|What the Heck Is a Writer Anyway?|
Jane Friedman's post (Distinguishing Between Straight-Up Advice and Paradigm Shift) today helped me figure out how to start getting my thoughts more organized on my blog about this topic. Many writers--and I can be guilty of this myself, though I try not to be--see platform and writing as two separate selves: Often, writing plays Dr. Jekyll to the platform-building Mr. (or Ms.) Hyde.
But I've increasingly come to feel that writers should not slice themselves into pieces (see my 8 jobs of modern writers). Instead, writers should embrace that platform-building goes hand-in-hand with writing, just as freelance writing is not possible without making writing pitches and proposals (or filing taxes after you start raking in the money).
Think More Creatively
Here's the thing: I feel like many writers (and yes, I've been there too) make assumptions about what it means to be a writer. Or they feel like they know what it means. Then, when they hear about the new definitions of being a writer, they want to do one of two things:
- Argue the new definitions. They want to fight against the change that is happening in the publishing and media industry. They'll say things like, "Well, I don't think people really want to read digital books," or, "I want to shop in a real bookstore, not on a website." By the way, I can totally relate with those feelings, but it doesn't change what's happening.
- Quit writing altogether. All the changes are like a wrecking ball to the image of what writers imagined for themselves when they decided to become writers, get published (in book and/or magazine print format), and have a bookshelf full of printed writer validation. This wrecking ball leaves some writers with nothing but a huge void that overwhelms them into quitting (or keeping their writing to themselves), which is unfortunate.
For instance, Alexis Grant recently shared her thoughts on the newest way to make money as a writer. She explains how she's used digital products to earn more revenue as a writer.
Then, there's Carol Tice. She's created an entire freelance writing community that pays her to help them grow as writers and make more money freelancing. She delivers results and content in a way that's unique and effective. Isn't that the epitome of creativity?
What Is a Writer?
I suppose we've all got our own definitions of what a writer is. It's like defining the term "love." Sure, you can find the definition in Webster's, but what it really means is unique to each of us.
That said, I hope more writers begin to expand what it means to be a writer in their own definitions. Not because I want writers to take on more responsibilities or get side-tracked by duties that aren't purely writing. Rather, I want to see more and more writers break free of the shackles of what a writer has traditionally been expected to accomplish and earn.
In the new world of writing, the most creative writers will not only find new ways of telling stories; they'll also create new ways to reap rewards from their creativity--making money that writers today assume is impossible.
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Check out these other Not Bob posts for writers: