Writing is a solitary undertaking. I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it.
I spend many hours writing in front of a computer, seemingly alone in a room (discounting our dachshund, Winston). But I’m not really alone. I’m in a setting of my own creation with characters I’ve come to love (or not). Together we’re telling our tale. At least that’s how it is for me.
Along the way, I talk to other writers and people close to me about the plotting of the story, testing to see if I or my characters have led us astray. Then I attempt to include even more people in the process by sending my work to agents or editors, hoping they like it enough to take it on or follow through on a proposed project. If they do, another set of people enter the project. You get the idea.
Long-time authors tell of the past when a writer sat and wrote stories, then sent them in to editors who had the time to do a lot of advising and to lovingly usher the book into the eye of the public. It’s a whole different ball game now.
Editors are overloaded with submissions, meetings and number crunching, along with the editing work itself. Agents are overwhelmed with the number of people wanting to break into the industry. The publishing business has changed a lot since those seemingly blissful, lazy days when editors and agents actually responded to submissions. And huge changes are taking place once again with the advent of self-publishing, e-books, and the explosion of apps and other media opportunities for a writer’s work.
Today the writer must be a people person, immersing her/himself into the media frenzy that accompanies publication in the present world. I’ve heard it said that writers, as a group, tend to be on the shy side which is why they’re willing to spend so much time in front of a computer. That may still be the case, but when those people are not writing, they’re forced to market to family, friends, groups and mere acquaintances. Gone is the time when writing was known as a solitary business. It simply isn’t anymore.
How has your writing life changed in the last few years?