5 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be A Writer Today
It’s easy for most writers to be negative. It’s tough to make enough money to earn a living. We’re never satisfied with what we’ve written. No matter how many people read and respond to our work, it’s never enough. But even with these challenges, it’s better to be a writer today than it’s ever been.
1. Writing is physically easier than it’s ever been.
Authors used to have to physically hold a pencil or a pen and physically write out each word on a sheet of paper. Even worse, back in the really old days, writers had to dip quills into ink and then got beaten by monks if they made a mistake.
I’m not sure that ever really happened because there’s no ancient video footage of monks beating writers who made mistakes. If there’s no video footage of an event, I’m skeptical that it ever happened. Then again, back in the 1970s I saw nuns rap student knuckles with rulers, so if nuns in the 1970s were doing that, I’m pretty sure in the really old days monks did much worse to young writers who made errors on their parchments. After all, nothing inspires perfection like the threat of violence.
Even when writers didn’t have to worry about hyper-critical monks and nuns, using a typewriter could be frustrating. If you weren’t a good typist, you spent more time making corrections than actually writing. The most frustrating weekend I ever had was during my senior year in high school when I had to type out my own term paper for English class. An entire Saturday was spent making corrections with white-out or retyping pages altogether. My mom, who typed 70 words a minute, said it taught me a valuable lesson, to always have a few spare bucks lying around to pay somebody to type my essays in college.
Writing with a computer/tablet is much easier than using a typewriter, pencil, or quill, and we don’t get beaten by monks when we make mistakes.
2. Writers can get an instant audience.
20 years ago, if I wanted an audience, I had to join a writer’s group, and even then, I had to wait until the next meeting (which could have been a week, two weeks, or even a month away, depending on the group) before I received any feedback for my writing.
Now, writers can get instant feedback. With blogs, Twitters, Instagrams, ebooks, and much more, writers have a bunch of choices of how they want to write. As long as writers are patient, we can eventually get an audience.
To be honest, when I started Dysfunctional Literacy, I didn’t get any feedback for about six months, but that was probably because I didn’t deserve any feedback. When I received my first “You suck!” comment, I knew I was finally doing something right. When a writer hasn’t gotten any feedback for 20 years, “You suck!” is exhilarating.
3. Writers can be anonymous.
Some people complain about anonymity on the internet and how it allows people (usually trolls) to misbehave without any real repercussion. To me, anonymity is essential because it keeps me from getting fired. Most people who get fired for online writing lose their jobs for posting/writing/tweeting comments that are on the “wrong” side of political issues or hot topics of the day. My problem is a little different.
I can’t let my boss find out I write for Dysfunctional Literacy because I’m on the “wrong” side of the literary James Franco debate. My current boss claims he knew James Franco in college (though I still haven’t seen any proof yet). If he ever finds out that I’ve criticized James Franco’s books, I’ll get fired. I like my job, and I even like my boss; I just didn’t like James Franco’s writing. Since I’m anonymous on Dysfunctional Literacy, my boss won’t find out that I’ve panned James Franco’s books.
For all you know, I could be James Franco. This is the internet, after all. But to be clear, I’m not James Franco. If I were going to claim to be another author, I’d claim to be JK Rowling. It worked for Robert Galbraith.
Anyway, I’m glad I live in a time where I can pan James Franco books without fear of being fired.
4. Writers don’t have to deal with people.
Even though a lot of writers are borderline anti-social, we usually have to deal with others to get published. Before the internet, if we wanted to get our work out to the public, we had to get past literary agents and publishers. It was frustrating to writers. Even if we thought we had something publishable, too much was out of the writer’s control. Unless we had connections or were willing to network to make those connections, we were most likely never going to be published.
Now, the anti-social author doesn’t have to deal with anybody. I published my own ebook on Amazon, and I didn’t have to talk to anybody during the entire process. True, hardly anybody has read my ebook, but I didn’t have to talk to any literary agents or publishers to get it out there. That has to count for something.
5. Writers can take advantage of friends.
I’m not a fan of network marketing. I don’t like the idea of using my friends to make money. Since I’m borderline anti-social, I don’t have many friends anyway, and I don’t want to alienate them by having them buy my stuff, even if it’s a cheap ebook. Knowing my friends, most would gladly help me out, but I don’t want to put them in that position, at least not yet. I’m not opposed to ever asking my friends for help, but that’s a tactic that should be used only once, and I’m not ready to take that step yet.
Even though I haven’t used my friends to buy books yet, I’m glad I live in a time when I can use them if I want to.
What do you think? Why are you glad that you are a writer right now? Have you ever had to use a typewriter? Have you ever been beaten by a monk/nun for making a mistake while writing? Have you ever used your friends to buy books? Have you been fired for something you wrote? Has anybody ever told you that “You suck!” on your blog (or writing format of choice)?
When I was a kid, I was punished for saying the word crap. Looking back, it kind of ticks me off because now I know…
And here is the true story of my one moment of high school glory!