The only reason I’ve been working as a photographer these past two years is that sad fact. Truth is, no one wants a writer. Most, generally speaking, fancy themselves as one. Everyone had to take English Comp in college, and in the age of the Internet, we pretty much compose our lives on social media through written word. Hell, editors and publishing agencies could inevitably become a thing of the past thanks to self-publishing. So when all you have to do is write a coherent enough blurb for this or that, why hire a writer who should be paid? Why pay an editor to check your work when spell-check can be installed practically anywhere? While the same can be said of photography, there is a visual skill involved that at least warrants someone with a measurable ability or experience. But writing… it’s often just “grab a thesaurus and use some fancy quotes.” … Or memes.
If someone were to hold a gun to my head and make me choose the kind of work I want to spend the rest of my life doing, I wouldn’t hesitate to decide on writing. But they’d be better off shooting me anyway because there’s a lot of truth to what I’m saying. No one wants a writer. It’s the art form that people hesitate to call art.
Writers don’t often get called artists. It’s a word reserved for those that can visibly demonstrate their craft. Drawing, painting, photography, acting, directing, cinematography, even music… No one ever pauses to question their merit as “Art,” but place a piece of text before someone and suddenly, the question becomes “What is it?”
I’ve been applying for writing and editing jobs ever since I moved to Austin, but I’ve never even gotten an interview for the most entry level position. I have little “professional” experience as a writer despite a hefty portfolio that comes from over half my lifetime writing, so I can’t get the work. Because no one really wants a writer, and the writers that people do want come less from unique voices and more from the right face or the visual art that accompanies it. Comic artists, vloggers, animators… those are the writers that will still be called artists. But those of us that shy behind text? No. Not as much.