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5 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be A Writer Today

June 14, 2015
He’s grinning because he hasn’t noticed any of his mistakes yet. (image via wikimedia)

He’s grinning because he hasn’t noticed any of his mistakes yet. (image via wikimedia)

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)?

  1. I could not agree with you more because literacy becomes a social norm these days than it was 200 years ago. The need to learn reading as a skill of the educated has turned into a life vest in the sea of unknowing. I enjoyed reading your work..

    • Thank you.

      “… into a life vest in the sea of unknowing.”- I like that phrase. I would sneak that into one of my stories, but that might be considered plagiarism.

  2. I never really considered just how much physically easier writing is today than it was in the past – I guess it’s something I tend to take for granted. Like you mentioned in the first point, correcting mistakes is a lot easier today than before. If you mess something up in a Word document, all you have to do is backspace and rewrite it. Compare that with having to use whiteout, retype what you wrote, or start the whole page over if you were handwriting it makes the physical process of writing today seem like a piece of cake in comparison.

    • I’m not sure I’d blog as much if I had to hand write everything or type pages up the old fashioned way. Except for the carpal tunnel stuff, writing is physically easy now. I just have to remember to get up and move around every once in a while.

  3. Yes, I’ve used a typewriter. The first typewriter I ever used was electric, but it didn’t even have automatic returns. (I used to prefer writing early drafts by hand anyway, but I have fibromyalgia, and there are days when I can’t HOLD a pen/pencil, much less write with it for hours.)

    I cannot be fired for something I write, because I don’t have a “real job” (working for a company and getting a regular paycheck).

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told my writing sucks. I write science fiction and fantasy, after all, and there are always people who disapprove of those genres regardless of the author’s skill or lack thereof. Mostly that happened when I was posting on peer critique sites, which I have not done in a few years.

    • A typewriter with no automatic return? I feel my blood pressure going up just imagining that.

    • Writing is considerably easier, especially since I have fibromyalgia. The audio dictation application on any platform I consider a Devine intervention. Without it, or the ability to swipe type, I would have no chance at ever writing again, to be fair. Losing the ability to hand write did bother trouble me once, however the trade off for 10 minutes of ink and paper is a considerable put off.

  4. I think the notion of The Writer has lost some of its luster now that anyone can self-identify as one. I still feel that’s a title that should be earned and is more rightly ascribed by others. Typewriters are awesome, I wish I still had one. Not that I would use it too much. I just like them a lot. But nothing beats the ability to backspace or delete or cut-and-paste. So far no one has told me “I Suck!” but I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve never used my friends to buy books but I’ve used advanced reader copies of unpublished books as exchanges to get other books or DVDs that I wanted more, and my friends said that was wrong.

    • Nobody has told you that you suck because you don’t suck. And even if you DID suck (which you don’t), you have Dick Hercules backing you up.

      I wouldn’t want to mess with Dick Hercules or anybody who knows Dick Hercules.

  5. It’s much easier to be a writer now than a 100 or 200 years ago, which, on the other hand, means that if you did manage to write something and get published back then, it would have been much easier to get noticed.

  6. Definitely agree. I’m only 23, but I’m insanely introverted and awkward in person, so talking to anyone outside of my family and the few friends that I have is troublesome. With self-publishing, I can get my work out there without having to worry about making a good impression in person or whatever. I’ve only started out, but I can vouch that social media is a sort of paramount nowadays. I’ve met a lot of friends there who are willing to help spread the word about my book as a genuine gesture to help out a friend, and not with me nagging about it.

    • Even though we’re introverts (you and I, not necessarily everybody reading this), we have advantages that introverts 20 years ago didn’t have.

      Plus, you have friends whom you don’t need to nag.

      As a friend of mine once said: “You have to take advantage of your advantages.” I hope he didn’t plagiarize that from anybody.

      • That’s a really good point. We’re just lucky that our audience is so much accessible with social media and whatnot nowadays.
        And its not just for us, writers, but any other kind of artist. Modern technology just makes it easier for everyone to go about their form of art without having to contact anyone unless they’re in the big leagues.

  7. Desiree B. Silvage permalink

    Reblogged this on Literary Truce.

