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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

People will stop writing?

Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter at Times Online, reports on the concerns of the Society of Authors that their members are worried about the publishing industry failing to adapt to the digital age. Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring who is the current chair of the organisation, feels the internet is awash with unlicensed free digital copies of individual chapters or in some cases entire books, and that this is undermining the living of professional writers.

“For a while it will be great for readers because they will pay less and less but in the long run it’s going to ruin the information. People will stop writing. There’s a lot of ‘wait and see what the technology brings’ but the trouble is if you wait and see too long then it’s gone. That’s what happened to the music industry.”

I don’t think writers will stop writing whatever happens. Some people, mainly celebrities, who write solely for cash, may well put their pens away and seek another source of income. But that’s OK, isn’t it?

5 Responses to “People will stop writing?”

  1. We write because of the pleasure. We write when no one is looking. We write even when the world is sleeping. To mangle Gertrude Stein’s aphorism: A writer is a writer is a writer.

    jb says: Love you, Geoffrey.

  2. Jim Murdoch says:

    It’s a cliché I know but I write because I cannot not write. I wonder how many plumbers or bricklayers can say the same of their chosen professions? Not that I have anything against plumbers and bricklayers – salt of the earth.

    jb says: I also have little choice in the matter, Jim. I write for the kicks. One time I stopped writing for around a decade and became a completely different being and only found myself again when I came home. Celebrities, footballers, chefs, actors, even plumbers and bricklayers (goodness knows I’ve done my time with physical labour as well) people who have a different calling and write a book about it may well stop writing if they don’t get paid enough. But that would be OK by me, they would find something that did pay enough while carrying on footballing or whatever it is they do best. And there’d be less silly books to wade through to find something good.

  3. PaulJ says:

    “I don’t think writers will stop writing whatever happens. Some people, mainly celebrities, who write solely for cash, may well put their pens away and seek another source of income. But that’s OK, isn’t it?”

    But celebrity authors also use their pens to write cheques to ghost-writers….

    jb says: Interesting theory, Paul . . .

  4. mandyK says:

    Writing will never stop, it has a life of its own, the words insist their way out. I’m not a writer, but the words still spill like tears or laughter or unstoppable chatter, when I’m supposed to be working at my dull work. And the desire to read others words, like walking up to a fascinating stranger in a bar and saying hello and my eyes lighting up when he talks back and I find, he really can hold my attention and we don’t want to leave, but he has his life and I have mine and so, we part, but the words will always be a little gift, for me to keep. I think new technology has encouraged the escape of words.

    P.S. Came across you looking for Neruda, need words from his Furies, to help me feel less alone with my current confusion, couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed to fetch the book from downstairs – found you, a gift! Thank you.

    jb says: Hi mandyK. Sounds like at least some part of you got out of bed this morning. Thank you for the comment. Much appreciated.

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