A few things, Matt. As a fellow disabled vet (sans the kids) I share a few perspectives with you. I might posit that what you said about writers as a whole could just as easily be said about the professional speaking community (of which I am a part, and which suffers equally if not more so from a dearth of quality and originality) the actors’ community, fellow horse back riders, and, in fact, the entire human race as a whole. I would note that more egocentric the work, the more likely it is to receive acknowledgement, applause and public recognition, the more competitive, bitchy and nasty said community can get. That’s a whole ‘nuther article right there.
I’m a pretty prolific writer, and am working on my third book. I punch out — when home- two to three articles a day. While there is some repetition, since I have a few lanes I like to swim in like fitness after fifty and adventure travel- the real question, and this also goes to your point — is what the hell am I doing to ensure that my evergreen topics remain fresh? Other writers, and I count myself among them, speak to the fact that first, you don’t copy and paste others’ original stuff and call it yours. You can tease out a line and then use that as scaffolding to make a point. Because Medium pays, there is a bum rush of folks who are wanna bes, but just as in the speaking community, it’s an 80–20 rule. Much of what’s out there is cringe-worthy. So second, get the fuck out the door and LIVE, which gives you gravitas and gets you that necessary POV. Only out 20% of us do that. I write tons when I am home, because for very long swaths of time I am out doing very epic shit all over the world. That tends to give me pretty rich copy. Not everyone can or should do that. The point, and I know you get this, Matt, is to fucking. Get. Out.The. Door. Risk. Live. Try. Do. Fail spectacularly. Pick yourself back up. Rinse. Repeat.
Cavett Roberts, the guy who late in life developed a speaking career which led to what is now the National Speakers’ Association, used to tell everyone he me that they could be a speaker. That’s very kind and completely wrong. Any more than everyone and anyone can write. Dear god, NO.
There are way too many hacks who don’t choose to do the work. That goes for just about any profession. While I understand the compulsion to want the money without the sweat, the accolades without the inevitable shit sandwiches which by Universal Law have to precede them, that desire doesn’t change the rules. We have to earn eyeballs. Period. If people are going to read my stuff, I have to write something engaging enough to draw them in and keep them there. Again, to your point. Funny/original/deep whatever, it has to add value. That’s no different from what I have long trained businesses about selling to the Fortune 500. If we can’t add value, we don’t get the contract. In this case, that contract is the commitment to read, clap for and engage with someone’s articles. Thanks again and best of luck to you Matt.