The Allure of the Published Word???

I don't get it.

Okay, let me take a step back and at least provide some context so you know what the hell leads me to make such a contradictory and vague statement.

Christine Warren (The Fly Fish Chick) wrote a pretty damn good multi-segment blog post the other day.  Please read it HERE, it's worth the click through...just come back after you're done, okay...


Based on the amount of comments at the end of the post (and the familiar names making them), it's pretty clear many of you read it too.  That said, for those that didn't...a brief recap.

The first half was a pretty humorous look (through an intentionally sarcastic lens) at the many struggles to get her articles accepted and ultimately "published" by those finicky editors that work at print magazines.

The second half, is an example of one of the stonewalled articles, published in all its "I don't need no editor's approval" glory.  A good blog post on it's own, albeit somewhat overshadowed by the dramatic intro.

While it appears Christine has finally channeled her inner Willie Nelson and found peace with virtually publishing the article to her own blog as opposed to seeking the acceptance that a high gloss printed page provides, what stuck out to me was how many of the reader/blogger comments echoed similar sentiments toward their personal interactions with magazines - those of neglect, rejection, frustration, and denial...many with a dash of saltiness for good measure.

So I'm just curious.  As a fly fishing blogger that has really never even tried to get anything published (it's tough to embed awful YouTube videos in paper), what's the draw to magazines, books, etc...for you folks?

Put me in coach...

Don't misinterpret my ask.  I'm not trying to make it arrogantly sound like I think I'm superior because I don't care about the literal printed word.  I know this already and supplement my ego by creating and handing out free stickers by the dozens.  I'm really just curious as to the various motivations of my fellow bloggers in their journey to make the leap from virtual to actual.

What do you want out of it - Is it a need for self validation?  Is it a quest for a more tangible fame?  Is it the desire to fill the void of bathroom-friendly, portable reading material?  Is it money, groupies, and blow?  (If so, I might give it a shot).  I'd love to know, because as with most things that people clearly more intellectual than I participate in, and as I said to open...

I don't get it.


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20 comments:

  1. Self validation? Yes, no, maybe. Having sold (a very) few photos years back, I'll have to admit that getting a check in the mail was most satisfying. Maybe it's an aspiration to another career. Thankfully, I soon realized that it's an extremely competitive market. So, I now blog too. I do have some bathroom friendly viewing material though.

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  2. I prefer to take a more modest approach to it. I figure that instead of seeking out validation or acceptance I would rather work on my blog and videos and such and hope that maybe one day someone with some clout will stumble across it and ask me to write something. In all honesty I would love to be as well known as Lefty or Bob but for now I think I'll just fish.

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  3. I think it goes back to the basics of writing and ego. 1) do you like to write?; and 2) if so, would you like people to read it? If someone doesn't enjoy writing, then writing for pay must be a miserable life. But if someone DOES enjoy writing, and they think other people might enjoy it, why wouldn't the writer want to share it with them?

    There is something absolutely validating about people going and seeking out "your" type of writing and then placing their money down to read something that you created. And that's no different from a client walking into your office (or mine) and saying, "I'm here because I need Mike on my project." Or your child saying, "No mom, I want to go with Dad today."

    I keep trying to improve as a writer, and I know that's the case with many bloggers. Other than "Leave a comment," it's hard to document that your writing, your writing process, or the things you choose to write about have made any significant change unless the venues where your writing (or photography, for some) are constantly (at least gradually) getting larger.

    Problem is, that's a pragmatic but not a reasonable real-world expectation. There are too many of us willing to write a $5,000 article for $500 (think outside of fly fishing!!!), and I've been guilty of that (cheaper....sadly). As a result, we (collectively) get treated like amateurs, which nobody appreciates after putting their heart and soul into a piece of writing.

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  4. When I started this whole trout fishing thing back in 2008 (even before NCT), I subscribed to about 8 fishing magazines. I wanted to get the most information I could and the more I read, both online and in magazines was the best way I figured to do it. I've whittled them down to three and two of them are local ones. I've never submitted an article to a magazine preferring to post on NCT and writing my book that I published myself. Self publishing was a lot easier on the ego. As far as you being a success as a writer, just the fact you have 352 followers (more than any blog I've seen) tells the whole story.

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  5. In the end I think it comes down to validation and money, those two things. That being said, as far as getting published, I have neither. lol

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  6. I love just writing a story and having folk say they like it? What's that called? I do it as a kind of record, and it gives me an outlet for much of my pent up emotion. I'm not great with words so I keep trying to improve that side. I also enjoy fellow bloggers it's like a big club in a way!

    Regards magazines. The only good one in the UK is Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, but all the writers are now older than me, and really out of date. However I still buy the odd one.

    Nice post.

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  7. I'm sure some of it is ego stroking. Acceptance that they can finally be justified in being labeled a writer. I think there's a small desire in each one of us to be famous. Having something published gets you closer to that reality. I guess it's the same as song writers trying to get an album. For some it doesn't matter if their family, friends and fans tell them they are awesome. They want validation from a record company.

    As for the salty comments. I'm sure they are laced with at least a small bit of envy.

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    1. I'd say they all are. Including mine. Haven't you ever read a story in a magazine, enjoyed it, and then also thought, "Man, imagine that. Fly fishing/hunting/surfing/kayaking in Africa for free. For a month. And getting paid a few thousand bucks just to write about it." The imagination wanders....one must admit!

