So You Want to be Writers?

For WritersWriters? Really? In this day and age of shrinking readership? A time when video games, a thrill-a-minute movies and digital media are stealing the public’s attention away?

There’s no money in it, you’re told – except for a lucky few. Go train for a real job.

And, perhaps, there is some evidence to support this view.

Are Writers Dispensable?

But you know what? The stats don’t really matter. The truth is that the world needs writers. Without a clear and unfaltering narrative, society has no sustained and unambiguous conscience. It can’t fully grasp or describe its dreams. It can’t vividly and critically explore the possibility of a brighter future against a backdrop of darker ones, thoughtfully and cogently, weighing up the consequences of each.

Writing is, by its very nature, equipped to expose, explore, evaluate. Yet, it can entertain as much as it can school.

Films present meaningful narratives, but they need screenwriters to do so. Games, too, need writers to create the game worlds their characters inhabit. Art and music can indeed critique and inspire society, but its appreciation and significance is often communicated through words, after the fact.

In their purest form, stories that first exist as novels, novellas and the like, being able to directly inhabit a character’s mind, uniquely capture the debate around a theme, a moral system. They minutely trace consequences in a way that is difficult to do elsewhere. So much so, that they often inspire other forms.

We could sit here all day debating the strengths and weaknesses of our craft in our contemporary world, but it wouldn’t really matter. Because ultimately, true writers are stubborn, willful, and imbued with a sense of purpose that can’t be shaken off.

Writers are born, not made. We do what we do because we can’t imagine doing anything else. And you can take that to the bank.

Summary

Writers consider their labours as a calling and not a mere job.

4 thoughts on “So You Want to be Writers?

  1. Dr. Ann R. Wolven

    As a former journalist and a college English instructor, I try to get my students to see the importance of writing and being able to communicate your thoughts both orally and in writing. Telling them that they write all of the time comes as a shock to them, especially when I point out how much they use social media and apps. I know it is a different type of writing than you’re discussing, but it is the most writing that many of my students do until they get to college. Some students are lucky to have a high school or middle school teacher who stressed proper writing in their classes, but I have also had students who have never written an essay in high school because it simply wasn’t assigned. I love writing, I love expressing my thoughts, critically analyzing concepts and events. I try to pass that passion on to my students, especially in my Composition I class where I mix fictional writing in with the required formal essays. Realizing that many of my students will just leave my class feeling that they are better prepared for essays in other college classes, a few of them will catch the passion and go on to write books, plays, scripts, blogs, news stories, etc. When you mentioned the money part of writing, I laughed. As a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in the early 1980s I was told that we would be lucky to make $10,000 a year! Luckily, my husband who is an electrical engineer for rural power companies makes enough that I was able to pursue my love of writing as a print journalist for several years until our children were born. Then, a former editor teaching at Lynchburg College asked me to come teach journalism, and my love of teaching was born.

    My passion for reading and writing started at tea parties with my Grandmother when I was four. We would read and write stories in her library while drinking out of her “special” tea cups. She always encouraged me to try writing what ever I wanted, especially poetry. It was that encouragement to express myself that molded me into the writer I became and the teacher I am. While not everyone will have a Grandmother with a library filled with amazing books and tea parties, I do hope that those who love to write will follow their passion.

    Reply
    1. Stavros Halvatzis Post author

      Thank you for your comments, Ann. How well I remember the stories read to me by my parents as a child. The magic and wonder I felt then is still with me. Another benefit of writing is that it allows you to make sense of your life as you skip, or limp along – depending on the circumstances. After all, understanding the nature of stories is how we understand our own lives.

      Reply
  2. Gerhard Pistorius

    In a word , WOW…
    I can only imagine that this article is aimed at young people who’s parents are worried about there futures. To be honest I am taken off guard by the deep message of this article for up until now the content of this blog has been focusing on the methods of writing rather than the practicality of writing as a profession. All I can say is this. Yes it is true, fewer and fewer young children willingly choose to read oppose to watching or playing. But one thing can not be denied, the ability to write is perhaps the most profound trade that separates human-beings from animals. Before any figure of authority can be immortalized, ideology formed, film can be shot , video came played or stage production preformed one needs to WRITE the destiny of a character’s Fate. Writers will never die out for we define the documentation of the human race.

    Reply

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