During a radio interview yesterday, an author complained that these days everyone wants to be a writer, but nobody reads books. Bucking the trend to some extent, he pointed to a magazine on the west coast that only read submissions accompanied by a sales slip indicating that the would-be author had bought a book.
Everyone's got something to say. Everyone would like others to listen. Has it ever been any different? I don't think so. It's just that now the internet does not discriminate -- as publishing establishments once did -- between good writing and bad. There is no fickle finger of fate sending out pink slips that say, "your writing skills suck."
And where no one can yank your chain, the willingness to believe you have something interesting to say trickles weed-fashion across neighboring tracts. No critic says, "boring" or "derivative" or "repetitive" or just plain "stupid." The playing field has been leveled on the internet and with a level playing field, why should anyone be expected to read? Some people write better than others ... equality is not the point. How can anyone be expected to sift through every bit of mediocrity, however heart-felt or sincere? I sure as hell won't.
Reading may be a strong informer of writing, but you have to be devoted to writing before you find that out. And is there some cachet to writing? Less and less that I can see.