Monday, May 16

Creative Writing: why bother?

Creative writing is a curious game.  So many people seem to want to do it, yet the odds of success seem stacked against the budding writer, and even those who do establish a viable career usually have to work hard for relatively little in the way of fame and fortune.  So why do it?

The value of literature

One way of looking at the question is to focus on the writing itself, the end-product. Literature is of course a worthwhile thing in itself: it has been described as a 'life support system', and applications in crime reduction and therapy have been tried with some success.

If worthwhile literature is to exist, then someone has to 'do' writing, and do it well.  In any artistic field, the more people there are to do it, the better the chance of finding one who does it really well.  But this doesn't explain the motivation on individuals who do it.

Life as a writer

If writing is anything more than a hobby or passtime, then you have to assume that the writer him/herself has an aim.  I think that for most new writers I've met, these goals fall into two main categories, with a bit of overlap:

- Become a commercially successful writer/earn money
- Write something good/that other people enjoy reading

For many people, writing is a career like any other - a way to earn a crust, perhaps in combination with some offshoot activities like reviewing or tutoring.  I'd say the majority of new writers have taken this approach, with varying levels of clarity about what they're aiming for!

Enjoyment of the product

It seems logical to say that if the aim is not to make money, then it must be to write 'well', or at least for others to think that it is done well.  I guess this is my category, as I already have a career as a teacher.  I began because it was fun, but as with any task, it quickly occurred to me that I'd enjoy it more if I was better at it.

Bookshelf by jurvetson
The second category is a happy place - and also a comfortable waiting room until you declare yourself ready for the other camp!

What is your motivation...?

So, why did you take an interest in creative writing?  Do you see yourself 'being a writer', or is there a subject matter that is important to you?  Do you just love literature, and want to add to it?  Have you diversified from another field?

No comments:

Post a Comment