asks about writing and gets told to buy a bunch of books. 

 (Now you can get your) “get started writing kit.”  For under $500 you can actually write something!!! 

(Then) I see webinars…on how to sell books.  Of course, she has never DONE that, has she?  But for money, she’ll tell you how. 

Just two little bits that caught my eye a minute ago, but the whole damn industry is like that.  Are writers stupider than other artists?  I KNOW we don’t have more money.  But everybody is trying to take what we have away from us.

It sucks.  But writers flock to it and cheer about it. 

My Response? 

Nice Rant.

Yes there are vultures in the writing biz.  But we are not alone.  If you want to be taken total advantage of and be treated like a piece of meat besides, try acting. 

Yes, anyone after kindergarten can slap some paint on a canvass, but that does not make one a painter.  The art schools are not all shams, but some are and there are certainly plenty of vultures in the art world.  Still, the phrase “studied under the masters” is not just propaganda.  Rare is the Grandma Moses who found unexpected success or the Vincent Van Gogh who could not give away a painting in his lifetime.  Most struggle for years, learning.

Of all the so-called arts, music is probably the most measurable.  You study under a teacher.  You practice every day, and in the end you either get work with the symphony or you will always have a nice hobby.  It is harder to be a vulture in the music biz, but they exist for sure.  I know some in the recording industry, well, more than some.

Writing, music, art, acting.  None of these are entirely natural phenomenon.  All require learning different techniques, styles and practice, practice, practice.  And all are subject to scams and shams.  But most people understand stringing words together after learning the basics in the first grade does not make one a writer.  Most understand the need to learn and practice. 

Yes, we may see the vultures best in our chosen field and may be frustrated, even angry at them for taking advantage of the vulnerable.  But believe me, the world is full of con-men and women, but why that should be is a question for the philosophers and theologians, not necessarily us.  About all we can do is try to avoid the vulture circling around our own lives and work and maybe point them out when we identify them.

Of course, he could not let it go at that. 

Actually that’s what makes vulturing in writing more ironic.  There is such a low correlation between study and success. 

I know we keep hearing how if we keep buying more books, go to more seminars, study more we’ll eventually succeed.

But that is BS.  The ones still doing that are the ones who haven’t succeeded.  MANY great writers just sat down one day and cooked out a big book.

The only field I’d compare writing with for jackals is modeling. 

So, want to be smarter than a model? is the question.

My response?

I would rather be smarter than a fifth grader.  They pay money.

2 thoughts on “Writerly Stuff: Writing Sharks

  1. I wonder how many webinars Tolstoy attended. Was Shakespeare ever told by a script-writing expert that he would never make it in the big time?

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