This is precisely why I'm still doggedly looking for an agent for my books rather than self-publishing. I'd like those extra steps of editing & validation that traditional publishing professionals provide. I think there are many millions of good writers out there that share this desire!

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This makes me so frustrated ? Sad? I’m writing to see where the road takes me. Maybe publishing maybe just the creative outlet. But reading that there are too many of us writing and there should be some form of gatekeeping so only the “trained” “qualified “ “apprentices” can continue writing just reads to me as a way to create another divide in such a divided world.

Maybe I’ll go back to running where all are welcome.

Or maybe I’ll write about this

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Indeed. Writing 101. Well said, Ramona.

I did my apprenticeship from way way across the globe in Australia, with the brilliantly professional team at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in London. Three years of solid hard graft via email and copious attachments.

Not only did I learn more than I could have thought possible, but I loved every minute. There were days where I could have just walked away as my style was dismantled and rebuilt, but it was the best apprenticeship ever.

As an indie writer (my choice), I would never have opted to publish a word if I hadn't walked that path.

If writers can, I suggest they enrol somewhere, anywhere - but please do the groundwork.

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Hard to believe, but there was a time when publishers outnumbered authors: that was in the mid-19th century in Europe. I've been reading about cultural changes like that in Orlando Figes's The Europeans.

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Do blogs lead to a life in publishing? In legacy publishing over the years authors have been pushed to have a website, blog, book trailers, social media presence, blog tours, but none of that really makes an author. Those are by-products, PR vehicles, audience-enhancers.

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I can't help but think of all the famous published authors who never had formal training as a writer, never got a college degree, never finished high school. Writing 101 is basic composition. I wrote for a presidential campaign blog without taking writing 101 or politics 101 and everyone I worked with thought I had an M.A. I got that years later.

Writing is hard work, and it is something any intelligent person can teach themselves more about. For many writers, it is something that is innate with the person, as is the way with many of the arts. In today's world it is very easy for anyone from any background to be able to write on line, share content, art, photography, music, there are no gatekeepers.

It's a beautiful thing to encourage people to try writing online. Some will succeed and some will fail.

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It seems you are talking about creative writing. I don't do that, my stuff is analysis, conjecture, theory formation on political or economic topics.

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I’m not here to be a writer. 😃

Different genre

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What you wrote was true. I believe that talent and hard work will win in the end.

That said, it's difficult to read a post that rambles on and is so discursive and ill-ordered that it's impossible to finish and then realize that not only has your mind been sullied, but the post is getting a great deal of compliments, even from writers who know better. In the spirit of the Emperor and his new clothes, there are many writers who are naked. But no one has an incentive to point it out.

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There are pros and cons to pretty much everything involving the internet. (Okay, well anything at all, really.)

But between self-publishing books and blogging and even super shortform content like Tik Tok, Twitter, Threads, and so forth, the competition for eyeballs is fierce, especially for fiction.

It was fascinating/depressing to watch fiction agents/editors drowning in submissions. It went from having to wait for a couple of months to get a rejection from an agent to "If you don't hear back, it's a no." And then editors started doing the same thing with agents because they were getting too many submissions from agents.

The good for us is that Substack has given us an avenue to reach enough of those eyeballs to make it financially worthwhile to keep writing.

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Interesting and true. I feel this way about the book publishing industry. There is a glut. Too much out there. Too much choice. (A bit like streaming platforms for that matter). I feel it almost devalues the craft and readers expect to pay less, expect books, writing for free. I've indie* and trad published (my latest was in indie release) but I also feel the digital and self-publishing space is part of the problem. Sure, the freedom and opportunity is there which is wonderful, and a reason I pursued indie publishing. I wanted people to read my work. As a writer, who doesn't want that? But there are standards that are lacking in publishing these days, and the digital online writing space in general. I don't know what the answer is. And it's kind of off topic, but it's something that has been making me pause to think and consider what's next? Discoverability and reach are becoming huge issues for all publishers and all authors. What would things look like if publishing wasn't this easy? Maybe the gatekeepers are necessary. Food for thought.

*To be clear, my indie books are all published to a trad standard and have gone through rigorous developmental, copy and proofreading edits, and have professional designed covers.

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This post really hit me. Hard. I feel conflicted. I remember my first blog. I wanted to get my writing in front of others so that I could get feedback. Why not use this new Internet web blog-thingy?

So, here I am, 20 years later, still writing. I feel like the ease of publishing has actually pushed me to write more. Yes, I have no formal training. No MFA. No writer’s retreats. Just writing to connect, both as an educator and a amateur poet.

As a teacher, blogging about my experiences has helped me connect with educators worldwide. As a poet, publishing a few poems online gave me the courage to submit to literary journals. Once I started submitting, I stopped sharing poems online because of submission guidelines. Still, the community grew, and continues to grow.

The writing community, similar to the educator community, is welcoming and inclusive, and I’m grateful. Perhaps Griggs is right: I’m clogging up the Internet with my thoughts, anecdotes, and a few poems. I’ve always assumed that the best writers and pieces would float to the top.

Selfishly, I will keep writing and posting and submitting on a continuous loop. The more I connect with others, the more I want to write and share what I’ve written with others.

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I knew a gal once who dreamed of being either a rock star or an opera singer. The only problem? She often couldn't hold a tune. In church, I'd watch the sound engineers routinely turn her mic down when she'd try to harmonize, while they turned up the volume on my mic. She wasn't a terrible singer, but she also didn't have the kind of flexibility in her vocal range that was immediately impressive. After high school, she went and got her bachelor's in music and performance! Why? Because no one told her, "Hey, love, you aren't innately gifted at singing." I'm not sure when or how she pivoted after college into law school, but it was genuinely a wonderful fit. She was smart, good in school and had a good heart—she lives a very happy life now as far as I know. But I've always wondered if she was ever mad at the adults in her life for encouraging her to spend so many years pursuing a creative expression that wasn't innately borne inside her. Or if she was glad she saw it through but was smart enough to know when to move on to a different career path.

Sometimes I think we do writers a disservice in the same way, too. I think giving people access to easily publish whatever pops into their heads does create a false sense of forward motion and potential. I also think a decade of every business getting into "content marketing" and "blogging" really kicked us in the shins when it came to the art of storytelling. We rewarded buzzfeed listicles with algorithm spotlights and look where that got everybody—replaced by robots!

Anyways, great writing as always, Mona, and lots to chew on here. For me, I'm always on the hunt for the natural born storytellers—the folks who observe life or cull through research or create imaginary worlds and then pull it all together in an irresistible way for the rest of us to step inside. That kind of writing is the fruit of intention, passion and craft. And I have at least a little bit of faith that it will find a way to rise to the right set of readers.

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I feel like this post needs an audio component. Or at least comic-style speech bubbles.

POW! BAM! THWIP! BLAM! Pfssssssssst! 🤣

If it were harder for the ego-fueled nitwits to slide into the arena, there'd be fewer bloggers, just as many writers, and maybe a little less indigestion. I'd still be dinking around with words on Facebook and fielding the occasional fan asking when I'm going to publish a book. I might be working harder to get something published in a traditional journal. Maybe that's the take-away for me here.

Love the fire, Ramona. Coming in hot!

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There’s an old saying in the tattoo industry that goes, “If you don’t belong, don’t be long,” and it works for this as well.

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I’m with you. That’s why I wrote my piece on being a “accidental writer” yesterday. Many of us would-be writers would do well to give writing the middle finger and tell it to effe off, including myself. https://open.substack.com/pub/johnmoyermedlpcncc/p/the-accidental-writer?r=3p5dh&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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