When being a writer was different
A very long, long time ago when times were different there existed people who called themselves writers. They were a pleasant bunch of daydreamers, incessant travellers and occasionally, scallywags.
Being a writer or even better, an author, meant lazing on desert islands sipping cocktails or being a bar philosopher or perhaps travelling to exotic places on the back of a hefty advance. All with the intention of finding inspiration for a story.
Or better still, having a jolly good time before your publisher caught up with you and started ranting about deadlines.
These glamorised folk didn’t have to worry too much about accuracy on their typewriters. Grammar, spelling, plot errors and such were problems for an editor to worry about. For an author, the main game was simply coming up with a ripping yarn or epic tale. As this part occupied very little of his or her waking hours, they could happily get on with all the other more enjoyable aspects of being a writer, which didn’t involve the dreaded writing bit.
Then all of a sudden, the world changed.
Some idiot invented the ebook and the glamorous world of writing took an immediate nose-dive. No more tropical paradises, no more drunken weeks occupying a bar stool and delivering philosophical lectures to equally drunken acquaintances. In fact, no more publishers screaming about deadlines, and sadly, all those editors who had received zero recognition for centuries decided it was about damn time that they got some credit and they all became ebook authors.
Plot synopsis, character development, syntax, grammar and lexical dexterity may have been winners way back then, but all of a sudden an author needed to know everything there was to know about HTML, jpeg, png, FTP, Unix, blogging, PDF, auto-posting, social networking, spam, mailing lists, keyword tagging, website maintenance and of course, how to use a thing called a computer; seeing as all the typewriters in the world had suddenly been melted down to make outdoor garden furniture.
Yes, those were the days. When writers were writers and the world was beautiful. Way back then in 2008!
11 thoughts on “Being A Writer”
You must have watched Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. Like me….
2008? Surely not. I thought it was back in the early nineties of the previous century. Barman – get me another drink quick! :D
Well Jack, before you down your next glass, maybe you can tell us who is at the bar in the picture with the post. lol
Damn. You spoiled the whole thing for me. You get a ‘Hemingway’ if you hover over the picture!! :D
P.S. Don’t think that the writers have stopped drinking and smoking now, have they? They shouldn’t. Kills the whole philosophical aura around them ;)
Yeah i’m totally agree with that point.
Bit of a trade, I suppose. Though we no longer have to deal with the gatekeepers (or more accurately, the gatekeeper is the reader now) there is very little free time left in a writer’s life. I don’t even have a lot of time to read anymore.
I’ve been reading the same novel now for months. It’s an excellent book but I just don’t have more than five minutes at a time to sit down and enjoy it properly.
Too much time spent on edits, cover art, spreading the word…
That bar in your picture is still doing a decent trade, by the way.
Great article. It’s a brave new world, but I’m not sure if I like it. I see Hemingway there drinking with the best of them. Writers are a strange breed and we’d have it no other way! Cheers!
If you intend to develop prose fiction writing skills, then read the King James Bible, cover to cover, and look up all the words that you cannot understand. This is not to recommend reading any Bible, but very specifically the King James Version. You will acquire an ear for the basic phrases and structures of the English language as they developed at the time when Modern English came into being.
sadly, that’s just how the world is these days and writers aren’t the only ones who got hit. I have a friend who used to be the supervisor of the cosmetics department at a big department store chain. By her own account she made “seriously good money”” to train new employees making female customers feel like queens when they purchased cosmetics products for hundreds of dollars. Needless to say Amazon and other ecommerce store are taking a huge chunk out of that business.
Jobs like cosmetics department supervisor were done away with and “the girls” were replaced by independent contractors. My friend is lucky to make $10.00 per hour as an “associate.”
Throughout all industries corporate structure are trying to automatize processes and turning all of us into “independent contractors.”
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