Though the process of professional writing is rewarding, it can also be full of challenges, woes and adversity. Writing for the professions is, in many rights, considered an art form, and like other art forms it is not given due respect or compensation. Professional writers are highly valued when they are well recognized and loved, but professional writers who have not had their break into the mainstream can be gravely mistreated, both professionally and socially.
The profession of writing is known for being overworked and underpaid. Like any art form, there is a degree of subjectivity in the criticism of writing, meaning that preferred styles of writing can be a matter of taste. This has lead to a widely spread and inaccurate assessment that anyone can be a writer, and that writers do not possess distinct skill sets. Those who are actually skilled in reading and writing know that this is not the case. Quality writing is governed by complex rules, and only those who have devoted themselves to the craft of writing should be considered “writers.” All others claiming to be writers are only considered to be so by an uneducated populous.
Professional writers require quiet and solitude in order to write, which often gets them misjudged as antisocial, introverted or just plain weird. Particularly burgeoning writers who are struggling to receive recognition are harshly judged for the time they spend behind closed doors. Peers, family members and roommates frequently do not see the value in the writer’s pursuits and stigmatize their behavior as mentally unhealthy.
Which brings this writer to the harshest challenge that professional writers face. It is a challenge that Sir Ken Robinson discusses in the TED Talk “How School Kills Creativity.” Writers and other artists do not receive the support they need, from their social and familial groups or from society, to pursue their talents. Writers and artists, even the ones who demonstrate great potential, are much more likely to be discouraged away from their craft than they are to be encouraged toward it. This is because the arts are stigmatized as a professional waste of time, money and energy. The future of creative thought depends on reversing this toxic societal attitude toward writers and other artists.