Saturday, September 8, 2012

Goodis, Spurlock, Writing and Writers and How Non-Writers View the Occupation, All Thanks to False Time Travel

So, I'd posted a goofy time-travel picture of me annoying my favorite writer David Goodis on Facebook, and friend and fellow scribe Neal Alan Spurlock made some observations I really enjoyed, and felt worth sharing. He said a lot of things I think very often, and he said them well, so, here's the picture, followed by what he said:

So that's Goodis, huh? I remember his name being on the old Superman stuff I was into (I'm a huge superhero nerd). Never knew what he looked like, though. I know the legend of his prolific writing regimen, of course, and often wished I had the same discipline. I envy the writers from the early 20th...they had it hard, in many ways, but at the same time they had a rather simple life with few distractions. It made sense to them, and everyone around them, that they had a job just like anyone else, and that they were going to spend the same amount of time on it as any other job.

Now we have typewriters that are our own biggest distractions (while I enjoy corresponding with my fellow scribblers, words here are words I'm not writing on either MSS...the new short or the new novel), and the whole world seems to think that writing happens automatically and quickly, which means we can also spend our time being full-time PR people, marketers, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseaum, and we don't REALLY need to work.

About six months ago I was despairing about that, and was considering setting my office up to mimic the setting of a pre-information age working professional author. It just turned out to be too impractical...there is no other place to put my computer and assorted junk, I need it for reference and research, etc. In addition to this, no one seems to think of writing as a "job" anymore...people think it means I'm just screwing around all day, thus it's okay to call me, text me, etc., because it's not like I'm "busy" or "at work" the same as other people. Even trying to suggest that it should be seen like this gets sneers and amusement out of people.

It's a strange world. People know that other people must have jobs in these fields, because where else would all those books, TV shows, and movies come from? But they consider any attempt to actually do those jobs as unreal. You have to be Stephen King before they assume that being a writer is a hobby, something we do for fun. There are editors and publishers out there like this, as well, who keep wanting us to do things "for the love" and get to stand on a moral high-ground about it where we shouldn't really expect or want to get paid for our's not really "work", and thus deserves no respect or expectation of compensation.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Trent.

    I see a typo, though. Mea culpa, readers, this was just a ramble and I had no idea it was going to be put up here:

    "You have to be Stephen King before they assume that being a writer is a hobby, something we do for fun."

    It should read "being a writer as MORE than a hobby, something we do for fun". Unless you're a bestselling household name, essentially, it's all just sort of seen as playing around and wasting time. Not "real work", not a "real job".

  2. I could correct it, but you've done that. I try not to play with other people's words (unless they're paying me). I knew exactly what you meant :)