Has the Art of Writing Become a Strip Tease?

Photo credit: Ramona Rosales/Bust (2004)

I’m not gonna front. This will definitely sound like I’m bitter. I take writing seriously. Erykah Badu said it best, “Keep in mind that I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.”

What I am noticing, is this influx of people wanting to obtain some sense of authority by writing and using this medium to position themselves as experts.

The problem? They are neither, nor. ← yep, a double negative ’cause I’m gangsta.

Becoming an author, specifically, has turned into the new MLM of the 21st Century. Everyone wants to sip from the holy grail of “best seller.” People are making six-figure incomes because of it. It’s as if authoring has become the new get-rich-quick scheme, to help you pile up those coins in your sleep.

It’s no longer an art.

Master manipulators have turned something so beautiful into a whore pimped out on the street. It’s definitely how Common felt about hip-hop in the classic I Used to Love H.E.R.

Photo credit: Mystic Medusa

This new wave of writers who know nothing about literary devices, showing and not telling, or the usefulness of block quotes, have fallen into what I call the “George W. Bush” syndrome — grade C students believing they can conqueror the world without actually having the experience or doing the work.


Last week I sat in a webinar (thank goodness it was free) and listened to this guy admit he sucks at writing. He then told people to dictate their book (which is actually a smart idea), have someone transcribe it, find a cheap editor to polish it, drum up the marketing campaign of life, and sell it. And like voila magic, you’re a millionaire!

I cringed.

I couldn’t get mad though. He figured out how to make it work for him, capitalized on others who share a similar narrative, and created an opportunity to make money. I mean, this dude has a school that teaches people these “techniques” and he makes millions…MILLIONS.

It’s great to have best seller as a goal, but, that’s just what it is …a “best seller.” It means you sold a lot of books, doesn’t mean they were great. They’re a lot of people out here selling the shit out of their shitty ass book.

If that’s who you want to be, no judgment…OK, maybe I am judging.

Photo credit: winecountrymom.com

No one appreciates anything anymore. Writing used to be a skill that was revered. An art that required mastery. There’s something sexy about an author who can paint pictures with words, grab your attention with a melody of personification, couple phrases that speak the truth so fluidly, you have no other choice but to digest it. Those artists…those geniuses are overshadowed by the “dirty old men” of writers, who want a quick fuck in the champagne room for a crumpled up $20.

The art of writing is not to be shoved up your ass with no KY, it is to be explored, touched, celebrated — one should be immersed in its intricacies, undiscovered terrains, perceived notions, and underlying meanings. Writing is to be discussed, shared with care, protected, consumed. There are too many people raping the culture; only appreciative by how quickly someone can draft, proof and publish a work. Misappropriated by monsters who are willing to copy and paste their way to the top.

It’s sickening.

All I can do is continue writing, hoping that the trend of “be an author for a dollar” ends, and the true writers who value quality over quantity can step back into their rightful place.

Yep. I’m bitter.

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