It’s every writer’s fear, the question1 that keeps us up at night: “Am I a writer if no one reads?”
If you see a parallel to certain notorious ponderings concerning trees and forests…you’re correct. And yes, it’s ridiculous. The identity of “writer” derives, ipso facto, from one simple act. Can you guess what it is? Hint: it’s in the name.
I know it, you know it, it’s the biggest secret everybody knows: just put words on paper2. Heck, they don’t even have to be good words. That’s what editing is for. So yes…a readerless writer is still a writer.
But writers are greedy. They don’t just want to be writers. No, one identity isn’t enough. They want more. They want to be loved. They want everyone to walk around all day and all night, circadian rhythms be damned, with their words incubating in their skulls. Writers want what good songwriters have: that little trick of becoming infectious.
Here’s a tip. If you need to take out a writer, don’t count on silver or crucifixes. There’s a simple question that slays writers, stops ‘em dead in their tracks – poisons them with writer’s block, terminal angst, and the rest of the stereotypical nonsense:
“How do you make something so intoxicating that no one can walk away?”
How do you take a piece of someone’s brain3, 4 – and make them want you to keep it5?
Honestly, writers are still making up their collective mind whether their next career transition will see them as zombies or heroin dealers. It’s a toss-up. The odds don’t look good for the non-writing populace6.
But one thing is clear: writers are, every one of them, stricken with a helpless and uncontrollable urge to infect the population with their words. Don’t prep for the Zombie Apocalypse, kids, the Writer’s Contagion is already among us.
Bonus tip: If you’re still short on readers, duct tape works surprisingly well. Just a word to the wise.
1 Well, the second of two – the first is: what if tomorrow there are no more words?
2 Screen… whatever. Allow me my romance here.
3 Nothing on WikiHow. I swear, the DIY community is only there when you don’t need them. They have how many tutorials on painting your nails?
4 “I swear, Officer, I was only writing – what does it look like?”
5 “All I want is your brain…” – not a great conversation starter. Even Marc Antony only got away with borrowing ears.
6 At this point I’m honestly just curious how many footnotes you’ll put up with.