Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Why Are Authors or Writers Still Sometimes Viewed As Ne'r-Do-Wells?

Authoring books, or writing in general, is as much a business as it is a form of art and an ever-developing craft. Yet, there is an underlying belief that writers are somehow not as critical to the world as say, a doctor, or a scientist, or a teacher. "You're just a writer." "You're just an author." What is that supposed to mean?

I tried last night to reflect on all the ways that writers impact the world. I tried to imagine a world without them. Bleak. There would be no blog posts to read, no articles, and newspapers would disappear. News programs and talk-show hosts would ad-lib everything. There would be no scripts for television shows, plays, skits, or comedy routines. Self-help and how-to books would disappear from shelves, virtual or otherwise, as would fiction and other nonfiction books, cookbooks, and books for children. And without those, there would be no audio books. The Internet would be a void, a deep, dark, black-hole of a thing. We wouldn't have it. There would be no 'writing' to fill it up. Advertisers couldn't advertise. They need writers of one form or another to produce their copy. Bookstores, brick and mortar and virtual, would literally dissolve into the ether. And music? Nope. Song"writers" wouldn't produce. Composers wouldn't compose. Not without the 'writing' part anyway. The world would grow bleaker still. No school books, textbooks, nor scientific papers would exist. You could pretty much free up the entire Library of Congress and just hold social gatherings there, because there would be no materials, other than paintings, to view. History wouldn't be recorded and so there would be no need for national archives. Diarists need not bother either.

Of course, we wouldn't have many of the laws we have, because they wouldn't be written down anywhere. Eventually, even if enacted, they would be forgotten and unenforceable because there would be nothing in writing to prove the law ever existed. And as for the corporate world, there would be no company policies or procedures, no safety regulations, and no employment records. A business couldn't craft a simple statement, write a company report, or bill their clients.

I'm not "just a writer" or "just an author." I am an author, and what I do matters. Sometimes I do that job imperfectly. I try to avoid typographical erors errors, but they happen anyway. I attempt to apply the rules of writing, but sometimes I rebel and just go my own way. I prefer to think less about the business side of writing, than I do the art and craft of the endeavor, but it cannot be ignored all together. So when someone tells me "You're just an author," I can only reply:

"You're right. And what I do matters. Without me and millions of other writers, you'd just be sitting in the middle of your yard contemplating blades of grass." (I'm not against that, by the way. It could be very relaxing as opposed to spending thousands of hours a year researching and writing. But you can only stare at grass for so long.) At the very least, we give you something else to think about.

No comments:

Post a Comment