I’m envious of songwriters/filmmakers/painters/poets, and almost every other kind of artist.
This isn’t a case of “If I had it to do all over again…” Not anything of the sort.
No, my jealousy comes from how much more digestible almost every medium other than writing is.
Make a movie and want to share it? Ask your friends for two hours. Record a song? Ask them for under five minutes. Write a novel? You’re asking people to give you a week, if they’re committed (and they’d better be, for reading is ALSO the least multitaskable medium).
The result? Fewer friends who’ve experienced that thing by which you most define yourself. That’s fewer ambassadors (and fewer sales). It also means that social networking is far less useful to writers. (Hello Twitter, my old friend.)
It’s harder to get friends (or anyone) to discuss a book… certainly at random.
I can count on on one hand the number of times I’ve been out and just started discussing a new release that others had read as well. Contrast this with movies or songs, which one can even “catch” before seeing their friends just to prepare for the potential conversation. I didn’t even preemptively read books in grad school. Reading is a commitment, even for those of us who love the practice.
I’ve gone too long without saying, but this post has zero to do with movies/songs being easier to write. I have no concept or belief that any art is easier to produce than another… though being a YouTuber has to be easier than being a novelist. It just does.
So what’s a scribbler to do?
Few talk about books, and those that do only talk about their own. While I get that this is pretty much the author version of talking about one’s kids, it’s, in truth, hollow as F-.
Perhaps we assume that the Internet is the new salon. It isn’t. At all.
No patron is paying me to write, and no audience is awaiting my arrival to somehow validate their discussion.
People sharing sentence fragments as a response to other’s inane offerings isn’t even marketing. It certainly isn’t reading.
All of this results in a death spiral where most writing is crap, and the good stuff is even harder to find.
And that’s at least part of the goal, isn’t it?
Churches have been facing/marketing on this for years: When one’s in love, they want to celebrate with others who feel the same.
Where is that experience for writers? Where is that experience even for readers, because I’m not finding it on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook or the ilk.
So this brings us back to the beginning (and without much promise for satisfaction).
Where is the YouTube for writers? (And without it, do we really stand a chance?)