Thursday, August 08, 2013


Many, many moons ago, I wrote a post about writing for the desk drawer in which I discussed, very briefly, how a writer can not just write for the desk drawer. A writer has to eventually write to be read, and then considered. Writing as an exercise is all well and good, but eventually you need to write to be read.

That is a giant leap of faith, and it is not to be taken lightly. It is a huge paradigm shift for anyone. It is the shift from writing for yourself, and that entails, to writing for someone other person or group of people. Their expectations are certainly going to be different from your own, and are going to vary widely among the group as a whole. You will not, no matter how hard you try, be able to meet all of those expectations. It is just simply impossible. This group of people that you might have the gall to call your 'audience' are most certainly a diverse group of people. If they are not diverse, then you have not been living your life correctly. Everyone needs a wide cross section of friends, and if you don't possess one, then you are losing out on a lot of seriously important life experiences.

This shift can be quite paralyzing, after all, now you are writing for someone to read. It is like becoming a director instead of an actor. Your point of view will change whether you want it to or not, and it will be a lot harder to understand how that shift is to be accomplished.  After all, spending a certain number of years writing only for yourself has probably led you to have some bad habits in your writing.  The idea that you are now writing for people, as you like to call the people you want to read you, is going to force you to be a little more careful. Not that writing for yourself didn't require some care. There are at least seven blog posts in my 'draft' folder that I can not quite bring myself to publish. Some are just too painful, some are too mean, and one could be life altering.

I have a couple of companions that fancy themselves writers, one I have read, and one that I have not. I had occasion to speak to both of them last night over a few drinks, and I exhorted both of them to 'just bloody write something'.  Perhaps that is what 'real' writers do, encourage each other to write things for the other to read. I am not by any stretch of the imagination (which I lack) a writer, and maybe they aren't yet either, but each of us feels the tug to shove words into sentences, marshal sentences into paragraphs, and stack paragraphs upon a page for other people to read.  It may or may not be dross, but there a quite a few people who are living large by writing dross.

The idea that these talented friends of mine will take my advice and write something for me to read is quite exciting, and also a bit terrifying. After all, they are going to make the same demands upon me, and I must needs get my shit together and accept their challenge. Writers, if they are going to succeed, need to be read, they need to be challenged, and they need to be edited (which of course is always the most painful part). It is a bit like singing like no one is listening, this writing for other people, we know we might warble a little bit off key, and some of the keystrokes we make are not as sad and delicate as they should be, but we have to continue to try. Because trying is the first step, be it in failing, or in succeeding, you have to try first. And in that trying, in that putting our words out there we take that first step away from the desk drawer into the great unknown.

This post is dedicated, in a small way, to those two geniuses that inspired me (without realizing it) last evening to get my fat ass back behind the keyboard, and to try to effect the shift from writing for the desk drawer, to writing to be read. I am both grateful to them for that inspiration, and terrified that I will not be able to meet whatever odd ball expectations that I place upon myself.  I can only hope that they feel the same way, and they see that in spite of the obstacles and despite our growing fears, they will write something fantastic that I will have the joy of reading.

Finally, there is one friend of long standing that I would like to invite back into the 'writing' fold. The one that challenged me, all those years ago, to write, and whom without (for better or worse) this blog would not exist. I know this person's life has taken a new, and exciting direction, and that life has taken a large chunk out of their creative time, but the writing world (such as I know it) is a much poorer place for their absence. Hopefully this will inspire them to at least attempt to come back to the fold, and write the brilliant stuff of which I know they are capable.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

more regular posts here then? that'd be interesting.