Today I was led to a resignation post from a writer.
I won’t link to it. I don’t want to add to the misery.
The post was epic. It went on and on but it kept my interest despite the fact it was white text on a black background (stop doing that, everyone!).
And I figured someone that passionate is worth investigating.
So I went to the NaNoWriMo dump (read between the lines of that appellation) and extracted six samples of this person’s work.
Most of them didn’t hold my interest past page two.
There was just nothing there. Nothing that showed it was written by anyone with a soul. It was just word after word and entirely flaccid.
This person wailed about investing lots and lots of time into promotion and formatting and all of that.
It would have been better spent not publishing anything until someone dispassionate looked at it and said, “You know, this is actually good!”
Because what I saw was not good.
I can’t say anything about story or plot. For all I know, those might actually be worthwhile. But if the damn writing isn’t there, the best idea in the world isn’t going to be seen beneath the mess. (Also: when the writing is there, people don’t give a damn if the plot is entirely unbelievable or even makes no sense!)
But what’s interesting here is that this person never came up with this thought: Could it be my writing just isn’t good enough?
Because it wasn’t.
And I don’t care if you’re looking at a Meyer or Brown or Rowling or anyone else whose work you disdain yet sells by the truckload. The thing is, those things are selling — while yours are not.
No matter what you might think of the soon-to-be-forgotten bestseller, there’s still something there that makes people want to read them. There’s no mass hypnosis involved here. There isn’t some trick going on.
I’ve written before that writers are going to have to suffer an extreme amount of frustration as the world moves to eBooks.
But writers who really are writers, whose work is killer, will be found.
So if your books aren’t gaining traction, if people don’t even bother to post reviews about them, aren’t recommending them to others on Twitter or Facebook or wherever, then the problem is not that of the reader.
The problem is that your writing isn’t good enough.
Get back to work and make it better.
That’s what a real writer would do.
But if you’re not a real writer, go ahead and resign.
It clears the field for those who are.