I have no doubt that writers all dream of hitting a home run bestseller that assures financial security. I know I do. But, as I continue on this writing path I started so many years ago, I see that the writing life may not ever provide a financial basis upon which I can live. The market has changed so much that I’m beginning to see that perhaps no one really knows what the future holds for writers. For me, though, I consider it a privilege to write, regardless of sales or of audience numbers. I also consider it a huge responsibility.
Nowadays, with social networking, I fear that the written word’s power is often ignored. When someone studies the art and craft of writing he or she learns about tools like story structure and plotline development. A poet may learn about alliteration and sonnet construction. But what’s missing is that a writer creates a message that is then shared with others. This sharing often results in the message taking on a new meaning in the mind of the reader. Really, a writer is responsible for that meaning and if a writer is putting out messages that are harmful to his or her life, then perhaps that writer should think twice before his or her next post.
Too often, we see stories about people having to delete previously sent tweets and FB posts. The reason these retractions happen is that in their narcissism, people forget that what they post will propagate and take on a life of its own. Writers spend countless hours working on their craft. Social media poo-poos on this work because anybody in the world is now published with great ease and with no real thought to the structure, order, or meaning to what they post. Because publishing is so easy now, there’s no real work behind most tweets and posts. A lot of the time, there’s such little thought that the negative impact to a message isn’t even considered. It’s all a matter of “look at me, this is me” and the power of writing has become a watered down insulting mess.
I don’t think anyone really knows the future of the writing world. I have no clue if the books I write will ever sell. However, I do know that if people don’t approach their public messages with forethought and responsibility, they will hurt themselves and others. It’s simple really: Think before you post. Once a message enters the ether, the writer is responsible for its life.