From my position as a ghostwriter and writing/editing/ghostwriting instructor, I come into contact with a tremendous number of writers. Ergo, it has come to my attention that the writing world has more pathways than most of us have fingers and toes: academics, scholars, memoirists, novelists, speech writers, playwrights, screenwriters, TV writers, business writers, comedy writers, biographers, political pundits, bloggers, online content creators, copy writers, marketing gurus, self-help authors, and on and on and on.
In the past few days, I’ve encountered two completely diverse situations that speak to the lack of commonality of this enormous, diverse community and how we perceive ourselves within that loose fellowship.
The first came up during my talk with a wonderful novelist. She sold her first book to an online/POD publisher and subsequently joined its author community via blogging and blog commenting. Problem is, she feels isolated within this group, which she specifically joined to enjoy that wonderful sense of connection we all seek with our fellow writers and authors. Their writing goals and process seem so different from hers. The only common ground she can find is their mutual affection for the publisher and desire to get their stories down in writing.
I noticed the second situation in a LinkedIn group discussion as I read over the various answers to a question about the writing industry and thought about my own perspective on the topic. I admit it: I’m ever the optimist. I look at a problem and, like a Ferengi, I suppose, see opportunities and possibilities, not gloom and doom. Yes, the writing and book worlds have changed, enormously. But they haven’t ceased to exist–they’ve merely become different, and I don’t think the answer to “better pay for better writing” is in legislation, but in our individual selves.
So what is the point of this blog? I guess just to point out that writers come in all flavors. That our vast conglomerate of folk never has been and never will be a one-size-fits-all. Writing is so darn individualistic, it cannot and should never try to be stuffed into round holes. We are the last, great independents in a world hellbent on conformity.
Few will remember Gary Cooper or Alice Cooper in 100 years, but they’ll still know Dickens, Austin, and Rowling. And maybe, just maybe, you and me.