Reasons I write: why, what and how.
|Recently I began to share my writing and my writing immediately suffered. The "Author" in me became focused on my fans and my critics. The writing morphed into other's expectations and stopped being my own. Eventually, it ceased all together. The response of others to my opinions had stolen a personal joy. More accurately, my reaction to their responses resulted in a creative meltdown. Sadly, I had done this to myself.
Looking back at the mess I had created, I asked "Why did I write?". My initial response was habit. I have kept a diary since the second grade, when I learned to write, mechanically not creatively. As an excercise in penmanship I wrote in my journal every day. Time passed, the writing became a creative endeavour. High school yearbook, college paper, group newsletters. I've written for them all. Writing is in my blood. It is second nature to me. I write because I can.
However, there is nothing in this logic that explains the impact of the readers' opinion; the erosion of my writing. People have been reading my work for years. I still have not addressed my dilemma. During the process of self examination, the light went on. I was asking the wrong question.
Left off the end of the question was a single word of great importance. I should be asking "Why do I write now?".
I do so for a million reasons that can be boiled down to one: It makes me feel good. I express what's on my mind. I wrestle with the pros and cons of political/social issues.I manage anger, contemplate philosophy, mock those I deem deserving and grieve for things lost. Adding "now" to the question accounts for the shift from writing on behalf of others for a receptive mass to writing original ideas for an audience of one. It is no wonder I am taking the feedback personally. My writing has not been designed to be enjoyed by others, only shared with those that are intersted.
To borrow a sentiment from Shakespeare, "to share, or not to share?". Hundreds of newspapers and other periodicals publish editorials and opninions every day. Many of these articles are read by those who love to hate the author and their material. These authors do not waiver amidst a cloud of discontent. You get what you get. Criticism and discussion only strengthen the writer's conviction. On occassion, constructive feedback may cause a scribe to review his/her conclusions, but never does a real writer doubt one's own opinions or feelings; they are the foundation of our craft; they are the essence of our soul.
Now, I choose to share. To do this, I must write what I believe, op/ed pieces and some essays. I write to provoke a response and make the reader think. Love me or hate me, I'm not going to hide. This is my reality; feel free to create your own.