Lately it seems that a lot of “indie” writers have found the time to accuse one another of filling the internet with badly written, unedited crap. There are huge numbers of bloggers (like me!) holding forth on the topic and endless forums in which opinions are fired off like artillery barrages. People are trashing each other right and left. You can tell how heated the discussions are by the number of typos made by the flying fingers of the indignant.
I can say one thing — reading these chains of heated opinions is addictive. I’ve spent (wasted?) several hours today doing that. Just think of all the original, creative writing everyone involved in these discussions could have done instead. But would anyone have read that writing? Hmm.
It’s a no-win argument, really, saying that certain people just shouldn’t write — or publish — because their writing is bad, because they haven’t had it “professionally” edited, because they haven’t “honed” their craft, etc. Of course anyone who wants to can write and publish, and no one has to read their work unless they want to. As for filling up the internet, I wouldn’t worry — text takes up far less space than all those cute puppy videos.
I do have a couple of pet theories about the indie writer scene. One of them is that wannabe writers are an enormous and growing market — for editing services, cover design services, book doctoring and marketing and conferences. As boomers retire and discover a book inside of them that simply must be delivered to the world, there will be more and more entrepreneurs eager to help them — for a fee. And that’s a Good Thing, isn’t it? But to create and maintain the market, writers have to be convinced that their writing cannot possibly be good enough without the professional touch.
And why do so many people want to be writers? Simple — they think it’s a quick and easy route to some kind of celebrity. Most of us have neither the looks nor the ability to be a movie actor or an athlete (and for those of us who are boomers, or even “zoomers,” it’s too late anyway), but hey! we can sit in front of our computers and forge our life experiences, humorous thoughts and emotional ups and downs into prose. A few drafts later, we upload and next thing you know someone from the local media is asking us where we get our ideas and telling us how interesting it is that we turned our tropical cruises into a murder mystery.
Has this happened to me? No. I’m just using my imagination, so it doesn’t become atrophied. Because ever since I began publishing (as opposed to writing) the books of my Herbert West Trilogy, I haven’t actually written much of anything. I hope that will change this fall, but if I allow myself to get drawn into the morass of writing about writing, it probably never will.