Copyright © 1982 by Stephen Goldin. All Rights Reserved.
Cover image copyright © Paul Moore.
NOTE: The Business of Being a Writer was originally published in 1982, before the widespread use of personal computers, the Internet, and electronic publishing. While this excerpt has been updated, it is still largely oriented toward publishing in the print media. I hope you’ll find it useful anyway.
By the very nature of their business, writers stand apart from the general throng of humanity. The verb to publish means “to make public,” and that’s what writers do—they make their thoughts, opinions, and emotions public for other people to see and comment on. Unlike the ordinary person who communicates only to relatives and acquaintances, the writer stands up and speaks to everyone who’ll listen.
When you call special attention to yourself, you create special problems. For one thing, you become an easier target and you need protection. For another, since you’re deviating from the norm, society needs to protect its members from you. Your voice, as a published author, is louder than that of the ordinary person; therefore, society has an interest in seeing that what you say is not unfairly harmful. It demands that you use your special status more responsibly.