Froma Bird's Eye View

Commentary by Author Raven West

Why Write?

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember and since the BIG 6-0 is less than a year away, I can’t remember what I ate for lunch let alone when I started putting my thoughts on paper and releasing them on an unsuspecting and, judging by the Amazon rankings, uncaring world.

While I can’t remember exactly when I began writing, I can certainly recall when I stopped. Just as many of you can recall where you were when a major catastrophic event occurred; President Kennedy’s Assassination in Dallas, the space shuttle Challenger exploding on take-off, the twin towers collapsing on 9/11, I can recall the exact moment when my Muse packed her bags and took off for points unknown.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

The dawn of the iPad, the birth of electronic publishing (Ebooks), and the beginning of the end to what I had, up until that date, considered to be a unique and special career. I was a writer. I was a published author. My books were stocked on shelves in bookstores from New York to California. I was invited to speak at writer’s conferences. Fans lined up with copies of my book at signing and book fairs. I was special. I was good. People read what I wrote and agreed. Being a writer was something to be proud. Most important, people would pay me to read what I wrote. Life was good.

Until Wednesday, January 27, 2010. Ebooks changed everything.

Now, anyone with a computer and a little knowledge can be a “published” author. You don’t even need money, not one dime. That joy I once experienced when my book appeared on Amazon is now shared by millions who never took even one writing class.

When everyone can be a “published” author, EVERYONE and I do mean EVERYONE will be. With the invention of the Ebook and all the Ebook readers, being a “published” author is the easiest goal in the world. It’s certainly easier than exercising to lose 20 pounds. You don’t even have to get off your chair to succeed!

With thousands of bloggers and millions of tweeters who are being followed by still more millions, going viral on YouTube, getting “liked” by friends they will never see much less want to hang out with, my Muse simply had enough.

“What is the point?”, she asked, just before slamming the door. “You spend so much time agonizing over that one perfect sentence and here’s some jerk who coughs up a bunch of common a four-letter words and hits the best seller list. You just don’t get it. I’m outta here.”

And, she’s right. I don’t get it. I don’t get the popularity, or the rationality of zombies or the romantic appeal of  blood sucking vampires. (Apparently they don’t need a good blood flow to get an erection. They take some kind of erectile vampire juice. If that’s true, I’d like to find some  for my husband. Viagra is so expensive!) If this is what the reading public wants, why waste my time?

And yet.

I have to admit even writing this for the blog-hop has stirred up a bit of excitement I thought long dead. (Viagra or vampire love juice notwithstanding!) And I do enjoy a good hop. Maybe, just maybe, it will be enough to jump-start my writing once again.

Or at the very least, entice my Muse to return!

muse

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6 Comments

  1. Hope your muse makes a comeback. While it’s harder to get good writing noticed in the melee of trash, if good writers don’t publish, all we’ll have left is trash. Glad I stopped by from the blog hop.

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  2. Even in the traditional world the best sellers are often… erm… well I’m often not sure WHY (Fifty Shades?). It’s the same in everything, something catches on and leaves people scratching their heads, but I think writers write primarily for themselves and for everyone else second. Even so, we all need to take a break sometimes and input for awhile so that we can output, so maybe your muse just took a vacation to gather ideas. 🙂

    Thanks for joining the blog hop!

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  3. dm yates

    I’ve never quite got zombies. Nice post, very interesting.

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  4. Thanks Raven for a good, snarky industry take-down!

    While I’m very much a neophyte, I can still see how an earnest craftsperson with integrity can get overwhelmed by the quandary of a bubble: Will the big players seize an unruly market and lock turn it into their walled-garden, or will hordes of badly-edited, poorly-formatted genre fiction leave self-publishing with all the cachet and credibility of Amway distributors?

    Now imagine you’re a complete nobody with a day job, working and re-working your manuscript for over half-a-decade. You’re just barely thinking about putting the proposal together. You’re not even close to a trained writer or editor, but you take pride in your work; so you’re constantly picking and sorting and re-writing and hesitating, and all-the-while you’re agonizing, this self-publishing boom makes other neophytes independent writers, or independently wealthy, editing optional.

    You start getting nervous and finally take your book to an editor to give it a decent Chicago Style beating. You get it back and read through the manuscript: fewer commas and misspelled words, good advice in the comments, but you still think that it needs more . . . stuff. Now you feel compelled to revise and re-edit *again*, while wondering if you’ll get to the market sometime before the proverbial shoe-shine boy.

    Will our naive neophyte find a growing audience? Heck, will they even be able to recover cost?

    Stay tuned, folks!

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    • Correction: “Will the big players seize an unruly market and turn it into their walled-garden, or will hordes of badly-edited, poorly-formatted genre fiction leave self-publishing with all the cachet and credibility of Amway distributors?”

      I’m thinking seriously about Amway. 😀

      Like

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  1. The I <3 Books Blog Hop – Presented by The Ink Slingers League « Amaranthine Night

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