I live in Maryland, and the motto of the University of Maryland is “fear the turtle.” It’s the most clever thing you can do when your mascot is a Terrapin (the state turtle). Don’t sleep on the turtle, peeps; they’re vicious.
I feel like we need some type of saying like that for writers, too.
“Respect the writer.” Simple and too the point, like fear the turtle. Because, I swear, these days, writers get no respect.
Why would I say this? Because I’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to promote my book when it’s published, and I keep stumbling across blog posts, videos and ebooks claiming that writing a book is a great way to make money. The key, they say is to just write something ‘high quality–nothing junky — quickly’ and publish it. Doesn’t matter if it’s nonfiction or fiction, just give people good stuff. One guy actually said, write something like Stephen King or John Grisham. Really? Just like that?
I understand that get rich quick scheme peddlers say these things to line their own pockets by convincing the unsuspecting to buy some product they’re selling. But, why is it that they can say this and have people, go, ‘Oh yeah. That makes sense. I’ll just go write a book. Can’t be that hard’? Come on! Have a little respect for the writer. People like John Grisham and Stephen King don’t just throw a ‘high quality’ book together in a couple of weeks. Writing well takes time, practice and stamina. It is not for the faint of heart. I’m not suggesting it’s as difficult as brain surgery. But, I am saying it’s more difficult to do well than, say, baking cupcakes using a box of Duncan Hines mix. Writers — the ones who work hard at it, taking time to read, to build their craft, to revise — deserve a little respect in this regard.
Everyone can write in the same way that everyone can play basketball. Sure, most people can get a ball in the hoop if you give them 20 chances, but very few are going to be able to play professionally. Those who do it for a living, don’t just decide one weekend, I’m going to go join the Washington Wizards (or wait, given the Wiz’s records, maybe the do; No, I’m kidding. I kid because I love. Go Wizards!). But even as bad as my nearest local team is, every single player on that team would wipe the floor with me — or thousands of other people out there — in a one-on-one competition. Much like bowling and golf, writing well looks easier than it is.
So, I say, as my new slogan, don’t just fear the turtle, respect the writer.
* Image courtesy of Doublecompiler via wikicommons