Sunday, December 10, 2017
Why It's Great to Be a Writer Today
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is if you were to be a storyteller in a different time, when would you choose and why?
I confess I have a bit of a fantasy of being a lady writer in early 20th Century England. Of course, I'd want to be upper class - even genteel poverty would probably be doable. That is, as long as I had any number of long-suffering family members willing to give me room and board. And I'd want to not die too young from some disease.
BUT, if this is a full-on fantasy, then the concept of this kind of life is beguiling. I love the idea of living in sprawling country manors, taking long walks, and writing in luscious mental silence. No social media inviting me to compare myself to other authors. No distressing political stories filling my inbox. Just birdsong, tea, a spot of lawn tennis, and the occasional walk to whatever charming village might be nearby.
That's answering the question of if I had to choose *a different time.* If I were asked to choose any time at all, I'd pick right now.
Want to know why?
Word processing programs allow me to write at a speed I could never replicate with quill and ink. More, revision is HUGELY easier with word processing. I say this as someone who spent her teens and college years having to entirely retype a revised draft of a paper.
A lot goes under this topic, so I'll break them out. One aspect is research. I can flick my finger and open a Sanskrit dictionary, search for terms, and be done inside of a minute. I might mourn the lost library at Alexandria, but I now have the information of an entire world at my fingertips.
Email, texting, phones - all of this allows near instantaneous decision-making. The electronic transfer of documents looms large. All of that investing time, money, and paper in sending manuscripts through the mail, awaiting the return of those self-addressed stamped envelopes - all vanished! It's SO much better now.
We might decry Amazon's heavy weight in this arena, or wrestle with the implications of self-published books flooding certain genres, along with the unscrupulous leveraging KU to manipulate page reads to earn money on utter crap. But the advent of this ability for authors to publish our own books relatively cheaply has made an enormous difference in being able to make a living as a writer.
At least without having to rely on lodging with long-suffering family!
I have to remind myself, that as much as I'm annoyed about the US political shenanigans with health care - as I have to self-insure - at least I *can*. I have access to antibiotics and mammograms and surgery if my body needs repair. That's a wonderful thing.
Jeffe Kennedy is a multi-award-winning and best-selling author of romantic fantasy. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). She is best known for her RITA® Award-winning novel, The Pages of the Mind, the recent trilogy, The Forgotten Empires, and the wildly popular, Dark Wizard. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.