What’s on the iPod: Laundry Room by The Avett Brothers
The end of a line.
I learned yesterday that my great-uncle, Les Gallagher, the youngest of the Gallagher boys (and my grandmother’s brother), passed from this life at a respectable 95 years old. Ironic that my aunt and I were talking about him at lunch on Friday and planning a trip in the fall to visit him. His passing marks the end of that generation, and nearly the end of that line, as the other seven boys had had children, but only three boys came from them.
Beyond that sad news, what a week it’s been. Where last week I couldn’t get a soul to talk to me about this article topic, this week I have six interviews. I don’t need six interviews, but each one lends something new to the conversation, and it’s a complex topic. I’m three down and three to go. Then there’s the interview for an entirely different topic. Oy. Friday is looking like my next chance to catch my breath.
I was cruising through Twitter feeds yesterday when I came across a link to an article pronouncing “SEO is dead.” I read it. I clicked away from it, thinking “Meh.”
Maybe it’s just me, but any time someone says to me that something is “dead” I think “How were you burned or what haven’t you done?” See, it’s a common defense with writers stuck in the low-paying whirlpool, so to me, the words are empty. They lack any real facts.
So this article went on to add how Google isn’t finding us with SEO and how social media optimization is the new Greatest Thing Ever (my emphasis). Maybe. But why throw all your eggs in one basket, I ask?
Because we’re wired to hunt for the easy way.
It’s why the mortgage industry crashed and burned. Investors ignored the obvious warning signs because this was fast, easy money. They failed to recognize that the losses would be just as fast and easy.
It’s why writers get mired in bogs of low-paying gigs with no control over their careers or their own earnings potential. They chase the easy money. Problem is it’s not much money and it’s never going to be. So they become disenchanted rather quickly.
I’ve seen more pronouncements involving this area or that area of writing being “dead” that I wonder why I wasn’t invited to the wake. Here are some of the pronouncements I’ve heard just this year:
– Magazine writing is dead.
– Business magazine writing is dead.
– Consumer magazine writing is dead.
– Copywriting is dead.
– Proofreading is dead (well, for the most part, it’s severely injured, but still alive).
– Freelancing is dead.
Please. Are you kidding me? If it’s all dead, why are there writers still working and earning very good wages?
Because it’s not true. None of this stuff is dead. The writer’s will to push beyond their limited boundaries is what’s dead. In one case where I pushed back and told the guy how it’s not true and how he could improve his odds, he responded with “Well, I’m just dabbling anyway.”
Then shut the f**k up.
What’s wrong with pronouncements is it does nothing to further anyone’s career, nor does it help anyone who has a legitimate issue or a question. It’s damaging and doesn’t build community. What’s going on instead:
Someone has been rejected. For every pronouncement, I’d bet there are at least four out of ten of them who have been rejected. Instead of bitching about it, they should be looking at how to improve their odds or their writing (or both).
Someone is waiting for help. Not in the case of the dude I just mentioned, but it’s true some people will ask for help or whine indirectly for help. Just ask. Don’t bemoan the state of the industry, because it’s simply the state from your chair. From my chair, things aren’t like that. Ask for help directly.
Someone isn’t serious about writing. Dabblers think they want to write, but they can’t commit to more than a passing interest or attempt. It’s the easy way or nothing at all. When that easy way becomes too depressing, they give up. If you’re dabbling, don’t think your experience is everyone else’s experience. It’s not. It’s your experience alone.
Someone has a major lazy streak. I can’t stand when writers expect their peers to do all the work for them, including become their emotional crutches or their career counselors. Screw that. That’s laziness, and it’s no way to run a business or build a career. Instead, these people need to decide if they want to devote the time needed to build that career and if so, get off their duffs and do it. Otherwise, give it up and just dabble. But please, don’t whine about it.
What pronouncements, writing-related or not, have you heard lately?