…was a comment shared with me recently. It was, I suspected, meant as a double-edged sword. It was a combination of an “innocent” statement (by an older relation) and, I felt, a mild disparagement of what I, and others, do.
I believe most people honestly have little idea how much effort a writer puts into the work. That’s one reason I tend not to be quick to criticize other writers; I know what they go through. Chances are he or she didn’t just toss that novel together in about “15 minutes”…
Yes, due to the advent of the Kindle there is an element of truth in that observation altered slightly: “Everyone can publish a book these days.” And one of the huge problems in our “Kindle world” is that unfortunately there are some who do “toss together” e-books in “15 minutes.” And often it is difficult, in merely a few seconds’ glance while clicking around at, say, the Amazon web site, to be able to spot one of those.
I recall a television critic back in New York, in the mid-1990s, remarking on how television sadly reduces everything to “the same size.” His example: We get a 2 minute news report on a celebrity’s misbehavior and after that a 2 minute report on mass murder in Rwanda or the war in former Yugoslavia. They are ABSOLUTELY NOT of the same depth or wider significance, yet they are both shared with us as viewers in quick succession on that flat box as if they are.
Similarly, the word “novel.” It describes most everything from “70 page” e-books of sometimes copyright-infringing questionable “fan fiction” to “100,000 word” original fictional efforts authors may have spent years researching and writing. Are they the same thing?
That said, with indie publishing courtesy of the likes of the Kindle, there is indeed more out there written than ever before. Writers are certainly writing something for just about every reading taste. If you moan that you can’t find anything out there that you want to read, to be honest you are not really looking.
It is wonderful. We live in the best of times to be readers: our choices are now close to inexhaustible and at our fingertips thanks to e-readers. No longer do we have to dig through a library hoping to find an old book; likely we can download it in seconds – often for a pittance or even for free.
Immersed daily in what I do – and following also the writing efforts of some other indie authors I know – I don’t spend much time thinking about criticism of what I do. “It” tends to come to my mind only when – as in that throwaway statement tossed at me – I find myself thinking about “it.” I try to spend my energies mostly on my writing.
I suppose concentrating on that has enabled me to produce four novels in five years. I also notice (mostly through social media) far too many “writers” who have been claiming FOR YEARS that they are writing a book… and I’m still waiting to see it. I find by now I want to beg them: Please, write the book already!
I want to tell them, stop reviewing other people’s books. Stop talking about what you are reading. Stop discussing what J.K. Rowling or someone else high-profile is writing. Stop procrastinating. In short, stop talking about writing and write!
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🙋🏻♂️Rainy morning.☔️ (Well, there’s a surprise.🇬🇧😆) So I’ll post a good weather pic (from last week).☀️😎 Let’s call this, “The Road Before Us.”🚗 (This actual road is in Bedfordshire. And I was NOT driving!😜) Naturally that phrase can be taken either literally or figuratively – the latter if you’re in a philosophical, contemplative mood, of course.🤔😂 . #goodmorning #morning #travel #roads #countryside #rural #photo #photography #Bedfordshire #writers #writing #books #authors #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #expats #expatlife #humor #humour #scenic #clouds #sky #England
So, yes, more people now than ever are able to write a book and reach an audience; and overall that is a good thing. But “everyone writes books these days?” Hmm. Actually, that’s definitely not the case.💻📚
Have a good day, wherever you are in the world.😊🇬🇧