Everyone Writes: Why this is GREAT and why I do too.
You know, I never once claimed to be a journalist. I have never boasted that I am among the most skilled wordsmiths. I will not tout that grammar and I are close pals but I do like to write. I love words! I enjoy pushing words beyond conventional use, making up new words and trying to build a substantial vocabulary. I like how words look and their negative space and I have a love/hate relationship with how typography is used. So as a young adult who now finds herself writing everyday regardless of intent, quality or quantity, I find the forward trend of self publication to be a wondrous and fantastic thing for the world.
Since I was old enough to drag lead across paper I have done one of two things: draw and write. Often as a young imaginative soul I would make the leap and do both write AND draw, thus springing forward my lifelong love of books and book creation (a love that I still indulge today). Over the past two years I have afforded myself the opportunity to write more seriously for publication, being published in magazines, newsletters, professional development publications and, of course, online.
Deciding upon my intentions, four -five years ago, I began the learning process involved in stringing together ideas for presentation. I began my learning with books. Books about journalism, the ‘rules’ of writing and social and professional standards. In my experience books, and the writings of others, can be an underestimated abundance of knowledge and information. Let’s face it we are not inventing the wheel here people. Why not tap into the experiences of those who came before you? After books came the next logical step: education. Having already completed 4 years of visual arts and illustration I was not looking to make a new career but merely ignite a passion that has been lifelong. I began with my local university and enrolled in creative writing programs, completing two and making some excellent contacts. I went on to take further courses and was happy and inspired by all of my learning. But what was really exciting at the time was the influx of amateur writers seeking to perfect their craft. My learning continues to this day through the methods mentioned as well as online, working with writers of all developmental stages, reading as much by others as possible, and contributing my own thoughts for feedback from online peers.
Of my years on the internet many of them have been spent as part of communities comprised of people who love to write. Sure the subject may have changed (as I have) but so has the community of writers found on the internet. As the internet first popularized I noticed that more and more people where publishing their ideas and thoughts in web page format. From the early irc and web forums to geocities pages and everything in between, all of a sudden people could put their ideas out there anonymously and risk free! At first ideas were exchanged freely, without hesitation, in search of feedback, validation and so on but it didn’t take long before business savvy folk started selling those ideas and the internet exploded. *please be advised I am not an internet historian or even someone with precise records, these are merely my observations as I experienced them at the time. Eventually writers started to put claims to their work immediately (as more people were able to gain access to the work) and ideas and writings were posted in a more intentional way.
What happened to writing, as I perceived it then and now, is not so much the subject matter, the dot com era, or the advent of digital copyrights but rather generational. My thought process is such that ‘kids today’ are so accustomed to digital information at their fingertips that there is no reason one can’t be a huge internet sensation at 17, or an accomplished games journalist at 21. Don’t get me wrong, the age of digital publication has helped the older folk too. Accomplished writers now have a global market in which to compete as well as network. Even as I write this now I am watching a ‘live feed’ from the Tokyo Games Show. LIVE FEED. This means that right now I know what a large number of people are discussing IN TOKYO about the things that are of interest to me! This is amazing! But the real driving force that makes this possible is something I like to call self publication.
I am watching a ‘live feed’ from the Tokyo Games Show. LIVE FEED! This is amazing!
I no longer have to rely upon the huge media corps to go to and report on an event that I cannot physically attend in order to find out details about my interests. I do not have to visit the public library to access old dusty encyclopedias for research and I can conduct an interview with a person of interest who may live half way around the world and be twice my age without equivocation. I also know that with self publication I no longer have to wait for a large publishing house to approve my manuscript but that I can take action and be in control of my creative ideas the entire way. Sure there are pros and cons to self publication; often people speak of quality and oversaturation of the market but I strongly believe that as long as you understand why you enjoy reading what you do, then there is validity to how its creation can bring the world together. Because while to me the news feed from Tokyo Game Show is fascinating to a literary scholar it may just be the grammatical murder that made his or her pet peeve the topic of a final thesis.
I may not have all the answers, statistics or even convincing argument to back the thoughts explored here but that’s because I never claimed to be a journalist. I am a girl who just loves two write and be expressive. I like to write, I like to read and I like to hear the ideas of others and discuss them with others. In today’s world being all of these things is ok because right now self publication brings us together, it makes our world smaller and it advocates the free expression of all people.