ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writing - Are You A Gold Prospector or A Craftsman

Updated on January 3, 2012

There are two kinds of writers - craftsman and gold prospectors.

Umberto Eco is the perfect example of the craftsman - he spent 8 years writing his best-seller, "The Name of the Rose". It's been followed by a string of best-sellers; "Foucault's Pendulum", "The Island of the Day Before", and "Baudolino". He has also written several books of essays: "Five Moral Pieces", "Kant and the Platypus", "Serendipities", "Travels In Hyperreality", and "How To Travel With a Salmon and Other Essays".

The internet has popularized a new type of writer - the gold prospector. The gold prospector knows that most claims he stakes won't pay off. Most his digging will be in vain. Most books are destined to find few readers. The rare post will race to the top of the blogosphere.

But one big strike is all he needs - it has the potential to make his reputation and set him up for life. There is a lot of day-to-day risk, but if he is prolific he can manage his long-term risk. The art of gold prospecting is learning to maximize the chance of getting a big strike. Gold prospectors are gamblers - relying on probability to ensure success in the long-term.

The math goes like this. Say your chance of success is only 2%. If you write 50 articles - then at least one of them should be hot. If you write 1000 articles, then 20 of them will likely be popular. A writing prospector can thrive despite the low odds, but he needs to be prolific and learn the art of maximizing his chances of a strike.

You could say how can the prospector market those 500 articles. The rise of the Internet and eBooks has made the marketing much more manageable for the prospector. In the past, new writers could collect hundreds of rejections before publishing their first book. Now writers can self-publish to Amazon Kindle while learning the ropes.

If you are a gold prospector most projects will be failures. You'll lose time and money. But other projects will succeed beyond your expectations. It averages out over time. It is very difficult to predict success ahead of time, but there are Google tools that let you check the popularity of different keywords and the zeitgeist of different topics.

Some writers are simply not interested in prospecting. Their temperament is best suited to craftsmanship. I'm convinced that either approach to writing can work. Prospectors and craftsmen have different spirits, but can be equally successful. Prospectors accept failures as part of their business, whereas craftsman would rather avoid failures entirely.

Which type of writer are you?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)