And Jesus said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his [accomplishments]." And he told them a parable, saying, "The [mind] of a rich [wo]man produced plentifully, and [s]he thought to [her]self, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my [thoughts]?' And [s]he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my [blog] and build [a more accomplished one], and there I will store all my [thoughts] and my [writings]. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample [publications and a great reputation]; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to [her], 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A letter in response to a friend re: writing

Hey _____________,

I understand where you’re coming from [when you say “a poem’s primary purpose is to communicate what I want to say the way I want to say it -- not to overthink and alter my wording so my audience can better understand my message”].

When we think too much about pleasing our audience, we compromise our freedom to write what feels “honest.” Lately, my writing has been crippled by my fear of sounding insipid or inane or unintelligent to a potential reader. I can’t write a sentence without loathing myself and wondering if other people will find my writing loathsome as well. Will “they” find this image cliche and overdone? How will “they” react to this graph? Am I fooling myself into thinking this is “art”?

So, you’re right, in a sense. There comes a point in every writers’ career where they have to say “screw what other people think” and maybe this is mine — or yours. But, at the same time, writing is a medium of communication — and, more often than not, it’s meant to be interpersonal. As much as I want to “write for myself,” I can’t help but think about my audience. Even if my philosophy of writing proves to be a polar opposite of yours, I think the both of us could agree that published authors should, at the very least, be mindful of potential readers. After all, the reader is investing their time in the piece. However, I think it’s possible to go to the extreme of being TOO mindful of the reader, which leads to the crippling I’ve talked about. How can we strike that balance?

Anyway, thanks for your response. I wish you and your writing all the best.


No comments:

Post a Comment