For ten years after college I didn’t write much. Or rather, I didn’t write poetry, which for anyone who knows me is a strange thing. I’ve been writing since I was three or five and scribbled ridiculous amounts of tragic/melodramatic verse since the age of eleven, all of which I saved. For a while, though, all I was writing were technical manuals (this made me fall asleep at my desk). After that I was too busy dealing with a serious lack of shut-eye since my kids hated sleep (oh the irony). However, even the most apocalyptic writer’s block eventually fades and by 2007 I’d accumulated hundreds of poems: some good, some bad. Last year, I’d just begun thinking about recycling the copies of bad poems I’d kept (because really, who needs more than one copy of dreck hanging around?) when one of my favorites of the good ones leaped out at me as I was going through the piles: “How to photograph the heart” sounded like the title poem for a collection. I went through the rest of my work, finding a number of poems that encompassed love and relationships. Hmm, I thought as I gathered them up, I should send these to someone. However, before I could even so much as press Compose in my email, I received a request from a good friend who’d been talking about starting a small press. I sent the poems I collected to him pronto and to my very great delight, he loved them. “How to photograph the heart” became the title poem for my first chapbook, published by The Lives You Touch Publications.
Plodding versus Widget Writing: Electing not to Write in Response to Changes in Publishing
© KJ Hannah Greenberg
Honesty reveals that most writers actually plod along. Whereas articles featuring a vista into an author’s ways and means tend to be glamorous in order to benefit the publications presenting the stories, and whereas tweets tend to generously endorse their subjects, the greater portion of storytellers’ hours, even among the most highly successful writers, necessarily are spent pushing on an electronic or at a traditional implement. It’s small consolation to creative sorts that their work can often be performed in the comfort of fuzzy bunny slippers.
For writers, success can be sudden, sharp, or decidedly elusive. Talent is not always the engine that pulls audience share and timing or even connections frequently amount to naught. Nonetheless, it is also almost always true that writers who are unable to demonstrate followings are writers who are unable to climb professionally.
Accordingly, writers must make efforts with their pens or keyboards, must expect nothing to go according to their plans, and when and if they reach some height of accomplishment, must expect that maintaining their readers’ attention is nearly impossible. For those reasons, most scribblers also work as engineers, busboys, English teachers, cab drivers, financial analysts, couriers, chemists, track couches, or as anything else that provides remuneration. Writing, in the best of times, is a glorified avocation.
There exist exceptions to this norm. For instance, if one is willing to sacrifice aesthetics and become a widget writer, one can anticipate regular pay for produced text.