A woman stands in a field of corn, running her hands along the silky tops of her ripening crop. A man sits in a cramped dark office, whiteboards filled with scribbled plot notes on one side, tottering piles of research on the other. What could these two people have in common?
A lot, it seems.
Writers do the same thing, farming with words instead of tractors. Toil, toil toil with no clear expectation of success. I'm not even talking about publishing success - writers don't even know if they are going to finish something they love (hands up, how many trunked projects do you have in your digital drawers?) never mind something that is viable. So many things can go wrong when you are writing - and writers are famous for making their own bad weather (I'm talking to you, Evil Inner Critic.)
I started thinking of Farmers and Writers after hearing about a Philadelphia publisher with a business model that resembles a CSA (Customer Supported Agriculture.) The Head and Hand Press is accepting 'shares' ($50) in exchange for a 'literary harvest.' It's an intriguing idea, isn't it? But is it a workable model? That remains to be seen. But it's just another creative way in which publishing is seeking to change the status quo.
Even when writers are successful, published and loved, they can come up against the same stormy conditions, the same plague of locusts or potato blight or whatever. I was reading THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray when I came across this blog post by her - a post where she publicly, hilariously (and I say, bravely) detailed her struggles with writing the second book in this series. I was flabbergasted. I LOVED THE DIVINERS. I thought it was frigging brilliant. I couldn't understand how a writer who made THAT book could ever have any trouble writing anything. I mean, didn't she have it down? Weren't her other brilliant books proof against that kind of struggle?
Nope. Writing is struggle. Creating is struggle. And success or failure doesn't change that. The work is the same.