When I look at what I do as a writer and the emotions I go through creating my pieces, I find great comparisons to be made to my singer/song writer uncle and my graphic design teacher/painter friend. Too many writers write while ignoring the notion that they might be an artist, as though it doesn’t matter. They suffice to call it a craft. I am given a lot of crap for a slogan I bear without shame or guilt that holds true to this conversation, a slogan that demands our will to make realities manifest. “Do It Intentionally.”
If you write with the same intention that a woodworker has when making a chair for function, your writing will only be seen as an afterthought. In all its glory, it may challenge the heights of a coffee table book or a stack of magazines to give a mind “something to do.” But a woodworker can also make a throne. They can make a place for thinkers, great scientists and philosophers, to ponder stagnation, progression, regression, essentially perception of mankind’s wandering steps through reality.
Writing holds that same majesty, the difference between a jingle on the radio and a life-changing song that demands attention, action, and, mainly, thoughtfulness from the listener.
The difference is intention.
The reality is I am creating. Something I demand all fiction writers embrace. To think we are merely entertaining is hogwash. To entertain the masses is to take stagnation by the hand and tell other notions to look away. We do entertain, but the primary objective must be seen for what it is: to sell a philosophy, a point of view driven from our soul to our fingertips. Too many examples in contemporary literature have been made with the intention to entertain, and nothing is gained from reading these aside from a little R&R.
Writing is narcissistic; it has to be. And the writer is best to acknowledge this. Creating a piece and putting it out there is a proclamation. My ideas have merit and I insist others consider them. This is why the crafty entertainer has nothing on the artist. The entertainer puts something out as a distraction, while the artist puts something out to gain traction.
Consider the comedian. Their job is to point things out that just aren’t right in society: from the faux pas to the structural integrity of our culture. This is something we all do obnoxiously well. The difference is the comedian packages these notions in ways that are easy and fun to digest. Alas, the comic is riddled with a curse. They often bring things to our attention, but rarely provide solutions. Solutions are not funny, and they take a hell of a lot of work. Every solution is faulty, just as is every reality. It’s easy to point out why, and even easier to beg others to stagnate in worries that the potential risks of one unseen reality far outweigh the risks of today.
This is where the artist comes in. The artist can depict a reality with solutions. An artist takes the questions of the comedian and gives them breath, gives them a world in which they thrive. That reality then dictates their success, prompting deeper discussion to take place. Considerations must be made, and the ideas cannot be dismissed while ignorance binds with simplicity and ease.
So take what you will from this piece, but I hope I have accomplished two things. The first is that you take at least another minute to consider the implications of a piece you may be working on in an effort to decide whether or not such thoughts are worth attention and consideration. If not, do not discard the piece, rather find ways to guide your work to something the reader should be chewing on as far as your discretion demands. Second, and most importantly, write with a pen connected to the mind. Write with a stream of consciousness that inspires consciousness. Write like an artist.
I look forward to reading your masterpiece.