Being a writer has its frustrations. As Margaret Atwood noted some weeks ago, we live on cheese sandwiches, i.e., not a whole lot of cash. Besides writing or wanting to find more time to write, we want to know how to help our field, literature. How can we promote other unknown writers? How can we buy all the books we want to read with so little cash? How can we find time to go to the library if we have to spend so much time at work ( doing something other than our own writing because we haven’t made that big sale yet).
Some of us are teachers, so we can talk about writers who should be read in our classes, at least a little. By the same token, there are days when we will go home from the classroom, bury our heads under our pillows, and sob. We know from class discussions, summaries and quizzes that not only do a large number of students not want to read, often when that same group do, it is too fast and without retention.
I tell myself it has always been this way, and that we are only seeing a growing ratio exponentially reflective of population growth. A textbook publisher asserts that one of its writers claims a literary revolution is going on, presently, due to the love of text messaging by the young. Not sure if I really would call this a literary revolution.
On the other hand, a student once got involved with my son after taking my class. I could have fallen down and chipped my teeth on the cement pavement we were walking on when she blithely commented that she had never read a whole book.
And she passed my class?
To be fair, the class she took had assigned readings from one particular book of classic writings. No one had to read all of it. She is a very sweet young lady. As are the males in my classes past who have gone trans-gender.
The frustration of helping others in this field spills out into blogging and other written encouragement. The first duty of every writer, once a book is ready, is to get it out there, with or without a publisher, printed by a company like Diggypod or uploaded onto Kindle. (Sometimes a writer may not want a publisher because the percentage of royalties is so small. That is true of story collections, for instance.)
After that, we have to sit or stand wherever we can in public and promote our books. We have to read the works of our friends or unknowns who have talent, and talk about them. We have to be mutually supportive, or nothing will ever be accomplished.
End of rant.