The latest troll-bait piece on Thought Catalog has got me cataloging some thoughts here. YOU SHOULD GO READ IT FIRST.
Every time I hear someone say that a writing career is about publishing every brain fart a young person makes I have to fight back vomit.
Do people really think that a Thought Catalog blogger is really on equal footing with a woman who writes actual substantive material? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just placating these hobbyists so they can justify their parents paying for a couple more years of grad school.
Earning bylines and accruing a portfolio are considered career milestones. We have blogs with zero quality standards with huge traffic generated by hate-click trolling and it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to dump tossed-off five minute word diarrhea into the submission box? These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the media. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?
If young writers can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?
I want to share a link to an article by a young person who backpacks on her own through Asia and has something informative to say about the experience, gets a promotion at a website with the barest minimum barrier to entry, not when she stays inside the box and does the trolling blogger child thing, which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you that becoming a writer is something you can do by affecting a deliberate shitheadeness on a popular website, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.
You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you write for Thought Catalog.
I hear young bloggers talk about how “hard” it is to make it in the online media. I never hear people with any talent or initiative talk about this. It’s because young bloggers secretly like to talk about how hard managing a writing career is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.
Young bloggers will be equal with ones of substance when they stop demanding that it be considered equally important to publish whining Tumblr entries on a nationally known website. They are not equal. Doing brain-laundry will never be as important as writing and reporting about a doctor or an engineer or someone building a business. This word play is holding us back.