October 7, 2012

Day Nineteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the rant edition

Posted in challenges, publishing, thoughts, writing tagged , at 9:53 am by z. l. sasnett

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. – Jules Renard

Interesting quote today. I certainly wish that were the case these days but it’s not. For as long as I can remember, writing carried with it the same, if not heavier, weight that if you’re doing it, you must automatically want to be doing it for money. If you’re not doing it for the money, clearly you’re deficient in some way. Why not take up an acceptable not-paid hobby like golf or tennis or stamp-collecting or crocheting?

I’ve never understood this mentality. It was especially prevalent during the fanfiction phase I was in. ‘You are such a good writer. You should write original fiction and sell it. You’re wasting your time writing fanfiction.’ That is pretty much what many fanfiction (and original fiction) writers are told when it’s made clear they write because they love it and have no desire to make money doing something they love.

I wonder if tennis players, or golf players, or any sports enthusiast who plays at a hobby level with no designs to become the next Venus Williams or Jack Nicklaus get the same level of grief. ‘Wow, you’re good. You should play professionally!’

You know, maybe they don’t want to. Maybe they’re playing because they love it. Somehow, it’s okay when it’s sports or any handcrafter.

Certainly, I’ve never been told ‘you’re a great crochter. You should try to sell some of your stuff.’ Hell, no matter how good I am, I can’t give my stuff away. There’s a stigma that seems to follow handcraft hobbies that it’s all crap, even though I’ve seen some stunning work put out. If someone tries to sell it, people are appalled at the prices the crafter charges to at least break even on supplies and maybe get some for their time investment, because they have ‘an auntie who does it all the time and sells it for considerably less (or gives it away) ZOMG!’

The urge to bite them is strong. *huff*

Writers? For reasons that are unfathomable to me, seem to get the side-eye when they say ‘nah, I just love to write and I’m not interested in getting published’. I wonder if it has to do with a tangible product in the end. Crafters have a tangible product at the end. They have something you can hold, display, use. Sports enthusiasts do as well. They have their gear, the shape their body is in, time spent being social with friends and family while engaging in their sport of choice. Stamp collectors have their vast collections of stamps to show off.

A writer has electronic words on an electronic page, all created in mostly isolation. When they have a physical book that can be put in physical hands, somehow it becomes more ‘real’ then. Prior to that? It’s a hobby people can’t seem to wrap their head around.

I have to wonder, however, if that isn’t changing now in many respects. As young people are growing up with automatic exposure to the internet, where the electronic exchange of information, goods and services are more commonplace for them, the value of the electronic version of something, a book, a website, a blog, a video has more tangible results for them.

Perceived value of those bodies of work are another rant¬†altogether, so I’ll leave it there and move on to Day Nineteen.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Thoroughly uninspired question and equally uninspired answer, depending on what is meant by minor.

Minor as in under 18? Don’t have any at this time. That will mostly likely change in the future.

If minor is meant as a minor character?

Well, what happened to him was he ended up being the MC in my epic fantasy. The epic fantasy started out being about a young noble getting caught up in a civil war. One of the minor characters, a mage, really stood out when I was writing him and I discovered that I was telling the wrong story. Or at least from the wrong POV. I scrubbed and started out with him and the story is coming along much more smoothly now.

So mainly it came down to the fact that the voice of this previously-minor character was enough to impress me to tell his story instead.

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