Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who do you write for?


 Who do we as writers write for? Do we write for agents, or publishers, critics or our readers? Who should we be writing for? More over, whose words are we putting on the paper? Are they from the list of socially acceptable words or are they our own?

It is said that writers are not unlike bad psychologists. They try and string together realistic events mostly from a limited set of personal experiences to make a point that could have simply been stated in fewer words. While weaving these tales we become afraid to include stories that may or may not contradict someone’s worldview. During this we fail to ask "Whose story should be told? What story should I be telling?" The answer has been provided to us by society: any story that is not offensive, of course!

Writers seem to forget that writing is not like science in its irrationality but similar in that it is basically experimentation.  Writing should not become boring to us nor should the words that we write. Whether you’re writing is good or bad it should be welcomed if it is genuinely trying to birth something new.

Whose stories should be told? It should be those that haven't been told before. Previously, this would have meant anything that was considered socially or morally taboo. Now however it means those whose experiences do not qualify as "real" or “pretty”— experiences that don’t conform to the narrative structure or "selection criteria" of modern literary fiction.

We as writers should refuse to give in, refuse to stop trying new things. We should also not be afraid to say, "This is not the kind of thing I want to be writing. This is common, boring." We should think; let our brains roam those corridors that we had once closed off from ourselves. We should dream and we should write—write and write and write. Share our writing with others, and don’t be worried if someone criticizes your choices. If we have a point to make we should tell the story, and see what happens. If we write something and see it has been done before, we should gain what we can from that and move on. We should not be constrained to the “norm”, and we should believe in ourselves, in our own words. Remember that we are writers because we have imaginations, the ability to dream and pull that dream over into our own reality to share with others. It is in our perceptions of and by others that we may have a real effect. Becoming a writer was your choice, just as choosing what to write about is. Be creative, be real, be yourself, be a writer. Sate rage with joy, sorrow with ecstasy, despair with hope; think outside your regular boundaries. Make your writing yours, and then you've done all you can do. More importantly, you have done what you should do.

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