Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

Writers Writing About Writing

A couple of things about how writing about writing has turned into writing about the writing business. Catherynne M. Valente is sick of talking about ebooks: “But remember how when we were all kids and wanted to be writers and a big part of that was sitting around with other bookish people and talking about literature? Yeah, me too. Nowhere in there was a deep longing to talk about epub vs MOBI until I can’t remember which one makes techno music.”

And Paul Jessup says that he’s “sick of the focus, always the focus, on the business side of things, on the making the money side of things.”

I want to talk to other writers about the art of it all again. Whatever happened to that? Whatever happened to writers discussing crazy, weird stuff? What they put in? What they take out? Why the sky darkens in the first half, what weird experimental technique they used in the second half? What happened to talking about books (new books) we love, that inspire us, hidden books that open our writerly eyes like a hammer?
Everyone I see is now talking about writing as a craft, selling as a business, etc, etc. Whatever happened to the poetry of what we do? The love, the passion, the interesting emotional explosions? Are we so wrapped up in the practicalities of being an OMG REEL WRITUR that we’ve lost sight of what’s under it all? The drive to scream in the heart of the moon? The desire to burn up and set the oceans on fire?

There are two things going on here: a focus on the business of writing, and a focus on Being a Writer. Not on writing a good story, which is a writer’s sole purpose (at least as a writer). Somehow things get turned around: sometimes, the way they’re talked about, stories exist to further a writer’s career. That’s backward.