Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment.J
Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
Last Friday at 5:00 p.m., I was standing at the corner waiting for my bus to arrive. Looking up, my eyes were drawn to the different names of companies that currently have offices in my vicinity. Among them are law firms. Most of these firms house attorneys that practice in the same or similar areas of the law. Through my years in this field, I’ve noticed that attorneys tend to extend a certain level of professional courtesy when dealing with one another. There are rules that are enforced by the court and some that are not. But there are a few attorneys (though it’s not something you hear a lot about) who choose not to offer professional courtesy and decide that it would be easier to “step on a few toes” to get to the top. This left me wondering: In the world of writing, are we colleagues or are we competitors?
I mean when you think about it, it’s impossible to know the actual number of authors in the world. They are separated in so many different ways. Published, unpublished, fiction, non-fiction, romance, fantasy, you name it. Everyday someone new comes onto the scene, hoping to break through and become the next best thing. They compete with authors who have been out there for a long time. Some are famous, some are just waiting for the right opportunity, and some may not be discovered at all. (No negativity impliedJ)
In addition, they compete for the attention of publishers and literary agents hoping that their query will be the key to opening the door to a new career. Agents and publishers receive thousands of queries each year. They sift through manuscripts written by individuals who are also interested in your genre of choice. You may be competing with someone who’s more eloquent than you. He/she may already have a foot hold with an agent they met at a recent writer’s conference. Let’s not even think about the person who has a literary agent reaching out to publishers on their behalf. Basically, whatever you write better be a cut above the rest.
With so many possible roadblocks out there, how can we be colleagues and not competitors? With all the insanity going on, it is quite easy to forget our true purpose. What is this purpose you ask? When you look at the big picture, an author’s purpose is to entertain and/or educate a reader. If you haven’t already figured it out, writers serve a great purpose in this world.
In the past, people who told stories were greatly respected. At a time when there was no such thing as television or radio, a minstrel, bard, griot, spinner of yarns, fabler, or even a troubadour shared or created (with embellishment and color) stories about our past. Generation to generation this skill was passed on (some even believed that this ability was inherited through the blood) until our ancestors began writing their stories on walls, or papyrus, using cuneiform, hieroglyphics or other forms of language to get their message across.
In the present, you have to wonder if the real purpose of writing has been lost. Do we do it because we want to some how benefit the human race? To amuse or teach a young child? To help teenagers open a door to a new universe? To introduce a recluse to the world awaiting them outside their door? Or is it all about financial gain?
Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be able to dedicate my time to writing and not the 9 to 5 that most of us face each day. But would I lose something in the process? As colleagues, not competitors we want to be able to teach one another. To give a helping hand to those of us who are struggling; to point each other in the right direction. The writing community is a big part of what makes us the writers we are or what we hope to become in the future.
There is a lot of money to be made in literature. But I hope that we (that being writers and the powers that be) don’t forget the true purpose of writing. Let’s work towards being colleagues on a higher level and competitors on a lesser level. J
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!