Writing: Moronic statements the profession provokes

Writing for a living by Tom NashOver 60 posts done now and not one of them is about my chosen craft. Time to change that.

Before I decided that dead-end jobs in the writing industry were preferable to dead-end jobs in further education, I lived in South London and mixed with proper blokey-blokes who if they even bothered to work for a living either fixed, built or knocked shit down. If it was revealed that you worked in an office while you were somewhere like a pub you would automatically be labelled as a ‘poof or sumfink’ by knuckle-dragging fucksticks that pride themselves on their ignorance and lack of education but always know more about any subject than anyone else nearby, or so their super loud voice would lead you to believe.

These are the sort of people that if you let them know that you are a writer, respond in the following ways:

‘Anyone can do that.’
Yes, but by that logic, anyone can do anything. With the right tools and some time I could build a wall or plumb in a toilet. The wall would look shit and probably fall down in a matter of minutes and I wouldn’t want to use the toilet post-installation, but it’s not like you need any shred of talent to do anything in this world, is it? Ex. Act. Ly.

Anyone who went to school can hold a pen and write a sentence (arguably) but ‘writing’ is a craft. Massive difference.

Yes, anyone can take a course in creative or professional writing; that’s exactly what I did. But all the courses in the world won’t help if:

  • you cannot spell for shit (especially in a world where spell checks exist).
  • you have same level grammar as Cold War-era Soviet cliche.
  • you write boring waffle that cannot stay on topic.
  • you cannot understand why punctuation is so important.
  • you don’t know what an adverb is and why a good writer will seek to avoid them.

Which is probably why you do what you do for a living and I get to moan about you on the internet to people who may not even exist.

‘Will I have read anything you’ve done?’
Always from some mouth-breather who hasn’t picked up a book since their school days or is proud of the fact they only ever ‘read’ The Sun. Their skill level on a computer probably reaches to just about managing to access Facebook on their phone. No, of course you haven’t read anything I’ve written- you don’t decide that you want to write for a living, then walk into the BBC the next day and start cranking out scripts for fucking EastEnders.

To be honest though, when someone like that HAS read something I’ve written, it’ll probably be best to just call it a day anyway…

‘I’ve got a great idea for a book, but I’m not telling you because you’ll steal it.’
Of course I will. I’m all about nicking stories from people who consider Braveheart and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to be triumphs of the motion picture industry.

I’ve written something, would you mind having a look?
Sure. I need my boiler fixed- will you do it for free?

Like all things, editing and proof-reading takes time. And what does time cost? Bang on.

Just imagine how hard it is to read a vanity project written by someone with no discernible talent who thinks a Google search for screenwriting advice will provide all the tools required for them to produce a killer Hollywood blockbuster without wishing a swift and painful end to all humankind then…

Can you sum up your novel or screenplay in 25 words? No?

Your idea doesn’t work. It really IS that simple. Consider both our time saved.

‘It’s not a real job.’
Because nothing in the world of today relies on the written word, right? Your favourite films and TV shows aren’t written are they? (Yes, even Made in Chelsea and TOWIE have writers- no matter how depressing that fact is when you think about it). The adverts shown between said films and TV shows? Yep, them too. Every webpage you visit for the latest football write-ups? The clue’s in the name.

Now, I’m sure you’d agree that writing for a living would be a feasible occupation if, for example, there was some kind of global communication network available for sharing information and services that would also make commercial transactions between businesses and people in different countries a possibility, plus make things like porn and the sharing of opinions available to even the most bungling computer novice…


A boy can dream…


2 thoughts on “Writing: Moronic statements the profession provokes

  1. Scribe

    If at all possible, I keep my writing a secret, just so that I don’t have those sorts of conversation. I’ve sometimes been tempted to buy a fishing rod or a set of golf clubs, just to pretend to have a different hobby. Still, think of it this way : how many plumbing jobs make a human being glad to be alive?

  2. Tom Nash

    That’s a good point. It does do that, doesn’t it?

    And thanks for the link in your post. Very kind.

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