Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sound Off: Writers are a Breed Apart

One of my fellow Golden Heart finalists pointed something out that I'd never really given much thought to before.  She commented how writers seem to be a different breed than those who are enthusiasts of most other endeavors and explained the rivalry she experienced in one of her other non-writing pursuits.

I realized she was right, based on my own experience.  In the art, music, sports, equestrian activities,  military, business and even education arenas, I've encountered fierce--and sometimes cutting competition--to be the one in that #1 slot.  Although competition does exist among writers, for the most part it's such a difficult, frustrating, lonely and lengthy struggle toward publication, that I think we do tend to band together to offer support, advice and encouragement, rather than practice one-upmanship.

Although close friendships often form between peers in other arenas, it's often in spite of the competition, not because of the common pursuit.

When writing peers final in the big contests, we seem to rally with congratulations and attagirls (or attaboys) instead of sulking in jealous resentment.  There are even entire loops devoted to writers cheering each other on.

So why are those of us who chase the paper dream (or electronic dream) so welcoming and encouraging to our peers? 

I think it's because in our industry, we recognize there's always room at the top for more successful writers, more authors, more books.  Because we are consumers as well as producers of our product, we know there can never be such as thing as too many books or authors.  The next big blockbuster is a victory for us all.

That's my take.  What do you think?


  1. Interesting. I never gave this subject to much thought, but I agree with you.

    There's a twinge of jealousy watching someone sign a 3-book deal (or make millions or whatever), but usually I see a successful writer as advertising. They are getting people in the stores, on the websites, and near my books. Their book can only last so long. 300 pages goes fast, and then the reader will want more.

    That may be the difference.

    In sports your career lasts only as long as you are at your peak performance. Writing is years of blood, sweat, tears, and editing for a few hours of reading pleasure.

    If anything, we're more akin to the theater groups. Weeks of furious rehearsing for two nights of shows, and then everyone moves on. Another person takes the lead, and we do it all over again.

    In theater any production means people are still paying to see your product. The same holds true for writing. Every author creates new readers. Every book lures one new person to our favorite addiction.

    You can't be upset by that.

  2. Excellent points, Liana. The nature of the industry promotes mutual benefits.

    It's that whole "All for One and One for All" mentality, I think.

    This can be a frustrating pursuit, but it does have some wonderful perqs!


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