The indexed web contains at least 4.6 billion pages. Making a (rather conservative) estimate that there is an average of one hundred words on each of those pages, the grand total of words on the internet must be more than 460 billion. For effect, that’s 460,000,000,000! With that many words all up for fast and easy access, (not to mention the many projects that aim to put all public domain books online) an obvious question arises: what value does a written word have any more?
Financially speaking, that is a tricky question. More than twenty years ago, Kurt Vonnegut lamented that fact that professional writing opportunities were becoming scarce, which he thought we lead to less writers developing outstanding creative skills. Some people might very well argue that Vonnegut was right: the days where an aspiring writer could crank out mediocre stories and find a publisher willing to pay the bills as he/she hones the craft are certainly gone. Others might be more inclined to see the silver lining: it is now much easier to share stories, to communicate with fellow writers, and to access the “great library” of the internet, which contains almost everything that has ever been written all at the fingertips of any willing reader.
Here are a few important tips that can help writers find success in this rapidly changing world:
- Practice. (Spoiler alert: you won’t get paid. Do it anyway.)
- Edit. Have you ever experienced writer’s block because of an overblown sense of perfectionism? Just keep in mind that you will be editing everything and you should get over it.
- Find a community. Fellow writers can help you evaluate your work objectively, and (most importantly) keep you motivated.
- Do your homework. It is important to do research and stay up to date on the best ways to sell you work.
- Adapt. It’s important to keep up with the times. Companies such as Right2.info and our new project rightsin.com aim to use technology to help writers and other creative people (such as musicians, filmmakers, inventors, etc.) take control of their intellectual property and connect with potential customers/fans/clients.