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