Oh, You’re the Writer… by Kathryn Merrifield

Once in a while, people say, “Oh, you’re the writer,” as though it impedes my ability to sell and market, conduct data analysis, raise my kids, or walk a dog.  Babysit for a friend.  I have to remind myself, that while the publishing business (a business in which I worked, after I worked in the creative talent agency business in entertainment and books) is still young, it’s not a growth industry.

Before the publishing existed in its prior and current form, people wrote because they needed to write (contrary to all things delusional, it’s not really fun to write, but it’s necessary much in the way going to the bathroom and sweating after a good workout or even good sex can be necessary, depending on where your body and brain are in a given day or moment).  Writers are compelled to share stories.  From the oral tradition to the written tradition, it has been old to young and now we’re pretty much writers trying to sell to a market that is based on money, luck and connections.  Bad writing is published.  Good writing is not published.  Bad writing is self-published (or vanity published, which I don’t understand at all except in all of its diminutive interpretations of the word, which convey, “insignificant”).  Success as deemed by high sales (hopefully before a writer is dead) and much of it lies in exposure and luck with a foundation of rich talent.

Self-publishing was my route because:

1)  I was a jaded creative;

2) I wanted total control over my piece of art (visual artists don’t have to edit their works so why should writers and authors have to edit based on a subjective editor’s perspective?);

3) The publishing industry, made up of mostly white, highly-educated, parentally subsidized, self-professed liberals, who are still prey to a market which increasingly dumbed-down work to appeal to increased sales and corporate goals (yes, you’re part of the problem we’re in right now where people are becoming much less educated, and much less smart, because it’s bad/good to be smart/not smart now).  What you get is junk that sells.;

So, I was the writer, the feeler, the editor (with a ton of help from generous friends), the art director, the production manager, and a really horrible marketer and salesperson for my own books (which  is funny, because I’ve always said how great an advocate I am for others but not for myself/my work… while sales and marketing fuel my employ).

Communication is the best of all things in life that qualify success in all things.  Look it up.

And, in our tech-driven platforms across industries, if you can piece together otherwise disparate pieces of fictional and real information and create a product, you’re a great candidate for all things tech integration, data integration and, well, just about anything that involves a launch or support of a product or brand.  Creatives innovate.

People like to categorize.  Librarians and SEO geniuses will confirm that things often deserve and allow for a multiple search opportunities… because the world just isn’t that black and white.  Ever (even if black if your favorite colors).  You never search for one word unless your head is in a dictionary (which is okay but not exactly what I’m going for here) or you’re typing into the amazon.com search bar (which is likely not enough to create accuracy).

For instance, I’m:

  1. A human being;
  2. Mother;
  3. Mother of boys;
  4. Mother of a girl;
  5. Female (for clarity);
  6. White;
  7. Italian;
  8. Sicilian;
  9. Welsh;
  10. French;
  11. Russian Jew;
  12. Californian;
  13. New Yorker;
  14. Resident of Connecticut;
  15. Real Estate Salesperson;
  16. Dog lover;
  17. Cancer survivor;
  18. C-Section birther (X3);
  19. Special needs advocate/mother;
  20. Friend;
  21. Writer;
  22. Author;
  23. Art enthusiast;
  24. Yogi…

The list goes on but hinges on self-pity, which is great substance for a writer’s life experience, but pathetic in other venues.  You get my drift; when a writer has a lifey life the stories are better.  My pet peeve is a novel about an academic, a writer or an author, because I don’t want to hear about them. It’s a big, ghastly, self-important bore.  While the grammar and words are always pristine, though likely overwritten, the story lacks and often echoes Lolita which is simply disgusting because child pornography is abominable and I don’t care how good the writing is, I don’t and won’t read it.

That’s all I really have to say on this topic…

Except being a writer is simply a way of processing the world that doesn’t hurt anyone, at least directly, and can connect people in a way that other modalities cannot.  Shall I mention that it’s also a helpful tool used to prepare for difficult conversations, speaking engagements (I’ve written a couple of excellent obituaries in my short life) and confrontations where emotions can get the best of a person if not capably prepared to stick to the content on a page.

So, yeah.  I’m the writer, but I live in other dimensions too.  All of them need each other.