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.
A widget writer, per se, is not necessarily an individual who crafts low brow content that enables SEO-crazed firms to improve their numbers and is not necessarily an individual who crafts promotional content, which poses as information, although a widget writer” could assume either of these guises. Likewise, widget writing is not the sole province of literally hungry essayists or poets who write for the software documentation industry, who explain, in great rhetorical detail, about proper deboarding procedures during times of airplane malfunctions, or who create the small print for bottles of cough syrup.
Widget writing is the expressive force behind the newest generation of fads pertaining to the genesis of prose. Like the inventors of yesterday’s pet rocks and click-clacks, today’s widget writers make their income be conjuring novelty.
While the big publishing houses are still spending oodles of money setting up select names on their author list at “professional studios” or on traditional mass media, such efforts often fail to glean readership. Given that the average attention span of web surfers tends to be measured in seconds, even a mention in the New York Times’ book review section might amount to a small increase in sales and then only if the author is a literary champion.
Alternatively, high-functioning widget writers, who have their work featured on Facebook or on YouTube, tend to garner profits. Some of those persons use pseudonyms to create flashy types of media tie-ins like coloring books or fan fiction sites. Other widget writers encourage their sentiments to be disseminated in relatively original ways such as via federal government reports or through the gates of other large agencies. Some even send actual postcards.
Widget writers succeeds where traditional writers fail because the former appreciates that glory, today, is extremely perishable, while the latter, who hold onto stereotypes about classic attributes of writing and publishing, do not. That is, widget writers work with, rather than against, the spoilage rate of contemporary discourse.
Despite widgeteers’ marketplace achievements, some old-fashioned writers elect to remain off the curve. Such persons continue to act disinterested in the height of any commercial surf and continue to detach themselves from the effects of any commercial undertow. Such folk merely plod toward their literary destiny.
In other words, we traditionalists advance ourselves one family dinner at a time, if that. We hesitate to burden our friends with an overabundance of bland email, but, ironically, sigh or worse when our dear ones remain unaware of our latest publications. Yet, we, who would rather be imprisoned with the most crazed monsters from our fictitious worlds than have to literally face a camera on an international talk show, remain envious of the income celebritized authors pull down.
We creatives who live outside the widget brigade covet solitude and as such slowly build our fickle followings. We’d rather consigned ourselves to a life of unfussy trudging among whistle stops, where words get celebrated traditionally, than let one more search engine dictate our content or than allow one more assistant to cloud our thinking space or to pat on more particles of makeup.
Accordingly, I’ve written a humorous book of essays on the befuddlements indigenous to parenting. Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting. This book has just now been published by a small press. Whether it’s lizards in the laundry or rice cake crumbs left behind on kitchen counters, the reality of raising children is not really “rightness” versus “wrongness,” though moms and dads have to teach their offspring some norms, but is the process of growth that both our kids and ourselves engender. Join my in celebrating the glorious imperfections of being a mom and of choosing not to be a widget writer. Join me in promoting writing that is about content and about the goodness of life and that is disinterested in the shiny things of the media.
Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting can be ordered on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Oblivious-Obvious-Wishfully-Mindful-Parenting/dp/9655440036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272980294&sr=1-1.
More information about this book and about KJ Hannah Greenberg’s publications can be found at http://www.kjhannahgreenberg.net/.