We writers do shed our lifeblood on the page, it’s very true. We suffer over every word, we think we’re inadequate, we don’t like others to see our work until it’s perfect and once in a while we sell a piece that we wish we could rewrite and that plagues us more than it really should. All of this is true.
I’ve been browsing around in a bunch of online writers’ groups that have no membership criteria and I’ve found something else to be true: There is a boatload of bad writing out there.
More than one boatload, actually.
A world of horrific writing.
Writing that burned my eyes so badly when I began to read it I was certain I’d be struck blind if I read more.
Writing that should have never seen the light of day.
After reading some of this writing on a rainy day not too long ago, I came to these conclusions:
- The fact that a book is published is no guarantee of it being worthy of publishing. Thank you, self-publishing, for lowering the common denominator so far that it’s practically underground. But it’s not; if it were, I wouldn’t have found it. But some of those books should be buried deeply. Immediately. I’d be glad to dig the first shovelful of dirt.
- Some parts of the internet have become cesspools of bad writing. Those places should be quarantined so they don’t contaminate the rest of the Internet.
- There are people who don’t know enough about writing to recognize how bad theirs is. Or they’d never let the public see it. Who SHOULD see it, though, are writing coaches and editors.
There is also some delightful writing. I feel sorry for those excellent writers because today, there’s no differentiation between real writers and those who simply can not write their way out of a paper bag.
p>Before you fledgling writers who are studying your craft in workshops and reading books and taking courses think I’m talking about you, let me make it clear: I am not. All credit to you who are developing the skill. I am talking about people who spew words on a page without any interest in learning the craft. Who self-publish without guidance from an editor. If you read what I read the other day, well, you’d be digging the hole along with me.
There was a day when being a writer meant something. It’s finally dawning on me that it doesn’t mean what it once did.
Do you agree? And why or why not? I’d love to know.