Why Aren’t More Writers Pop Stars

I really don’t get it. Is there anything happening in entertainment right now that doesn’t involve a writer? Music? Nope. Movies? No way. TV? Not a chance. Even commercials, websites, every single thing you read online was written by someone behind a laptop (or maybe some writers still use pens, who knows).

Point is, writers make the world go round. Yet anyone not named Lena Dunham or Shonda Rhimes struggle to get much recognition. No, that’s not exactly true. I mean struggle to get the same recognition as your favourite pop star.

Like why isn’t Veronica Roth as idolized as Taylor Swift? Why isn’t John Green as well known as Drake. The Fault in Our Stars sold over a million copies. Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy sold over six million copies. And these are books people. Books that take more than three minutes for each chapter and more than 45 minutes for an entire story.

Yet I bet very few people could pick either of these authors out of a lineup. And when I say “people,” I don’t mean us book lovers. We lovers of language who can list at least five Robert Patterson books on cue, or whose favourite author is Annie Dewitt. No, not us. I mean “people.”

Everyday people. People who wake up to notifications from their cell phones. People whose source of news is TMZ. These people, who peruse social media for facts. Whose lives are consumed by the 24 hour cycle of babble partly created by us writers.

I don’t think we’ll see any reporter asking Lauren Groff who she’s wearing on the red carpet tonight any time soon. But we should. Popular culture should embrace writers like they do any other pop star.

They should sing their praises, troll their Instagram feeds, be waiting outside their homes with cameras snapping every second till these writers snap and go all Chris Brown. But that won’t happen. Probably never.

No matter how many hits Max Martin writes, he’ll always be in the background. And without Googling, can anyone tell me who wrote the screenplay for Straight Outta Compton?

But to the background we descend. We writers are often writers for a reason. The background doesn’t bother us. Recognition for ourselves comes a distant second to the recognition we want for our work. So we write, and then watch everyone else enjoy the benefits of what we’ve created.  We watch others perform our work on stage, on camera, on the microphone, or on the big screen. We watch, and we watch, and we smile, and we go back to our space and write some more.

And nothing makes us happier…