A man searching for a balanced life has many stories.
Someone asked me a question:
Hey, it’s Henry! I stumbled upon one of your posts in which you write: “Writing IMHO is the hardest thing anyone could ever pursue. You murder your babies over and over. It’s not easy.” My question, is, if it’s hard, what keeps you going? In other words, what does writing do for you? Thanks, and keep doing what you do!
You’ve asked a very broad and difficult question. Succinctly, I could say stubbornness, ideology, power, or passion…but it’s not really that simple. Some authors say they “must” and they have no choice. Others say that it’s art and self expression. All of them are true, but none of them really encompass what writing is.
You may as well ask why people do art at all. Any art. Artists see their art form as one of the, if not THE highest form of artistry. I’m no different in believing that Writing is the most powerful form. It is the deepest and the most impactful and meaningful communication between the author and the audience.
When a reader reads—he becomes the character. He believes everything that happens and accepts the consequences of the main character’s actions as if they were his own. People, no matter who they are—scientist or layman—believes that the highest form of evidence is personal experience. You could show study after study displaying something opposite of a personal experience, and as long as they remain unconvinced that a trick was played on them, they will believe their own experience above whatever the research or the masses say.
When people read fiction, even though they know you are lying to them, they believe it as if they experienced it themselves. A reader’s senses are engaged on all levels. Sight, smell, taste, touch, sound—but also thought. No other form of media can do this.
So instead, I’ll tell you what I think writing does both to the author and reader. Writing makes us SEE others. Writing makes us empathetic and understanding. We become aware of what shapes us and what we desire; we become honest with ourselves even into the darkest pits of shame. We find hope through stories and lessons that can teach us. We see what laws bind us and which ones we can break. Writing is freedom because through the experience of writing or reading both, we know—
We know more. About ourselves or others or the real world or our imagination.
What I’m saying is that Writing helps me in all these things just by writing, sure, but in order to access the READER’S mind on the same level I experience my story, I have to learn how to write better and better. To write is to learn to speak to the reader’s soul, and the fact is that everyone is different. Writers are trying with ink on a page and sentences and paragraphs—a static and inanimate manuscript—to clearly communicate to the diverse and dynamic audience known as PEOPLE.
It’s impossible. You can’t speak to everyone. But we try, anyway. Someday, maybe they can experience the same thing we do. Someday, maybe they can experience something deeper than us because of their individual and unique selves.
And then people change. Because of words on a page.
Through lies, we are telling truth. And truth is the only thing that speaks to all people no matter who they are or where they came from. This, sir, is power. I can only hope that it’s the responsible ones who get this power, because we’ve seen it time and time again through history. Literature can change nations.
So why do I write? I write because there is something in me that must speak to those that would listen. Or maybe there’s more. That’s kind of what I’m discovering.
I hope this answered your question. It’s probably more than you actually wanted to know.