Ya know, when I tell somebody I’m a writer, I get responses ranging all over the damn place. Ask somebody in marketing and I get “Everything needs words! You’re in a good field!”
Tell somebody who works far outside the field and I’m asked “You ever watch Californication?”
Told a few people I write fiction and get “Oh … isn’t fiction dead?”
I’ve been told to stay away from the corpse of fiction so many times over I feel like I’m practicing voodoo by writing it. Been told to work on scripts, not narrative, because nobody cares about the work anymore unless it translates to another medium. Essentially, I’ve been told not to bother writing in the dead end field of a dead practice: fiction.
I know George R.R. Martin isn’t doing so well, but damn.
I’m not sure where the infusion of opinion comes in when talking about art, but it sure ain’t there when any other profession is mentioned.
“Oh, you’re a teacher? You know you don’t really teach, right? Common Core and all that. There’s the internet too, it’s teaching people better than you can.”
I’d never. Because it’s not true.
Because many Americans are English readers, the limited work they’ve read and the TV they’ve watched has made them a voice of truth in the industry. Truth is, demand for writers is at an all-time high, but pay is at an all-time low. Hearing people purge their negativity kind of, to me, explains why the pay stagnates. Writing is easy, ya know? Anybody can do that! Haven’t you heard? Throw 100 monkeys in front of 100 typewriters and they’ll eventually write every Shakespeare play!
Yup. I’ve heard.
Part of my writing is just to wave my middle finger to people who’ve told me to prepare for a “poor life”. Who’ve told me that fiction, written work is dead. Maybe true, right now might be the most I’ll ever make writing (part-time $$$) but fuck off, I’m happy. I don’t write to make some huge statement about the world, I write to have fun. I get paid (sometimes) to have fun.
Maybe you should try writing a play.
There they are, your words. Now my thoughts; changing my words.
I’m lucky enough to have orbited around other writers and it’s always the same. Ahh, whatever. I can’t complain, and when I do, it’s through words. Sometimes through fiction. It ain’t dead in me or any other writer or reader I know. It ain’t dead in Breaking Bad, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and the TONS of authors who’ve made a killing off a great story. If you can do it (and practically anybody with a clever thought in their head can), it’s an easy way to get exposure, to see where you land in the community; to be part of a community. Or you could just say it’s dead, never try it, and nay say anybody who does. Up to you.
For real though, maybe I should try writing a play …