I used to want to be an Author.
Back when I thought being an Author was about writing and helping other write, that was what I wanted to do. But, it turns out, being an Author only has a passing acquaintance with writing. It’s apparently become a political thing that’s all about belonging to the right organizations and knowing the right people and taking the right positions on things that, frankly, don’t seem to matter that much to me.
See, back in the day, I aspired to meeting the requirements for the SFWA. (That’s the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Association.) And, then, of course, joining. Honestly? The requirements aren’t that much for someone who’s really giving it the serious attention it deserves. But, now, I’m starting to question the benefits of membership.
It used to be that being a member meant access to a grievance committee, a legal defense fund, an emergency medical fund, a regular membership journal, and a certain level of legitimacy. Now, well, it seems like membership is more of a hassle. In the past year, there’s been several big, political brouhahas over copyright and its defense. The latest has been about the dissolution and recreation of a committee that, well, doesn’t seem to be working very well. (You can read about that on several blogs, including some blogs of people who served on the committee to fix the broken committee.) So, it seems like a lot of people think it’s about, well, politics.
Now, granted, copyright issues can be very, very important to a writer, but, it seems they’re even more important to an Author. See, back when I thought the pinnacle of existence was being a member of SFWA, I cared more about writing than whether or not I’ve sufficiently protected my work from theoretical “epirates”, or, in the same vein, made it sufficiently free that the Founding Fathers would be pleased. But, what seems to get lost in all this discussion of rights and freedom and copyright and assorted other politics is the whole purpose of writing in the first place.
Apparently, one of the only reasons people see to join the SFWA is for the Emergency Medical Fund. Well, as I’ll post about tomorrow, I think I’d be better off just working a part-time job that has good medical benefits.
I started writing because I wanted to tell good stories to people who wanted to read them.
It doesn’t seem like much, to me. It’s a small ambition. I don’t need to carry a political agenda or have an opinion about an organization to which I do not belong. I just want to write stories that people want to read. It doesn’t seem very ambitious, really, does it?
I think Will Shetterly had it right when he wrote that he’d rather be a writer than an Author. I’ll leave the politics to the professionals and just go try to write a good story instead.