The hot topic on Twitter among writers this week was whether you had to go to a fancy workshop like Clarion in order to call yourself a "real writer." In my column, I weigh in with some Very Serious answers on this Very Serious topic.
This week, the illustrious Neil Gaiman tweeted an endorsement of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, a pricey, six-week writing retreat in California:
Whoa, wait a minute! Did he mean “need” in the same sense that we need oxygen to breathe?
The answer is yes, that’s exactly what he meant, and if you don’t have six weeks and a few thousand bucks to spare, there’s no daily word count that will save you, poseur.
This revelation ignited a firestorm among the common rabble. Many writers argued that Famous Author Neil Gaiman had forgotten that not everybody goes to bed with a rock star on top of a pile of money, and that many writers have various personal and financial obstacles preventing them from attending such programs—obstacles that Gaiman works tirelessly from the shadows to keep in place. Tough job market? Rising child-care costs? Debilitating disease? If you knew how much power and influence he and his fellow Real Writers have over your day-to-day lives, you’d never pick up another book again.
Are You a Real Writer? at Writer Unboxed