I haven't been part of the writing community for a long time. There was a time that I attended writing conferences and workshops regularly, but then I got divorced and had to concentrate on working, going to school full time and paying bills. Lately, I've been missing the interaction with other writers, so I attended the League of Utah Writers Roundup in Park City.

Last night, I sat next to a woman who won a couple of awards for her writing. Almost everyone in the room, and especially those at her table, clapped for her. She mentioned how nice it was to be around fellow writers who understood and appreciated what it meant to be recognized for your accomplishments.

Creative writing is generally a solitary obsession. We sit in front of our computers and pound out genius. We read all the time, watch TV shows and movies for dialogue and plot tips, talk to ourselves, drink too much coffee, stay up too late, and waste money going to conferences. Generally, when you tell people you're a writer, the first thing they ask is what you've published and when you tell them that you haven't published anything, the conversation ends abruptly with an "oh." I don't have a terminal disease, I just haven't published anything. Unfortunately, this happens at writing conferences as well, where everyone should understand your situation. Last night the introductions followed this pattern:

"Hi, what's your name?" Looks at name tag. "Cynthia? That's pretty!"
"Thank you. And you're...Elaine?"
"Yes. I've been a member for five years. I've never seen you before. Where are you from?"
"Ogden, you?"
"Salt Lake City. What's your genre?"
"Adult sci-fi. Yours?"
"Mystery. What have you published?"
"I'm not published."

I haven't published anything. There are a host of reasons why I haven't and "I'm not a good enough writer" is not in the list. It takes more than being "good" or even "great" to get published. People tell me to self-publish, but most of the people who pushed it at the conference had hired a whole team of people to edit their books, design them, and market them. They spend the bulk of their time marketing their book, and they're generally making sales because they legacy published first and got their names out there. I currently have 14 followers on Twitter, 20 followers of this blog, and 80 likes on facebook. This means that with my current marketing I could sell 30 copies of my awesome book if I self-publish and hope some other people accidentally purchase it while they're drunk and looking for something else.

Conclusion: My life as a writer would be much easier if I didn't feel the need to publish--if I could just write what I want and be happy with that, but as the link below proves, writers are crazy. (Warning swearing in URL and all over the Website. Don't look below if you're anti-badword! Don't look!) Below is an excerpt from the Creativity is Seen as a Commodity of the Lazy and Insane section, regarding what happens when you tell people you're a writer:

"You get a mixture of, Oh, he’s one of those, or, Look, another hipster-slacker-socialist-asshole stealing all our precious unemployment, or, He doesn’t look like he’s starving so he must have a trust fund keeping him alive, or, Ugh, that’s not a real job. Swamp logger, that’s a real job. Writer’s just something you say when you like to smoke drugs all day."

For those who would like to read more because its funny and foul, click the link below.


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