Have you seen that commercial?

Now, I will have to admit before I nosedive straight into this rant that this is kind of unlike me…well, in cyberworld, that is. But I just have to vent a little. Okay, a lot. So have you seen that commercial? The one with the violinist who is no doubt late arriving onstage, and she displays a horrifying look when she sees her doctor in her place playing a violin that sounds like a cat who just stepped on hot coals? The commercial poses the question, “Would you try to do your doctor’s job?” Well, duh! No way! So here’s the question I ask, people. WHY DOES EVERYONE ON THE PLANET THINK THEY CAN WRITE A BOOK? I can’t tell you the number of times folks have asked me what I do, and I tell them I’m a writer. Their next question, “What do you write?” When I tell them I am a novel writer, nine out of ten will say, “Oh, I’m going to write a book one day, maybe after I retire.” I used to be all polite and smile, maybe throw them a “That’s nice.” But not anymore.

Everyone might think they have a book in them, but in no way, shape, or form does that make everyone a writer. And do people really think that writing a book is a simple thing? Just something an author does in their spare time? What a slap in the face to us writers who have spent countless hours crafting, plotting, doing characterizations, rough drafts, revised drafts, final drafts, then shopping our finished product around to simply hope we get a nibble and possibly a book contract after the entire, daunting process. Possibly…

You can bet your butt no doctor has ever heard the words, “Oh, you’re a physician? Well, I’m going to be a doctor when I retire. Go off the medical school and all that. Would be a fun hobby.” Writing books is not a hobby. Do people write for pleasure? Absolutely. But following a dream to be a published author as your CAREER is not fun! Do I enjoy writing? More than you can imagine. Is it what I was born to do? You can bet the farm on it. But is editing and perfecting and querying agents and editors and receiving rejections and losing sleep because I have a bite on something and I can’t help but wonder if they’re liking what they’re reading FUN? No. It is a job, and it’s not an easy one. I am a published writer, and I have worked extremely hard earning the title of “Author”, just like that doctor who gets to put the Dr. in front of her name. If being a successfully published author was easy, everyone would be doing it. So be forewarned! If you ask me my occupation and then tell me you’re going to write a book when you’re old and have nothing better to do, you will be quizzed on YOUR occupation. And the next words out of my mouth will be, “Oh, so you’re an attorney? Well, I’m going to law school when I retire. I think it would be fun and relaxing. What a nice hobby…”

All right, enough ranting and back to the writing. And I promise the quality will reflect that my writing is not a hobby…

Cheers!

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3 Responses to Have you seen that commercial?

  1. Stephanie says:

    Oh, dang Lee Ann, that’s a huge can of worms to open up. When I was in grad school, we had to take classes on teaching composition and the main mantra was “Everyone can write.” There’s even a book on pedagogy by that title by Peter Elbow.

    Maybe we’re elitists or snobs or whatever, but I never subscribed to that. Does everyone have a right to write? Sure. In a diary. Or a blog.

    There’s also a divide between people (academics) who believe that either you’re born with an innate talent for words or anyone can write if they just work hard enough. I ride the fence on that one.

    I started speaking in full sentences at nine months old. I talked like an adult by age two. I always read years above my grade level. My parents thought nothing of it, assuming it was normal, even though I brought home stadardized test scores off the charts in the English sections. I grew up to get two English degrees and I’m a soon-to-be-published author.

    My husband has dyslexia. He HATES writing. He struggled all through school and still doesn’t read very much. Can he be a writer? Sure. If he set his mind to it I’m sure he could do decently. Could/should he ever get published? I hope not! Even his best would probably never come close to what I can do with my eyes closed.

    His talents lie elsewhere in the sciences and engineering. If I tried to be an engineer, I would get people killed. Seriously.

    Everyone has special talents. We are not the same. That’s the beauty of being human.

  2. Right there with you, Sis. And here’s a bit more that’s sure to offend some people: if you did have aspirations to be a doctor or nurse, would you ever go to your doctor and say, “I’ve been giving out medical advice to my family. Would you mind checking them for free and letting me know how well I did?”

    What? You wouldn’t? Then why do all those people who “always wanted to write myself” ask us to read their work and tell them what we think about it along with some pointers?

  3. Chuck Burns says:

    Nice post.. one day I’m gonna…. oh never mind.. :) :)

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