THE POWER OF ONE

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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.