“Amateur” versus “Amateurish”


I love how musicians, especially rock musicians, for some reason equate “knowing the rules of music” with “being a worse musician or songwriter than someone who deliberately doesn’t know any rules.” I find that laughable.

Yet I also find laughable the idea that just because somebody doesn’t have the stamp of approval from “the academy,” what they do is somehow sub-par. I tie the music to writing and technology, trust me.

“Amateur” doesn’t mean you’re “amateurish.”

Look at the world of self-published, independent authors. Try telling me a guy like Nick Cole is a low-quality writer by virtue of doing it himself. It’s patently absurd, when things made by the academy are so shockingly bad.

Exhibit A

I mean, Disney can’t get a cash-printing machine like Star Wars right, and it has writers and producers and all sorts of other people from Approved Places with the Right Credentials and the Proper Beliefs, yet it’s cranking out terrible garbage.

But you, who pays attention to your craft and cares about your audience, is “amateurish” because some megacorp hasn’t emblazoned it’s logo all over your work.

This is a mentality that needs to die. The Internet is helping to kill it.

Take Adam Lane Smith‘s debut novel Making Peace, for example. Adam is not a “professional writer,” yet he does everything right: His writing is fundamentally sound, the characters are three-dimensional and likable, and the action crackles and the tension smoldered in equal measure. There is no reason his book shouldn’t be on store shelves other than that Big Publishing Corporation X (where “X” equals a number between 1 and 5) doesn’t have its name on the cover.

Well, there are other reasons. Trad Pub is dying, especially for science-fiction and fantasy novels. And if you’re not of the approved identity group du jour, and your stories don’t reflect a hard-left bent, you’re not even on their radar. But I digress.

The upshot is this: Quality has nothing to do with credentials anymore. Even people with credentials are doing things on their own. Change your mindset and get outside of the academy. You’ll be glad you did. There are worlds waiting for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s