What's Wrong with those "Writers"?

by - 8:50 PM

Ladies and gentlemen: I've got a serious announcement to make: I am annoyed. Not just a little, no, I am very annoyed. You see, I have a serious problem with some people who call themselves writers these days. These people's writing has been published in papers and magazines. Now don't go saying that my name suits me perfectly, because it's not envy that's causing my annoyance. I am frustrated with the fact that these people call themselves 'columnists', the say they write 'columns', while they clearly have no idea what the a real Dutch column is!

My frustration started back in 10th grade, when I had to write an essay on whatever had my interest. I couldn't care less about writing this essay, but I did want to know more about another type of text: the column, which is slightly different in the Netherlands than in other places in the world. I did a lot of research and wrote an explanatory text with the great title 'What the f*** is a column?!'. I bet that was the first and last time my teacher saw a sophomore frop an F-bomb in the title of an essay. As much as I hated writing this essay, I learned a lot about the Dutch type of column because of all the research I did. So since the age of 15 I've known that a Dutch columnist writes short pieces of text (about 400 words long), mostly about current affairs. They're sometimes written as a kind of satire and most important: their main goal is to make people both think and laugh. Pretty clear, right?
Two weeks later I got an A on my essay, which was a small miracle considering that I had used the big scary F-word in the title. It wasn't the end of my interest in columns though: after writing about it, I wanted to write one myself. I just didn't know what to write about (quite frankly I still don't know), so I started reading lots and lots of columns. That's where it went wrong.

Every morning I read the paper. Every day this paper publishes a column written by a reader. And those people who write those columns are all aspiring writers, just like me. But not a single one seems to know what a column is supposed to be like.
Over the last week this is what I saw in the paper, with the label 'column' slapped onto it:

  • A girl telling how proud she is of her sister who's failed her high school finals twice
  • A girl telling that she'll regret not doing certain things when she's old
  • A guy telling what life was like when he just arrived in the Netherlands
  • A woman giving a lecture on the symptoms of a burnout
None of these articles ticked any of the boxes that would've made it a column (except for the word count, but even a five-year-old can look at a word count). You don't have to be a good writer to tell the world that your proud of your sister. There's nothing funny about any of the articles. And if I want to know what a burnout is, I'll look it up on wikipedia.
I know that these people have achieved a little more than I have. After all, there article has been published, even though it was a boring story on a tree or an explanation on burnouts. So I'll try to forgive these people for not knowing what they were doing. I mean, being published in this paper is more of an award with €100 in prize money than anything else. What really grinds my gears is that some people who know even less about decent column writing get paid on a weekly basis to write a story about... about what?
You see, the Dutch are obsessed with famous people, so papers and magazines employ these people as columnists. The result: stories about cats, kids and how the first barbeque of the year went. Not a column, just a story no one cared about if it were me who'd written it. Half of the time they aren't even well written. It's like a word vomit was put in a blender, then smeared on a piece of paper and the outlines became a new story for their precious 'column'.

Okay, okay, I might be exaggerating a little. But the thing is that I read a lot of blogs and I see a lot of talent. I see bloggers write funny and thought-provoking posts every single day and they don't get appreciation they deserve. Sometimes I like to think I'm one of those bloggers (not today though, because this is just a mediocre rant) and I feel the need to prove that we, aspiring writers of the internet, can do so much better than the woman who explained what a burnout is! That's why I'm picking up a pen and entering the newspaper's column competition. Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Stay Awesome!

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16 Fellow Ramblers

  1. ALL THE BEST ENVY FISHER! :D
    GO GET THEM! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Neal! (wow, that felt weird, calling you Neal even thought I know your name now...)
      I still don't have the perfect topic to write about, so I'm just writing about everything that comes to mind until it feels right :)

      Delete
  2. YOU GO GIRL!!. Sorry,I got a little carried away with the inspiration. I don't think you need the luck, based on what I've just read your writing trumps whatever those columns might read. Burnouts pfffft, what the hell are they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hahaha, I love it that you got a little carried away!
      I do need the luck though, cause people vote for the pieces of writing they like best. So people with burnouts have an advantage because everyone feels sorry for them :P
      Your comment made my day!

      Delete
  3. Good luck! Even authours these days... I swear a lot of my blogging friends can easily write a lot better than them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :)
      I totally agree. I see people posting a chapter or two from a story they're working on and it's just so much better than some things that actually get printed. Publishing houses should have talent scouts stalking the blogosphere!

      Delete
  4. Good luck Envy! I know, right? People (including celebrities) get so much attention but something that they wrote or said, and it's not even that interesting. There are a lot of talented bloggers out there who have such great posts but no one reads them, or it could be visa versa: a blog with many followers but with little post substance/back bone. Like, what? The world is so weird. But that essay you wrote sounds amazing! I took a chance at this last school year, the one that just ended, writing about a really painful memory, and I got an A but was like, I'm so confused as to why I got an A, but I'll take it! :D

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Morning!
      Apparently the trick is to get famous, then publish a book that sucks :P Maybe we should try to get all the good bloggers we know super famous so they'll get noticed and then we'll finally get some good quality fiction from celebrity writers :P
      If you got an A, I bet your essay was amazing! ;)

      Delete
  5. I never really thought about this. You do have a point though. The columnists that I read do not follow the protocol that you mentioned. I also liked the fact that unlike most people, you, instead of just ranting and complaining, are actually doing something to prove your point. ALL THE VERY BEST!

    Love,
    Saee
    Wonderland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Saee!
      I think this is a protocol that only Dutch writers follow. I've always had this huge drive to prove myself. You won't hear me complain about writers without seeing me try to show how it's supposed to be done :P

      Delete
  6. WOOO HOOO! Good luck! ^_________________________^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU ^__________________________________________^

      Delete
  7. Hey! Your site is really awesome, I'm an 18-year-old writer who is right now in the process of getting a lit agent. It's been hard. But, on the brighter side I stared a blog, hope you'd like to see it!

    https://marleykorzenart.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      All the best for finding an agent. I'll check your blog out soon

      Delete

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good! Wait, no, I mean: I solemnly swear that I will answer each and every comment ;)