Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wordist's Block

In my darkest moments of advising budding writers, I used to say, “I have two words for all of you: ‘Plumber,’ and ‘Dentist.’”
     Now, bolstered by hard evidence (see below), I can streamline that suggestion:"Seek out a profession whose title has 'ist' at the end of it — but if you can't be swayed, try calling yourself a “Wordist.”

“Oops, did I mess up big time?! And you think you might want to be a writer too? Well, our chosen profession and vocation just happen to come out low and rock bottom in terms of career choices. At least according to, via the Wall Street Journal. Their poll of the Best and Worst Jobs of 2013, listing the top – and bottom – 200 professions, ranked “Author” as No. 156 and “Newspaper Reporter” as No. 200. Bummer, eh? If I’d turned right instead of left along that critical career path, I could have aspired to the heights of No. 1: “Actuary.” […]

   The lesson is clear. Parents, keep books away from your children at all costs. Except actuarial textbooks. Allow no Word in your house. Discourage all access to literature or fine writing whatsoever. You never know what bad habits they might pick up.
     And adults, any time you feel that deadly, seductive temptation to write words creeping over you, don’t hesitate: Call The heights of actuarydom await you.
     (The Society of Actuaries has confirmed that no actual actuaries were upset in the course of writing this article.)”
— Paul St John Mackintosh, TeleRead
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