i decided it best to balance out yesterday’s rant against the wimp-writer culture with a “blog” about why writers (in general) don’t suck – even if they suck as writers.
despite my complaints against my breed, i’m also proud of my writers-in-arms, even the ones i don’t really care for. when i see a writer do well for (him/her)self, i can’t help but feel a bit excited (jealous depending on the situation) for him/her. i mean, it’s harder to do this than what others think. i know, because i’ve read the work of friends who wanted to start writing and was like, “oi vey, how do i make this criticism constructive and not lose them as a friend?”
but more on that.
1. …they create.
whether it’s a novel, a short film, copy for an ad, they create something that is meant to inspire another person. now, whether that inspiration is for good or evil is a bit irrelevant, the fact is, they create. and in that sense, writing is not so different from carpentry.
the writer has been given the raw materials of language, paper (or laptop), pen (or keyboard), and the carpenter has been given the raw materials of lumber, tools, muscle. but then you take those raw materials and turn them into something functional, practical, beautiful, whatever. i think this is why the Bible begins with the Creation and not just God sitting around humming to Himself or with an explanation of why He decides to create – and what does He use to create? words. God is the first Writer.
sorry if that is too “religious” for you, but writing itself is very much a religion of sorts, so you’ll have to deal.
II. …they have guts.
it takes courage to send a query letter, have your story critiqued, enter a contest, etc. we writers feel like our work is very much a part of us and when that part of us gets criticized, rejected, or utterly destroyed, it can really hurt.
but the path of the writer is one of rejection. which leads me to the next reason writers don’t suck…
THREE …they have hope.
writers have an immense amount of hope. some would say it borders upon naivete, but it is hope nonetheless. otherwise, why would we keep writing?
now, no writer likes the idea that their work may not be appreciated until after they are six feet under, but even so, most of us will take it. better appreciated dead than never – and in some ways, that may be better. i doubt there will be many people reading James Patterson in 100 years. i could be wrong, but i doubt it. meanwhile, people continue to read Thoreau.
(my sincerest apologies to James Patterson – not meaning to drag your name in the mud – i just honestly think you will never read this – and let’s face it, you shouldn’t be offended since you are far more successful than i.)
so yeah…writers don’t suck in a lot of ways. in a lot of ways, we’re kind of okay. maybe even alright, depending on the person. so long as our ego stays in check, we’re not such a bad lot after all.