It is very difficult to motivate yourself to write something clever and witty when you look at your dashboard and see that you have had one visitor all day. ONE VISITOR! My grandfather has had more than that today – and he has been dead for 60 years!
Do we writers ever ask ourselves who or what are we writing for? I think I can safely say there are more writers around today than at any time in history. Recently somebody came up with a figure of 150 million blogs alone on the internet. I think I will do a Hemingway – get out my shotgun and blow my brains out!
Seriously, why do we do it? It’s not as if most of us are making any money out of it.
George Orwell says one motivation to write is sheer egoism, that we write out of the “desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.”
It could be a reason I suppose, but it could just as easily be more Orwellian clap-trap.
Maybe we write to change the world? People consume now more than ever in the history of the world. We eat more, we listen to more music, and we consume more information. However, most people have the attention span of a gnat these days, so I don’t think that will wash.
To discover the meaning of life? Victor Frankl, the psychiatrist said “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose. Writers are uniquely gifted to find meaning for themselves and to help others find meaning. In fact, this has always been the main task of storytellers. Every story matters to the person living it, and our job is to tell the universal stories, the stories that reveal the story of every person on the earth”. Sound like a right load of psychiatric bollix to me!
I like Dylan Thomas’ words on the subject;
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.
2 thoughts on “THE POWER OF ONE”
If you’re thinking of pulling a Hemmingway, please don’t! It doesn’t ever end well. About writing, keep doing that. It’s a healthy release of emotional stuff, whether we get rich or not. Don’t Sylvia Plath either. Sure, I’ve written my share of “goodbye, world” notes. I’m frequently discouraged, to the point where my wife says I’m depressed and should get medication. Whereupon I send her to the store for a bottle of that. I’ll have a nip and a nap, and I feel adequate to go on. And then I go back to work. I tell her i’m not depressed because I’m depressed, I’m depressed because life is depressing. On the plus side, it gives me a long list of characters to threaten, injure, distress, render helpless, or kill off, in my novels. Or poems. I have such good fun thinking of how to induce some justice. Keep going! I do like both your essay and your poetry style. And as I’m reading a lot more blogs lately, by comparison to many, your stuff is top shelf.~MoeJoe
Thanks for your comments Moejoe. I was writing a bit tongue-in-cheek there – I wouldn’t have the bottle to do a ‘Hemingway’, even if I owned a gun! And if I was depressed, you have cheered me up!