Friday 28 December 2018
Some thoughts about writing because of the internet
Men and women seem to be pursuing writing differently online.
I write both fiction and non-fiction. I try to get between one and three novella-length fiction works down on paper in the span of a year. That's 100000 words and I enjoy every part of it.
But I also keep track of non-fiction ideas that enter my head and write non-fiction books. They are easier to clarify and clean up and as a result, I have 5 non-fiction books published and one fiction book published. All the while I have 4 fiction books drafted and one non-fiction work in draft.
As I try to get all these works published I spend a lot of time looking at other writers' careers, reading a lot, and listening to the endless slew of writing-based podcasts and youtube channels online.
This is where the difference showed up.
When I look for help or advice or even opinion on fiction works, online. I find the field predominantly filled with female perspectives. Type in Nanowrimo, the annual celebration of writing a novel in a month, into Youtube, and you will find roughly 8 female videos to every 2 male videos.
Now type in Self-publishing and you find the same disparity of genders reversed as most self-publishing videos find themselves with male perspectives.
One grouping is almost entirely focused on the feel of the narrative. how characters are constructed and perfected. How to craft an enticing plot and setting.
The other groups seem to focus on the material gain of the environment of online publishing. thousands of videos on how to write to market and maximize sales through sales channels and funnels. How to find productive niches and get other people to do the work for you through online services.
There is overlap in both genders and both topics but there are noticeable preferences.
A writer needs both of these perspectives to succeed these days but I couldn't help but notice the pattern and unique nature of the environment as it has presented itself.
All my favorite authors are men. Tolkien, Lewis, R.A.Salvatore, Christopher Paolini, John Green and Brent Weeks, Ryan Holiday and Malcolm Gladwell.
But, arguably the most successful author in the world to date is a woman, J.K. Rowling.
Her books are fantastic, even though I don't enjoy them I can't argue that they are not well written. they are great stories that people enjoy.
So the people who seem to be findable online, as looking for success, are predominantly men but as of right now they are being surpassed by a woman.
Yet the people who are findable online, as looking for the richness of narrative or story, are predominantly women. Yet some of the greatest works of narrative instruction are authored by men. Stephen King's "On Writing" and "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White to name a few.
There are noticeable differences and correlating competencies that outline the writing world today, that doesn't exactly fit into a black and white, male-female framework. They also don't provide the egalitarian perspective on writing that might be assumed these days. It would be hard to find a person so enthralled with their own gender that they only enjoy male writers or to find someone who prefers only writers of the opposite sex.
In my own writing, the perspectives available have been invaluable to me developing my craft. I can't place a higher value on King's book than I could on the numerous videos and podcasts I've listened to and returned to time and time again. Gender plays no discriminatory roll in my pursuit of learning to be a better writer. My reading is similarly as agnostically diverse as possible. I can not put down a John Green book but "I heard the owl call my name." by Margaret Craven remains the only book that has ever made me cry.
Writing is something any conscious person can do. But to do it well, to learn the craft itself means knowing enough of yourself, to find a place and a set of hands to begin typing your work into existence. But also enough of others to see that excellence and advancement in the field is something human, both male and female.
This still leaves us in a world where there are noticeable differences in writers because of, if not related to, one's gender. But not so solid a set boundaries in those differences as to imprison the male or female author to their gender stereotypes.
The genders can stroll across these lines of distinction like our eyes meander on the page. looking for meaning in the one thing that we all hold dear.
The written word.
Or rather dance on a floor made of mosaic glass tiles, each tile different, fearfully and wonderfully made. Fragile in isolation but strong enough for the most boisterous rowdy crowd of the dance. Each one doing the exact same thing.
Being the foundation thought of which we all need.