(Jokes will follow.) I was going to title this post ‘how many writers is too many writers?’ but somehow my brain slipped sideways to a lightbulb joke. Typical.
Seriously though, what I’ve been reflecting on are all the writers I know who don’t write. Contradictory statement? Well no. They have written in the past. They may have studied writing. They go to writing related conventions etc. They identify as ‘writers’. But they don’t write anymore.
Life gets in the way, as I like to say, and writing struggles to be at the centre (or anywhere on the map) of people’s lives. Obviously for some people it’s a motivation thing. Others just repeatedly get slammed against the wall by fate. Priorities change.
This – going back to my title – is why I think it’s strange when people say that all the writing courses available today (and the famous NaNo) are baaaad. All they do is convince the talentless that they can write, supposedly.
Well maybe they do. I’m not a slush-pile reader who has to wade through the results of the annual November word-fest. But the proportion of writers I know who don’t write indicates to me that this effect probably doesn’t last.
I’d say the stats are running at about 30% drop-out rate. And the writers in my sample can all write. In fact they’re pretty good writers and many had early encouragement from agents, publishers and/or got shorts published in good markets. Then X happened.
Interesting to me is the rest of the writers I know who do keep at it. Some are published. Some are not. Some will probably drop-out as time passes. But they seem to find a way to put writing on the map of their lives and, well, write.
Now to the jokes…
How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to screw the bulb almost all the way in, and one to add a surprising twist at the end.
How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
Depends on just how married the author is to the old lightbulb.
How many cover blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A VAST AND TEEMING HORDE STRETCHING FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!