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  8. I've been a writer as long as I can remember. Words or maybe better put, putting words together to draw a picture has always fascinated me. I also read a lot. I think that ego gratification is a big part of why people want to be published whether a blog, magazine, newspaper (remember them?) or book. We have something to say, can usually string coherent sentences together and put ourselves out there for critique. Although I would love to have someone offer me money to write, it's not a huge motivating factor for me. I don't write classic style but if any one wants a goofy storyteller with an overactive imagination, I'm there. I've written for newspapers, a magazine, and police reports as thick as Moby Dick. I got paid for that last one but wasn't allowed to wander from facts which isn't much fun for me. If anyone enjoys reading what I write, I'm happy.

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  9. I have no intention to ever do anything like that. I know my writing isn't that amazing and I don't think it's why people read my blog, and I think the same applies to many other blogs.

    There are blogs that are amazingly written, such as Up the Poudre, and Mysteries Internal, but there are just as many blogs that aren't as poetic, but are written from the heart, and are amusing and informative.

    I guess some people just need that validation/recognition, maybe just to prove to themselves that years and years of blogging makes them worthy of being in a mag that can be bought at Barnes and Nobles.

    As for me, I'll stick to whoring out small ad spaces in exchange for free tying shit or for stuff to giveaway to my readers.

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  10. p.s. as far as fishing mags go these days..besides the Drake, most of the stuff I read online is way more entertaining than 4 pages on tying one Charlie Craven pattern that's already been shared on his site for a few years, or that western hopper fishing article that's already been done 40000000 times by every other magazine.

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    1. AMEN. It almost January...which means a new batch of mags hitting the stands. Looking for an article for the 40000001st time.

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  11. Blog2Print salves the wound - Shameless self-validation, print as many copies as you want.

    You might find better, but you won't pay more.

    Seriously, a blog soft copy book is nice persistent artifact to unearth your archive for future generations and a handy holiday white elephant gift.

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  12. First and foremost it's about enjoyment, whether it's writing, photography, or both. There is a sense of satisfaction that goes along with having a piece of work accepted. Fame? Not so much. Getting paid? Swell, just icing on the cake.

    Interestingly, the first piece that I sold was strictly an accident. My wife sent a photo to Gun Dog for a spread on puppies. It never made the spread (she was a little miffed). When the next issue arrived, surprise; it was the cover photo. Well, that started an interest in sending in more stuff, to other magazines as well. Rejection? You bet, lots. But, one gets used to it. It's not personal. Eventually, one learns how the game is played, what the magazines want, and how they want it. Relationships develop with editors. What I developed, personally, was utmost respect for the folks who do it full time. I was, as Jack O'Connor used to say "small potatoes" compared to the full timers. These folks, and you know their by-lines, consistently produce good work. Romantic notions aside, it's not a lucrative market. No one piece brings in much money. The volume of work necessary to put food on the table is mind boggling.

    Now, I just scratch the creative itch by blogging. A photo here, a brief blurb there. Mental stimulation. The thesaurus gets used occasionally too.

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    1. I think it's tough to make money doing anything these days. Can only imagine the difficult if one was relying on their pen (or keyboard).

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  13. In my two plus years of blogging (yes, I'm still around. Sorry to disappoint some of you. ;) ) I learned a few things:
    1. Anyone can be a writer.
    2. Not everyone can be good at it.
    3. Alot of it is like everything else these days - it's not how good you are, it's who you know. You can write like Hemingway and if people don't know you - forget it. You're not getting a toe in the proverbial door, much less your whole foot.
    4. The best thing I ever read on blogging leading to a real writing career (for most of us) was posted on Functioning Fishaholics blog. The day I read that was the day I stopped believing the hot air people were blowing up my skirt. But that was a good thing in the end, even if it stung a little in the beginning.
    5. If writing is your dream, don't give up on it. Just because you've tried for years to get published, doesn't mean tomorrow isn't your day - but you better have a back-up plan for those "waiting" and "trying" years.
    6. People write for the same reasons they draw, paint, take photographs, make sculptures, scrapbook, etc. - that is to say, the reasons are as numerous as the stars. Right now, in this craptastic economy, I'd say money is a big draw for most part-time writers, but that's just one reason someone might want to get into a "real" magazine.
    7. Speaking of that - we've been told over and over again that there are "real magazines" and there are "e-mags" but I don't think there's much difference anymore. Look at Southern Culture on the Fly or This is Fly. Aren't they as "real" as it gets? If you want them in paper, fire up your printer - I mean, if that floats your goat.

    In the end, who can say what drives a person to want to be published? It's lots of things for different people. Good post, T. BTW - you write as well as anyone when you lay it out there and really try. Have you ever thought of sending something to a "real magazine" like,....I dunno....Tenkara Weekly? :)

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    1. Tenkara Weekly? That would put anyone to sleep, myself included. Thanks for the thought out response. I really have no ambitions to "get published," never have. That's why this topic is so interesting (to me).

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  14. Thanks for the comments everyone (and if you're just reading this now, feel free to share your point of view.

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Michael Agneta

Husband, dad, angler, and e-commerce lifer. Especially fond of Philadelphia sports teams, Sasquatch, Star Wars, WWE, trout, & tenkara fly fishing.