My wife and I were having a discussion just the other day about writing. I was talking about something I read online.
At one writer’s blog, another writer gave advice and/or critique to the first writer about the industry and its processes. The commenter left little doubt through grammar and usage about their skill level. To be sure, though, I followed the name link back to the commenter’s blog and read a few excerpts. They were at best pedestrian; at worst, poor.
That gave me pause. How did one author give another input and critique when they clearly lack the skills themselves to give that advice?
I dug a bit deeper and read the piece being commented on a second time. It seemed strong to my eye – well-written, correct style, grammar, usage. The prose looked good. Far superior to what the commenter displayed, at least. I scratched my head a bit more. I decided to go back to the commenter’s site and look around. Maybe I got a bad example; maybe it was a rough, unedited draft. Maybe it was deliberately poor for the sake of the story.
Nope. Categorically, it was pretty bad writing. And then I stumbled upon something – the commenter had been published in a couple of small online publications and had a book contract pending with a small, independent publisher.
I checked out the publisher as much as possible but … well, most of you know my situation and I won’t hammer on it here. Let’s just say I didn’t get very far with that.
But I still found it interesting how a clearly inferior writer made it to the ranks of a “working pro” while someone with greater skills and talent hadn’t. AND, that the weaker of the two gave advice simply because they felt they were a “working pro”.
I said so to my wife, along with my hope that I’d never be one of those “working pros” who look down their noses at someone who hasn’t been published yet, even if they’re clearly a better writer than I. I lamented being willing to give someone else advice just because I achieved something they hadn’t, by whatever circumstance.
She looked at me for a minute, tossed up a hand and said, “But – you are a working pro.”
It took me a minute to realize she was right. I’ll be published soon. I’ll have my name on books in bookstores, on the shelves. I’ve been paid to write, and paid pretty well. I’ve made more on a single book deal than many writers ever make.
I’m a “working pro”.
How cool is that? I think it’s pretty frickin’ cool. So, all you writers can look for me to give you advice and tell you what’s what in the industry and how to get it done, because I know. I’ve been there, done that. I’m an authority.
I’m a “working pro”, after all. 😉