The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

If You’re A Good Writer Nothing Should Be Beneath You

Posted by BigWords on August 23, 2009

This is probably gonna enrage a fair few folks, but it is something I have been meaning to bring up but never quite got around to. It cuts straight to the heart of what people consider to be “worthwhile” writing, and I guess it is something that most people never even think twice about. So, the big idea, and the one which will either be accepted or denounced by the masses:

Everything is equally important.

There, I’ve said it. Or, rather, I’ve typed it. I consider everything in the NY Times top 10, comic books, pulp magazines, your ‘Great American Novel’ (or whatever you may be writing), the words on the back of a cereal box, and the stuff on the back of an action figure blister pack equal. All writing is comparable and of worth. Yup, even the stuff on the back of a cereal box. I’m laying this idea out there because of a minority of writers who would look down on writing such commercial material.

It’s probably not a good idea to make this view public, but it is important for people to realize that any words carry weight. Hell, more people will be reading the back of the cereal box than they will your book (fact), so get over yourselves and accept any work that comes your way. Seriously, I’ve heard enough bullshit about how “I could never write something that was below me.” Really? And your magnum opus is different from commercial work how exactly?

This idea crept up on me while I was considering the fate of most manuscripts, and it dawned on me that I read much more instruction manuals, information leaflets and those slips that come in boxes of medicine, than I do fiction. Those are probably among the most successful writing in the world because nearly everyone reads them. Think about the times you have looked at the instruction manual to discern some arcane function of your laptop or freeview box.

And yet those are not considered literature… Riiight. So I guess the stuff written on the back of chocolates isn’t literature either? Newsflash for the world: More people read that than will ever read your book, simply because of the number of people who purchase confectionery. Who said math was never going to come in handy?

If you’re a good writer NOTHING should be beneath you.

I’m in a combative mood, so feel free to tell me why you think you should be elevated above copywriters, and why you’re so fucking special… Go on, I’m waiting…

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