  8. shriyapai permalink

    Hey! I couldn’t find an article more apt to share my blog:
    Please do take a look! 🙂

  9. kenyonarcopeland01 permalink

    Haha! All of this is so true.

  10. crepe05 permalink

    Since I’m an ‘oldie’ who remembers the good old days, let me bring your attention back to the bane of my typing experiences during that time; It’s called carbon paper. If I needed to make a copy, I had to put carbon paper between each page. Erasing mistakes required a pencil with a special eraser on it that supposedly erased the mistake. More times than not, it made a hole in the paper instead. White out was a blessing, but the greatest invention of the time was the typewriter that I could just press “back”, and it erased my mistake. Hallelujah!

    As an aside, in high school I did actually dip a pen into the ink bottle. Thanks for the memories!

    • Haha! I remember making holes with my eraser on my regular paper, so I don’t want to even think about carbon paper.

      You dipped a pen in an ink bottle? Was it just an exercise for class, or was it the… normal way… to write for… you… back… then? I really hesitate to ask that question.

      • crepe05 permalink

        The hole at the right hand corner of the desks was the place to put the bottle of ink. Do they still have those in the desks, do you know. I have to add, though, that we did not use quills! We used ink pens. As I remember, we used ink in grade school in “penmanship” classes. For me, ink and penmanship did not easily work together, although I ended up with very readable penmanship.

  11. When I first started writing it was with a pen and paper, I didn’t like writing in pencil so when I wrote it was with a pen. Can you just imagine the number of cross outs and corrections written above a word or in the margins. When my page became so over filled with corrections, I had to re-write so I would be able to read what I wrote. Then came the typewriter, I took typing in school but never was better than forty words a minute. My first electric typewriter had a little screen where I could type in a sentence before hitting next line and make corrections if I bothered to read it but most of the time I was so engrossed in writing that that i didn’t bother. Hence mistakes on the page. Getting my first computer changed everything. Now, it is so easy to make corrections/deletions it is unbelievable. Have a great day.

    • Man, I would have given a lot to be able to type 40 words a minute back then. And you’re right; that first computer/word processor changed everything. I remember my first word processor-written paper. The essay was infinitely better (and faster) than anything I had typed up before.

  12. themonkseal permalink

    Truly, for a socially awkward person like me, it would have been very difficult to get an audience in the past. Today, with blogs, whatever little writing I do is open to the world.

  13. themonkseal permalink

    Reblogged this on themonkseal.

  14. We do live in an awesome time. But also awesomely terrifying.

    I always wanted a typewriter, I think maybe I just wanted to be Jessica Fletcher but that’s a story for my shrink. I never got one because I knew I’d just spend all day ripping the paper out and scrunching it up, then unscrunching it to copy out the paragraph before that that was perfectly fine. Lather, rinse, repeat until I got a job in Lidls.

    I am so social awkward I just never leave my house unless I have to. Seriously, it’s a thing. I’ve decided I’m not the awkward one everyone else is, and I feel sorry for them. And avoid them like the plague. So I have my online platform, which is the scary thing, because with thinking and rethinking what I say before I press send I can come off as normal but then when/if these people meet me I may have to just wire my mouth shut and nod politely while holding a drink with a straw because, hello, mouth wired shut.

    In terms of the writing, it is awesome. I set up a facebook at 4am and at 1pm the next day I had 35 likes. Now, I’m not one to swoon over likes, but I had been worried no one would like it and, just when oh when would I ever reach the 25 needed to create my own customised URL?! Turns out, the next day. So, we live in an age of awesome. But, as with music, I fear for what I still hate myself for referring to as “real writing”.

    In a country of free speech I will defend anyone’s write to publish what they like, even the 50 shades books, which I hate. And likewise I will defend a reader’s right not to like it. Especially with the 50 shades books. But, with it being so easy to publish nowadays, do we run the risk of putting the casual readers off? So that their status has to be reclassified to the “oh no, I used to read now and then but then I bought this e-book and it was just so terrible I haven’t picked up another book since, you know unless it’s by a REAL author” *cue collective groan behind computers*

    So, yeah we live in an awesome, “there are no monks around so I’ll fix my spelling later because I can on this laptop while updating all of my profiles simultaneously still in my tightie whities with all of the shades drawn because the light hurts my eyes”, age.

