Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Rant

People do it on the couch. They do it on the beach. They do it on airplanes and trains...

It's a fact. People love to read. They do. They love to curl up on the couch under a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea. They like to lay out with the sun blistering on their backs while they turn page after page. People love to read so much that there are whole genres titled simply by the places people like to read: "a good beach book" or a "rainy day book"... People create entire clubs around the books they read to discuss the words and lines they like the most!

So I ask you. If people love to read so much, why don't they treat those of us in the midst of providing them such pleasure with a bit of respect? Why do we have to prove ourselves? Why is it not a worthwhile endeavor in the world's eyes until we are published and making money for some big firm?

Don't people realize that we writers AGONIZE over sentence structure and plot lines...we AGONIZE over which word choice will give you, the reader, the maximum emotion or understanding... And what do we get for this exhausting and time consuming AGONY? Nada. We get our toil and work called a "hobby" or "long-shot".

Well, if every would be writer gave up so easily and didn't follow their passion and aim for that "long shot" success, then we'd all be missing out on the the great heirlooms of literature like Gone With The Wind and Of Mice and Men...we'd have missed out on the sleeper successes of The Kite Runner and Memoirs of a Geisha...

So for every reader out there who looks at the aspiring writer and wonders why they are wasting their time or calls their life's work a "hobby", next time just think where you might be if all the would be writers in the world instead went out and became engineers and pediatricians.


  1. Great post and so true. The average person doesn't realize how much time and effort it takes to massage words into a great piece.
    Thanks for stopping by. Wish you luck with the agent/editor phase. Come back and visit.

  2. Gosh, Johanna, We write so similarly that we could almost ghost our blogs for each other. Your postings are so like mine in content! I can hardly comment on today's post because I'm sure I wrote this a few weeks back. That feeling of being almost out of body with friends or in a crowd. Of course, strangers just think I'm plain boring, or anti-social.

    I'm so pleased you found me.

  3. People can be very passionate about their hobbies though. I don't know if I would take that necessarily as pejorative. Do painters get upset if people refer to it as a hobby?

    I think if we expect respect for the sheer act of writing, we are going to live in constant frustration. Lots of people have creative hobbies of one sort or another, and they don't get tons of respect for it either. Painters, photographers, musicians, they all go through it.

    Don't write for respect. Write because you want to. And accept that for the vast majority of people, it isn't a serious activity until you've attained publication. That's just the way the world works, and there's no point in getting worked up about it, any more than we curse gravity.

    I myself rarely discuss my writing with non-writers. The rare times I have, I don't expect much interest. Fortunately, most of my family is encouraging, although not to the point of wanting to read it. LOL. But I don't expect them to care really. As long as they don't sneer at me, I'm good.

    Do make a point of hanging out with writers, online, in real life, or both. That will help ease the frustration.

  4. True. We have no choice but to accept how the world works.

    Still it is disheartening to have your interest belittled when you approach your writing like a career (albeit one being unpaid at the moment - not unsimilar to motherhood, but I digress).

    For now, I'll take your advice and turn the word "hobby" into a positive in my mind! :)

  5. LOL. That must have been what prepared me: motherhood!

    I guess I never expected anybody to be excited about my writing just because it was mine. Except my mother, of course, who is a wonderful cheerleader, but is way too positive to offer a helpful critique. ;o)

    I agree that being belittled is no fun, which is perhaps why I don't discuss my writing much with my "general" friends and family. Besides, I wouldn't know what to say most of the time. I don't expect them to sympathize with writer's block or plot tangles. How could they?

    I've got a friend who writes purely for personal entertainment. She has no desire to be published, she just loves to make up stories. I think she's taught me something about writing for the joy of it, not that I've mastered the lesson...