I’ve often wondered what value a single human voice has in today’s age of instant information. I wonder if I will make a dent in the world at all simply because the task of getting my message in front of a large number of people seems so impossible given the number of other people trying to do the same thing. If I do happen to get my words in front of the masses, will it make any difference?
My struggle is certainly not unique, writers everywhere share it. Most will vanish into obscurity without the world ever knowing their names, and a lucky few will make it to the top and perhaps change the world. Like everyone, I’m concerned with making sure I’m eventually one of the writers at the top. But is it worth the struggle?
Writers of the past faced a world much different than that which we face today. In the past, a writer could affect the masses simply by being published – there was very little competition for the public’s attention. A writer’s voice today is but one in a sea of voices, their message lost in the noise of information overload because there are no barriers to publication. Any fool with a credit card can put their words online for the world to see.
The focus then becomes discovering the method by which a writer today can rise above the masses and still remain relevant. Anyone can self-publish or put their work on the internet, which is great from the standpoint that everyone can get their work exposed to the public without running the gauntlet of the traditional publishing industry. It also means that the number of available readers for every writer is diluted by the sheer volume of published material – most of which is legitimately horrible, or worse, useless. Given that dilution, how does the writer’s message remain unique and meaningful? Similarly, how do I make sure my message is unique and meaningful?
Becoming “known” while creating meaningful work seems like a tall mountain to climb when you’re looking up from the bottom – along with a million other hopefuls trying to do the exact same thing. It makes me wonder if being discovered and elevated to the elite among millions is just luck or if there is a secret lurking behind the scenes.
To me, it seems petty to assume that those who make it to the top have simply been living under a lucky star, or that they had help from people in the industry, that they have not earned it by the strength of their work alone. Considering that there really are no new ideas in the world, just re-hashes of ideas that have already been hashed to death throughout history, it’s hard to believe that any writer’s work is noteworthy. So does that leave luck, favoritism, and nepotism? It’s a demoralizing thought.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers to this question. ust more questions and doubts. I just find myself wondering about the future of my writing. I had other topics in mind for today’s post, but the question seems to be pulling at me unusually hard today. I know we all want to be remembered as a great talent after we’re gone. We all want to be the force for positive change in the world, or at the very least, in a few peoples’ lives. I know that for most, it will never happen. The odds are stacked against us all. Hell, even if one is as successful as J.K. Rowling, it still does not guarantee your work will change the world or positively affect a single life. It may just make people laugh. How depressing.