There is a recent article on Forbes about why you shouldn’t be a writer. Now, after reading this article, I have to blog about it. It seems to me, the lady either didn’t succeed as a writer and is jealous of those who did, or she did succeed and doesn’t want any competition.
So I am going to go toe to toe with her and address each of her points.
#1 You’re not good at it
Why, because she says so? How can one make such a blanket statement? Some writers are absolutely great, some are abysmal, and many are somewhere in-between, but until you embark on the journey, you won’t know. Some writers in the latter category can gain experience, hone their craft, and become better as they go. True, some aren’t ever able to climb out of that category, but again, until they try and work at it, how will they know? Why would anyone try to shoot down another’s dream in such a way? What insecurity lies behind such a statement?
#2 It’s too hard
Excuse me? Writing is too hard? Why, because it takes some work and dedication? I’m a mother as well as a writer. I can tell you right now motherhood is much harder than writing. My characters don’t need to me to referee arguments over which show to watch, who is sitting too close to who, who took who’s toy, who said something they shouldn’t have, who gets what bowl/cup/plate, etc. My characters never wake up in the middle of the night vomiting, or with a fever. The don’t fall off the swing set and hurt themselves. I don’t have to pick up after them or fix meals for them. Being a mother is extremely hard work that you are on call for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. And yet, it is completely worth it. Like most things that require work and dedication.
I also raise dairy goats. Milking everyday is work. Trimming hooves, wrangling them to get wormer and copper down them is hard. Sitting in a cold barn all day and half the night waiting on a doe to kid is hard. But like anything else that requires hard work, it is worth it.
In comparison, writing is easy. Yes, you have to write a first draft. Then you have a two or three (sometimes more) rewrites. Then it needs to go through a bunch of editing. Then a crit process. Then more editing and rewriting and editing again. Then it needs to go through a more thorough editing. Then there is cover art, blurbs, formatting and all kinds of things, but I would never say it is harder or more work than anything else in life you expect to turn out well.
If this lady thinks writing is hard, then she must also think getting out of bed is hard, turning on a light switch or coffee pot is hard. Maybe she struggles with tying her shoes, or flushing the toilet. I don’t know.
She also says that other things like digging ditches is easier because you know when you’ve come to an end. Really? Maybe that is the source of her sour attitude. As a writer, you need to know where the end is on the story you are writing. If she can’t figure that out, then maybe she is the one who shouldn’t be a writer. If she means because there is always another story so in effect, you writing is never at an end, well I hate to tell her this, but the work of life never ends. Laundry never goes away, the dishes always need done at the end of the day, there is always another ditch somewhere that needs dug. Life and the work in it don’t end until you die. So if her argument is that, then it is a false argument.
She also says writing is thankless work What exactly is thankless work? As a mother, I don’t get profuse thanks from my children everyday for bringing them into the world. Does that mean it’s thankless work? No. Because I am thankful. I don’t need the thanks of anyone else. I am thankful I am a writer. I am thankful I am a mother. I am thankful I am alive. Those are the only thanks I need. If the writer of the article needs something else, she is looking in the wrong spots and in the wrong way.
#3 It’s too hard to monetize
Really? In today’s world? I don’t think so. And I guess it is what you expect out of it too and what you are writing for. The majority of writers are not writing to become a millionaire. They are writing because they love to and because they have stories in them that need to come out. Many, many writers are doing quite well these days. From the tone of this lady’s comment, I get the feeling she wanted to become a millionaire and didn’t succeed and is now bitter over it. Either that or she did and is deeply afraid of any competition that might knock her off her self constructed pedestal of greatness from which she feels she has the right to pass judgement on those lesser unwashed masses of writers.