Thursday, May 30, 2013

Live first; write later...

From: Etsy

"It's curious. As every writer in America who's ever had to do other things to earn a living knows (that would be almost every writer in America), this lava flow of writing instruction has erupted inversely to the number of book, magazine, newspaper, and online publishers who will actually pay writers a decent wage for their words…Why are there so many student writers at a time when the death of literature has become accepted wisdom? I'd argue it's a paradox that, like many others, can be explained by the Internet.
     There have long been three kinds of writers: writers who write for readers (novelists, poets, memoirists, essayists, journalists, etc.); writers who write for other writers (students); and writers who write for themselves (diarists, shipwreck survivors). The digital age has screwed with the dynamics of that trilogy by turning writing from a solitary, exclusive, private act into a collaborative, inclusive, public one. Anyone with a WordPress account can write for readers, and the mushrooming of the number and type of writing programs has been a field crop for that revolution. If you're going to be a writer, you might as well know something about how to do it, right?
     This all crystallized for me when I saw the reaction to an essay I wrote for last month. In it, I used the case of a student writer placing an unexceptionally written but promising piece in The New Yorker online to exemplify the movement of publishers and readers privileging 'story' over the craft of writing. That cultural shift has felt like a door blown open to people bursting with tales to tell, and a freshly dug grave for writers who tear at their flesh trying to sculpt perfect sentences (to invoke Truman Capote) while the digital world zips by."
— Jon Reiner, The Atlantic
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