At The Writer’s Cooperative, results from a survey taken by 700+ writers. Have you published a novel, are you working on a novel right now, did you study creative writing, are you part of a writer’s group online, off line, etc.
It’s mildly interesting. The most interesting thing to me is that a pretty large minority of respondents said they actively write on multiple devices. This seems strange to me. I would be annoyed if I had to continuously merge one document with another, or worse, one type of file with another.
A majority of respondents use Word. Well, sure. Why not? Everybody’s got it on their computer, everyone already knows how to use it, when you send a copy to somebody as a Word attachment, they’ll be able to open it and read it and it will look right without having to fiddle with it. Or if they want to change the font or spacing or something, that’s easy and they already know how to do it.
(I know “everyone” is a tiny bit of an exaggeration, but I don’t think it’s a huge exaggeration for people who have finished a novel.)
The survey was done by people who develop software for writers. Tough gig, probably, when dedicated software meant specifically for writers strikes me — and I’m sure I’m not alone here — as totally unnecessary. I’m sure I’m not the only one who steps back from learning how to use a new program when I already have a perfectly good program in Word.
Strangest comment, imo:
A number of writers are hesitant to study creative writing, seeing it as an art that should not require outside teaching or mentoring. What they often forget is that in every other art form (painting, sculpting, music, etc.) it is normal and even expected that beginners will learn the basics of their art in a college setting or from an expert. Why should novel writing be any different?
The question did not ask anything that would allow evaluation of writer’s attitudes toward creative writing classes. It was just a straight up Did you study Creative Writing. Also, I think the authors of the survey might take note of the large proportion of writers who did not study Creative Writing and re-evaluate their assumption that these classes are helpful.
Especially since Creative Writing programs are famously hostile to genre writing. I don’t know if they really are; I never took any creative writing classes, as far as I can remember. But to the extent that they assume Literary Is It, of course they will turn off everyone who doesn’t like Literary.
Still, it’s always interesting to see results from surveys like this, even if the survey seems to have some flaws.