WordPress is a lot like a farmers’ market for writers and artists. I separate writers from that lot because no matter what your art-form, or passion, all bloggers have to be writers to some extent.
And that’s essentially it, we are offering our specialty ‘wares’ directly to the consumers, without any promise of permanency or consistency and providing:
- less transport
- less handling
- less refrigeration 🙂
- less time in storage*
Fresh-out-of-the-oven press. I still hear what the publishing industry use to say about self-publishing 15-20 years ago: that a writer should never self-publish unless he or she had exhausted all other avenues. Self-publishing had a stigma that meant you were a writer who couldn’t meet industry standards. Bloggers don’t have agents, editors, and the years of expertise from an established publishing house to foster their talent and work. Bloggers don’t need to go to school for anything to start blogging and publishing. That rawness certainly does show sometimes. Internet readers have to read a lot of bad stuff with our good stuff.
But the truth is, the same could be said of published and approved works. And another truth that I have always suspected is that there were never any real industry standards to be met — well especially not in the literary genres.
Artists make the standards for their art-forms. Writers make the standards for their genres with our readers. And it’s only when we can prove that we can sell those standards that the publishing industry is more likely to get involved. Their side is the business. The writing is not.
I would argue that creative writing is not a commercial art at all — even in its most commercial form. Nobody picks this profession to be rich — even pulp writers rolling in the benjamins — I’d bet money that at some point their pulp characters and pulp plots eventually start to express a little more. It’s inevitable because how can a writer resist the opportunity?
What are the benefits of a farmers’ market for writers?
- Farmers’ markets help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations and even close neighbors in mutually rewarding exchange.
- market traffic generates traffic for nearby businesses
- buying at markets encourages attention to the surrounding area and ongoing activities
- by providing outlets for ‘local’ products, farmers’ markets help create distinction and uniqueness, which can increase pride and encourage visitors to return.*
Reduced transport, storage, and refrigeration can benefit communities too:
- lower transport & refrigeration energy costs
- lower transport pollution
- lower transport infrastructure cost (roads, bridges, etc.)
- less land dedicated to food storage*
You might be thinking, ‘some of these farming references are stretching this comparison a little thin’, but stay with me:
Refrigeration: bloggers don’t sit on their drafts as long as print writers do. It’s often very fresh and can easily put writers on a rhythm to be producing regularly, building skill, talent and style — more publicly than is probably good for us, though. As well, the more we publish, the less we fear the ‘outing’ or ‘coming out’ process. Our work doesn’t have time to become chilled by fear and insecurity.
Lower transportation infrastructure: sometimes we really need a good editor, huh? I tell you, published typos and bad grammar are the worst shame. However, the fewer hands that a draft goes through, the better editors we become of our own work. And it’s got a more ‘organic style’. With any art-form, there is the risk of too much polishing and perfecting that can scrub the soul out of a piece. This leads to long periods of refrigeration.
Less land dedicated to food storage: no more drafts decaying in your files. And if you’re older like me, you might have a few piles of hard copies of older drafts cluttering your living space.
I know I’ve started some controversial subjects in this blog and a lot more can and should be said about it. However, blogs were not meant to be long and I’ve already gone too far – in more ways than one. I will leave everything else that needs to be said to linger suggestively in cyberspace.
Thanks for playing with this idea with me.
(*facts on farmers’ markets c/o wikipedia)