Everyone’s a Writer?

Guest post by Sherri Rabinowitz

“Oh? You’re a writer? I am too. I have it all in my head, I just can’t get it down on paper.”

“You’re published? Great, can you help me to get published too?”
 
“My son is a writer, he’s 5 years old.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Does it annoy anyone else? I usually smile politely and give them kindly advice, but it amazes me that everyone thinks they are a writer. Like acting, people seem to think that anyone can do the job. Since I have been both, I can tell you neither job is easy. It is not something just anyone can do.

As writers we work alone, using all our training and knowledge to bring about good prose. It takes talent and discipline. Yet, the public seem to think that anyone can write a story, a book, a movie, or a play. I guess I can’t really blame them with Reality Stars writing best sellers. Some of the Reality Stars do have the ability like Bethenny Frankel, I really enjoyed her books but it annoys me that certain people who do not know how to speak proper English (like Snooki) can have best selling books. What is that about?

Culture is important. It brings knowledge to a civilization and of a civilization. When an archaeologist studies a civilization it is the culture that tells them about who they are as a people. It is the art and writing that makes Egypt, Rome, Greece and China great. The great tribes that became the Hebrews and early Christians would not be revered or understood without their writings. Cultures that pass down their stories through bards, like the Gypsies, are judged on the tales they tell and the art they make. It means something. The beauty of such art shows who they are and what they want to share with everyone and themselves.

It would sadden me if my culture would be judged on reality shows and snarky gossip blogs. I love blogs and have several of my own I am referring to mean spirited gossips that have blogs. They tear people apart for fun and money. I hope our culture would be judged on the great writings, films, plays and TV shows that we do have. Well written and acted performances that are produced and directed with ability and knowledge – like Citizen Kane or plays like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. There is a market for art that is not taken from films and TV shows of long ago or following people being rude and snarky, I just don‘t see anyone taking a chance on it. If this sounds like I’m being a bit snarky myself, I guess I am a bit ticked off. I would like to watch a good scripted show that is a product of my own country. I spend most of my time watching British shows because their culture seems to be able to combine both great art and Reality TV. We haven’t learned this – the mighty dollar seems to be the most important thing to the powers that be and they will dictate what future generations think of us. Is that what everyone wants?
 
I would like to glance at the best seller list without seeing people on it that don’t even read books, let alone write them (Snooki again, I‘m really sad to say.). Maybe it’s just me, but I hope there is a change for the better. And very soon.
 

Image: sxc.hu

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6 Comments on "Everyone’s a Writer?"

  1. As a blogger who hopes to one day become an author, I must first say that I am beyond grateful to have found the Working Writers blog & look forward to the newsletter’s arrival in my email inbox.

    I have to say that I agree with you for the most part on this, Sherri. There is much that I see taking place around us today that I often ponder–sometimes with a sincerely difficult to swallow dose of shame–what future historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, & paleontologists will think of our society thousands of years from now. Seeing things on best seller lists supposedly ‘written’ by those who likely barely even read books is more than a bit disheartening. It’s as though the hard-working ghost-writer who likely actually wrote the book in question has been swallowed up & forgotten due to the celebrity status of the subject of the book. I have a long-time friend who constantly pontificates a motto of his: “If it has the word celebrity in it, it’s not news!” He is a very concerned person when it comes to news, politics, & healthcare due, in part, to his being one of the founders of the Sabrina Black Foundation http://sabrinablackfoundation.org/ (she’s his sister who passed away from cancer). I tend to agree with his statement, as well, because it seems that celebrity ‘news’ too often takes precedent over the subjects we should be much more concerned about in order to make this world a better place. Blending his motto with yours, in my opinion, becomes “Just because you’re a celebrity does not make you a newsworthy ‘writer’.”

    That being said, however, I’d like to pose a question that’s been on my mind for quite some time–a question which this blog post has caused me to revisit. Although for the most part, I’ve found the writing community to be extremely welcoming & encouraging, am I wrong in my assessment that there are times when I sense a strong vibe of a somewhat divisive dichotomy lurking in the often murky waters of the writing community–a sentiment that bloggers are not ‘real’ writers at all? Is a blogger a writer? I’d sure like to think so. Admittedly, the defining lines between the words ‘writer’ & ‘author’ do appear quite blurry at times.

