The Cheapening of the Written Word

Why is it that these words and the words of other excellent writers are downplayed, downgraded, and cheapened? Is it because a lot of people write in this language, in any language, that makes the words of a writer, well, less than what they are worth.

If you peruse any bookstore you will notice books that stand out based on genre or writing style; those on the top 20 list; those that are discounted; and those that are shoved to the back of the store that may be amazing stories, but just didn’t have the publishing support. This is of no fault of the author’s either. The publishing world is a hard place to enter as an unknown. Some writer’s go the self-publishing route, but that is equally as hard, time consuming, and expensive.

Having unfettered time to write and create is a luxury not provided to most writers. Many of us have jobs that drain our energy and creativity. Some of us have families that require our attention. Some of us have lives that also drain us in terms of commitment level and responsibilities. Writing well takes time. Having time to write becomes the albatross. Finding one’s creativity in between the work day and other commitments is the elephant in the room. Sometimes, creatively speaking, the brain is drained and nothing of worth is able to be tapped; thus, the simplest of words escape us.

Let’s not forget that a good writer can spend hours or days trying to choose the appropriate word to exactly describe an emotion, a feeling, or even a circumstance just like a painter pontificates over the right shade of red. Sure, if I wanted to write some drivel with a weak plot and uninteresting characters, writing a novel would be easy. But, alas, I do not.

So, why is the written word not as celebrated and revered as say the art of a painter or visual artist? People will go into an art gallery and spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on an art piece (and rightly so), but for some reason, if you are a writer people expect to get your words for free. I have been asked countless times to edit for free, teach English for free, and to write creatively or otherwise for free.  Do we ask our physician or mechanic to work for free? But maybe, just maybe, we writers do this to ourselves. We often write for free just so that our work gets out there. We want our voices heard and to be transformative. 

Writers don’t expect people to throw a million accolades their way. However, just understanding that the writing process is not stress-free or without its challenges would be helpful. Also note that writing for a living is an arduous task that is seemingly thankless and accolade free.

There are many fabulous published and unpublished authors waiting for you to recognize their work(s). Every author just wants a little bit of recognition as hearing the crickets chirp is a little monotonous.


~Jennifer Ward

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