Is Writing a Blood Sport?
May 5, 2013
Like many writers I came to the craft with a handful of preconceived notions.
The first of these was that an author was a person who had something nagging at him, an idea he felt a need to express.
On the heels of this notion was my belief that authors would share a camaraderie born of their common plight, the fight to give life to something that had them in its grip.
For me the world of writing seemed no different than the world at large, a dog eat dog place where most people are preoccupied with their own spheres, where they work to get by, help their neighbors in their times of need, grieve together, laugh, cry and go about their business.
We are all the same after all.
I soon learned I was right in a backhand sort of way.
I discovered that without my knowing it the old ways for writers had passed away, or at least were in their death throes.
Democracy had raised its head. Digital publishing had become the great equalizer, the portal to a nirvana of self-expression.
Well, maybe not nirvana.
Maybe survival of the fittest, the law of the jungle.
Certainly not, I thought. Certainly our common roots in the human condition would produce a culture of brotherhood and sisterhood among writers.
Not so much.
I learned that writers are people, afflicted with foibles and frustrations, cemented in their insecurity, hopeful and cynical.
Some of them behave well, others don’t.
My journey among the Indie ranks has re-energized me, restored some of the idealism of my early days. Almost to a fault, Indie writers emit the best of the human spirit. They go out of their way to help other authors, share information, offer advice. They sit quietly while someone vents his spleen and embrace him when he is over it.
Indie authors are not a judgmental lot. Everyone is welcome at the table if she is willing to pull her weight.
Snobs need not apply.
I asked in the title of the blog if writing is a blood sport. There are a few who view it as such. These are the slime bags who see their role as gaining an advantage over their peers in the trade. They will stoop low to slam a book with a sock puppet review, throw rocks at people they consider “lesser” writers. Among that group we also find predators who seek to take advantage of writers.
That such people exist should come as news to no one.
That Indie writers refuse to play by those dog eat dog rules is the best thing they have going for them.