Remember when people said “I can’t write.” Often, they were right. They could put together a sensible memo, maybe. Maybe not even that.
Not to cast aspersion on the tireless room moms that helped my children enjoy Pizza Days and give class gifts to their teachers, but many of those people COULDN’T WRITE. You’d read a long and complicated letter and still not be sure if you were supposed to bring brownies in on Friday or check your kids for lice. That was aggravating, but what they did for the kids was way more important. They didn’t really have to be great writers.
I miss those days, back when writing was considered something best left to writers. (And plumbing best left to plumbers.)
This was the subject line of an email I got recently. “Is writing a bestseller on your bucket list? It’s doable.” This is what gets me. Everyone is writing a bestseller these days. And these books are really just big business cards – something they give out when they network. The email continued:
Writing a book is on a lot of business owners’ bucket lists, with good reasons. (sic) Having a book introduces you and your ideas to a new, larger audience; it gives you a ton of credibility and authority to have written a book; and having a book can be a great introduction to bigger circles, speaking opportunities, and other publicity. And having a bestselling book? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake. I can already hear people saying, “Yes, but… Isn’t it really hard to get a book published?” And the answer is: not any more! …and if you play your cards right, [it’s] nearly as easy to become an Amazon bestseller.
So, what is wrong if a LOT more people begin writing their business books and submit them to Amazon with a marketing strategy to earn “Amazon bestseller” status. Nothing really. I don’t know why this brings out the curmudgeon in me. Maybe, you think I’m a snob. But that’s not really it. I’m okay with all these people getting books out there.
It’s just that being a writer used to mean you and I likely had many things in common.
Writing is not just something I do, it’s part of who I am. I always knew I wanted to have a book published – from a very young age.
You probably write or think about writing nearly every day. You might be a little addicted to writing – or flow. You probably face resistance nearly every day. You might be a weirdo, or at least a nonconformist. Your creativity probably ebbs and flows – letting you write at a feverish pace one day, and putting you on the couch with crap tv and crappier food another.
And those of us who used to identify with the label “writer” can no longer find each other. Those of us who scribble – when we should be doing household chores (like Jane Austen did) or stay up late writing while the rest of the house sleeps (like Flaubert) or who get up every morning early and write every day, even Christmas and your birthday, like Steven King – can’t find our people anymore. It is harder for us to find our community.
Does this ring true for you? No? Only me? I’d love to know. Go to my facebook group for writers. I’ll post and you can comment there. And what the heck, you might even find your community there.