Weekday Wisdom Episode 80
Has writing changed over the decades? I’m swinging back to answering questions from the Ask Me Anything campaign I did in March. Today’s question is about the writing field and today’s reading audience.
Today’s question is from Vasilijeluka.
In the long journey of your writing,
do you think the writing field
and the audience have changed in some way?
That’s actually two questions.
Has the writing field changed?
Yes and no. Writing itself hasn’t changed. Telling stories is telling stories is telling stories.
What has changed about the writing field is the tools that we use in which to tell stories and how easy it is to get published and put your words out there. This, historically, has had pros and cons.
In the early days of ebooks, I actually did work as an editor, and oh my goodness the swill that came out! People would just write and publish and there you go. They wouldn’t work with an editor to make their writing better, and sometimes even coherent. And that’s why ebooks had such a bad rap.
However, obviously, consumer demand for quality work never changed. And it started showing. People would think, “You know, these e-books aren’t very good.” And sales would drop.
So authors had to write better, which is what they’d been doing for decades and centuries before anyway.
So, no, writing and telling you good story hasn’t changed — nonfiction or fiction doesn’t matter — but yes, how we tell those stories, the tools that we use and how easy it is to get our words spread out to others has changed.
Has the audience changed?
Again, yes and no. I mean, we’re all still human beings. We haven’t suddenly turned into aliens with different ideas of what’s right or wrong or what we like or dislike. That has not changed. The basis of what makes us human is still here.
The difference is, people are demanding their content be consumable in different ways. For example, they want short pieces that can be read in about five to 10 minutes. In the past, you could only access that kind of content either as a blog post, magazine article or newspaper article or in an anthology of short works. Now, thanks to Kindle Short Reads, you can actually buy a short read that you could read and like 5 minutes.
So, consumer demand for quick and easy content has increased because our lives are .. well, let’s face it, they are busy. We’ve got e-mail. We’ve got TV. We’ve got streaming. We’ve got smartphones. We’ve got tablets. We’ve got laptops. All these things are competing for our attention.
There’s a lot of content noise going on. And so audiences are demanding that you be able to tell your story quickly and easily. Now does that mean that the epic novel or the well-researched book is dead?
No, that’s not what it means.
But it does mean that you now have a new strategy if you want to write one of those. Because you can build people’s tolerance up by producing smaller pieces of content that lead to the larger content.
So, audiences are more demanding. They want higher quality, right away, and they want it quickly. That’s how they’ve changed. But honestly, if you’ve got a message worth listening to, people will listen to it.
I hope that answers your questions.
Don’t box yourself in.
Spread your wings and fly. Because of you — yes you right there — are capable of more than you know.
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