    I’ve personally discovered, through blogging & chatting with authors, that I’d like to one day become an author of books worthy of publishing, but I’m also well aware that I have a lot of learning to do before that happens. Though I wasn’t ‘born with a pen in my hand’ & am only approaching my 7 month anniversary of publicly writing via my blog, it’s been a journey for me so far that is sparking my courage–inspiring me to learn, grow, & evolve. I’ve begun to dream again. So, on a personal level, I’d just like to say that blogging can play an important role in the writing process & in the writing community.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Cari,
    It’s so nice to have you here and thank you for sharing your opinions!

    [Reply]

    sherri Reply:

    Thanks for chance to express my feelings Cherie:)

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    Sherri

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Thanks for expressing them, Sherri! I like to have people share their thoughts and opinions. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    sherri Reply:

    Hi Carl,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. The only bloggers I am talking about are mean ones. The people who love to tear others apart. I love blogging I have several of my own. The only bloggers I am refering to are people Like Perez Hilton who make a living being mean and biting.

    I encourage to write, and blog. Chase your dreams.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Sherri

    [Reply]

  2. Perhaps before denigrating the other unpublished or aspiring writers among us Ms. Rabinowitz should learn to write a post without numerous errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Proofreading is always required, after all. Oh, and ( by the way) Happy Thanksgiving!

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Anthony,
    Thanks for sharing your opinions. (And Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.)

    [Reply]

    sherri Reply:

    I am very sorry you feel I was denigrating other writers. The only writers I referred to were Gossip bloggers. I am very supportive of my fellow writers, I host them on my blog with interviews and I am very helpful to new writers. I am not a mean or cutting person, I was just expressing a frustration.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    [Reply]

  3. “….certain people who do not know how to speak proper English (like Snooki) can have best selling books. What is that about? ”

    This is too funny……..selling books and writting great books are 2 different things. There are lots of great writers out there. They can’t get the bills paid because they’re focused on the art of writing and not the business of writing.

    Grisham, Patterson,etc sell millions because they understand the business, which entails using a formula that works. Ever notice all of the Cop/Lawyer shows on TV? Why so many? It’s a winning formula.

    Snooki may not be a great writer but I’ll bet she’ll never starve like many writers do.

    Publishing companies are in the BUSINESS of selling books. Let’s not forget that. If you Snooki can sell 1 million books and you can’t that’s not the publishing companies concern. The bottom line is the bottom line.

    It’s not called “The New York Times Best Written Books List”, it’s called The New York Times Best Selling Books List”. Emphasis on SELLING not WRITTING.

    ‘Writers” need to learn the business of writing……..like Snooki.

    [Reply]

    sherri Reply:

    This is a sad comment, it means people are truly sheep.

    [Reply]

    Ron Reply:

    Why is it sad? Because you don’t like the truth?

    [Reply]

    sherri Reply:

    No, not at all. I think truth is very important. I just think it’s sad because I don’t want to be part of a flock.

    Ron Reply:

    If you don;t want to be apart of the flock, than don’t go to big publishing factories trying to get published.

    Write great books that sell extremely well. Learn about distribution and marketing.

  4. It’s true. Everybody’s a writer. Now I think I’ll step into Wendy’s and declare that I’m a hamburger and see how many people want to have me for lunch. (I, for one, wouldn’t find a bearded 50-something man sitting on a giant split roll, his nether parts covered with lettuce, very appetizing).

    No one loves themselves and their own unique talents anymore. And it doesn’t stop with “writers” either. I have known “publishers” and “editors” as well who have obviously declared their expertise to impress friends and family.

    We see the results in today’s independent publishing world–and they are a disaster. But the alternative is to bang your head against the wall hoping one of the big NYC publishers will find an interest in your work. They are very interested, by the way, if you can show them either through contacts or profession that you will sell lots of books for their efforts.

    Truth of the matter is that very few people can actually write–even the famous “authors” who have made untoward deals with a certain renowned gentleman of nefarious design.

    [Reply]

  5. Sherri Rabinowitz | September 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm |

    Scathe meic Beorh says

    Hi, I do understand what your refering to and it is very hard to make a living, I know I am a struggling writer as well. My only beef are people who have never written a word other then a grocery list and they say they are a writer too.

    I agree it is really difficult to make a living as a writer.

    Sherri

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  6. Sherri Rabinowitz | September 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm |

    Hi Erwin, It is hard to protect it as a blogger. The only thing I can think of is that the content your refering to should be protected. The easiest and cheapest is to take the original content your using, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. Then do not open it. You can get a copywrite but that is expensive.

    I hope that helps,

    Keep writing,

    Sherri

    [Reply]

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