Writing Alone / Publishing Community?

Is there a point where the I emerges and sees use for the We?

Writing is a solitary activity where we spend hours in our heads or at our laptops or scribbling in notebooks. It’s at that moment, when we emerge from the doors of our little writer workshop, that we have this thing we wave in our hands – a structure of words, recognizable to others as a novel, poem, story, or screenplay.

Now, who will read it? And perhaps even a more challenging question: who will pay for it?

Our usual approach to marketing and publication as writers is to take the same approach in which we create our craft: solitary struggle. The “I” of the writer is strong. The “I” is independent and isolated. The “I” is an idealist, imaginative, and idiosyncratic. Too often, though, the “I” of the writer is ignored.

Many enterprising people have recognized the writer’s areas of lack, from copyediting to online promotion to composing the perfect pitch. There is no shortage of support a writer can pay for to guarantee, if nothing else, that Something Is Being Done.

Even so, this model ultimately still keeps the writer in isolation and in competition with other writers who also are paying their own editors, agents, cover artists, and book promoters.

Could there be an opportunity to join forces as writers and create more cooperatives? Could we not work together to put our collective creativity to bear on the pressing challenges of publishing and marketing in this crazy age of digital upheaval?

I’m not proposing a specific solution here. The outline is blurry and far off, but I see something on the horizon. Perhaps you see it, too?

If you enjoy podcasts, you may enjoy Nicole Rivera’s show called Stop Writing Alone.

I hope she won’t mind if I say “it’s nothing fancy”, because I mean that in a very positive way. It’s honest and authentic. I listen to many different writing podcasts, but hers is unpretentious and a great listen for writers who struggle with common enemies of the craft: distractions, anxiety, depression, and isolation. Check it out. She also provides writing prompts if you need a little push in the right direction.

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