    But, is it the rise before the fall?

    • “But, with it being so easy to publish nowadays, do we run the risk of putting the casual readers off?”

      Maybe. There’s the danger of there being more writers than readers, but as long as every writer still reads a lot, maybe that issue will take care of itself.

      And if a lot of the writers aren’t very good, hopefully the readers stop reading them until the writers are forced to get better. Hopefully most of them will.

  15. I have to disagree, I can’t write without a pen or paper otherwise nothing comes out of my head. But anonymity is great, I’ve been writing on here for a day and I’d already have lost my job.

  16. My favorite part is “you don’t have to be around people” As a trained extrovert, introvert at heart, I’d rather me inside writing than out jet skiing. Thanks for the post. I didn’t even know James Franco wrote books, so who cares?

  17. Today even typewriters are a thing of the past. With digital convenience galore, everyone and their shadow claims to be a writer and I am not saying they shouldn’t. Just that like the serenity prayer suggests, they should know the difference between good and bad writing.

    Anyway, I like your writing style, the wit and humor and honest self-critiquing before anyone else gets the chance to do so… You don’t suck (at least in this piece! ;))

  18. love this. being an introvert myself, writing (and reading) are my solitude. i just wrote my first blog post today, though it actually took me about 6 days to write because of my fear of people hating it and my desire for perfection. for starters, I know theres always going to be people who hate your work (not you personally, us writers as a whole) for various reasons, some people just suck. and i know as you stated, we want perfection and we are never satisfied with what we write no matter what, which i think is good, makes us strive for more and to be better each time we write something.

  19. Reblogged this on potterhead.

  20. Toyosi_Hartpour permalink

    i really love the comparison you made between the old way and the new way. i’m sorta nostalgic about writing and sometimes, i feel i’d feeling awesome if i was born the sage-era. however the scary part of writing in our generation is plagiarism. its easy to backsapce and do all the cool stuffs with typing gadgets and app today, and in that same vein, it easy to simply copy and paste another writer’s work. just saying!

  21. And don’t forget having to do ANY research! Libraries! Card catalogues! Notes by hand! Formatting a bibliography! #scarredforlife

    • You’re right! How could I have forgotten research? I still have nightmares about microfiche (well, I’ve had two in the last 10 years).

      Research isn’t even research anymore; it’s looking stuff up. But not having to go to a library to find outdated magazine articles about my topic is the BEST thing about the internet. Thanks for the reminder!

  22. Now I really wanna be a writer.. now more than ever. Thanks. 🙂

  23. To write something is as good as having the entire apple pie for yourself and even the bad remarks are good for you in such a field. Once a novice there is always some scope to learn but once an expert… always an expert.

  24. Reblogged this on Mindreflexed and commented:
    Hit me like a napalm bomb actually. Insightfully delighting

  25. It took months to get a ‘you suck’? now that’s encouragement!

  26. Ease of writing is the main reason I’m glad to be writer. Fibromyalgia would be really unforgiving towards a typewriter. I imagine I wouldn’t be a writer if I had to contend with hand writing, or even a typewriter.

    I have used a typewriter. My first had an auto return, but my second didn’t. The second one lasted considerably longer than my first. I think that had something to do with the lack of auto return, as that’s what broke.

  27. maddaandhalfofthewholestory permalink

    Have you ever wondered that maybe you don’t receive almost no income from your ebooks is because the cover is pretty… ugly. Sure, it has a lovely font, but I believe the font can be complemented with something else aside from a cover that looks like a compilation of bachus poetry – I had such sort of book. I didn’t read it, just enjoyed tearing it up.

  28. It’s just what I do.

  29. Let’s see… Yes, I used to type out my high school reports on a typewriter at the kitchen table. No, I haven’t had my knuckles rapped by a nun, but I have been scolded and glared at by nuns (for various reasons). Yes, I’m glad to be a writer now (but wish I’d majored – or even minored – in English in college. No to the rest of the questions, at least not yet.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Ultimate Writer’s Guide for the Novice Author | Dysfunctional Literacy
  2. Why Do So Many People Read James Patterson Books? | Dysfunctional Literacy

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