I’ve just published an article in Victorian Writer about writing ‘off the page’. It had me considering what a writing life looks like in the digital age. More and more the picture is one of choices and compromises. The compromises are the things we all grumble about from time to time, of old outlets closing and risk-averse traditional publishers. But the choice aspects of a writing career are less apparent.
We know the internet has changed the environment and continues to do so. It is within this state of flux that choices and opportunities arise. Print publication is by no means dead, but looks decidedly different to what it was ten years ago. Meanwhile online providers are desperate for content (though not always enough so that they are willing to pay what that content is worth). Hybrid text-rich formats are becoming more popular (think graphic novels, scripted games or performance poetry).
In this emerging text environment, a professional (or semi-professional) writing life may require a degree of dexterity. But it would be wrong to think of this as a need to compromise. Opportunities are multiplying. As with other professions writers need, now, to be more mindful of the way they position themselves to take advantage of external opportunities and to create their own.
So it is that my writing life has expanded to include performance elements, the creation of text-based artworks and other ‘off the page’ projects. Do I feel compromised by this turn of events? Certainly not. I feel challenged. Often. But when I do I remind myself it was the challenge of writing that first inspired me to take the process seriously. The challenges I face have changed. But at the heart of all that I do there’s still the desire to put things into words, and to do so as well as I possibly can.
May your words pour onto the page,