Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Writers Who Shouldn't Write

From a writer's point of view, it's a difficult thing to tell someone that they shouldn't write. Writing is a wonderful thing, and the more stories that come out to entertain and inspire us, the better. But at the same time, there are many people out there who make it far more difficult for those of us who are trying to one day make a living with our written words. They're nothing more than hobbyists, with no intention or drive to make a living out of it or even make the effort to better their craft over time. Still, they often clog all the publishing worlds with their work, backing up agent slush piles and putting out the self-pubbed books that they then leave and forget about, expecting a runaway bestseller to come from no extra work.

Think about it. How often have you heard a retiree or someone else with a plethora of extra time utter the words "I think I've got a novel in me"? Not several novels, not a series, not a career, just a novel. Whether you consider it so or not, writing is an art form, and it is an often disrespected art form. No one ever says "I think I have a masterpiece painting in me" or "I think I've got a platinum selling album in me" it's always that they think they've got a novel in them. They can wander into an art museum and stare at amazing paintings and sculptures and not once think they'd ever be able to do that. They can listen to a classic piece of music, and not once think that they can do that. But they can read a good book, set it down, and think they can do it. And then they try. And then they publish or submit. Chances are those books of theirs don't go far, and there's good reason for that. They don't have follow-up ideas nor a plan for their writing future, so agents won't give them the time of day. They don't have the drive to put their own extra work or money in, so their self-pubbed book will flop.

These people are everywhere, chances are we all know one or know someone who will someday become one of these people. Deep down, they don't respect writing as an art. If they did, they would have never had the thought that they could do what their favorite authors do. These people are the reason why you can't call yourself a writer without someone asking what your real job is. If all of these hobbyist writers kept their works out of the greater industry things would roll more smoothly. Writers such as myself, who have plans for their future and the motivation to make it happen, would have higher chances at actually getting through to the people I want to get through to. Even if it still means rejection, at least the letters would get to me quicker and I would be able to move on with less waiting time.

Writing is a beautiful thing, and I think everyone should take a chance at doing it at least once. But not everyone should pursue publication for their work. Writing is art, it takes dedication, practice, time, blood, sweat, and tears. For some it takes everything they've got and more. For others, it literally snatches the life right out of them. And every time someone utters the words "I think I have a novel in me" I die a little inside. They don't have the drive, they don't put in the proper effort, and yet the world considers them on a level playing field with those who deal with crippling self-doubt, constant rejection, and sometimes things far worse than that. Anyone who puts years of work, decades even, into their craft should be furious. No one sits down at a piano for the first time an vomits up an Adele song. And yet, people sit in front of keyboards and expect that to happen. Meanwhile others dedicate their whole life to it and have to deal with backups, piles of forgettable self-pubbed books, and a lack of legitimacy for their passion because of these writers.

If one of these hobbyist writers happens to be reading this, feel free to keep on writing that novel of yours. But don't you dare think about sending it off to an agent/publishing house or hit that publish button on Amazon unless you've got a proper plan, a drive to push you beyond that, the feeling within yourself that the dedicated, artist writers have that makes them keep going, makes it impossible to stop even if they wanted to. If you don't have that, please don't seek publication in any form. There are people out there who suffer greatly for their work and for the chance at publication, they work for years bettering themselves, putting the proper time in. Unless you're willing to do that, don't even think of venturing into that world.

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