Thursday, October 22, 2009

Being Yourself as a Writer Pt. 2

Let's talk about another side of "being yourself" in writing... the aspirational side. Yeah, yeah, we're not Shakespeare. So what?

There are no new ideas, and maybe only seven plot structures. So what?

We know these things, and yet we write. I assume that this is because we each have a story to tell, something important to each of us that we want to put out there into the world. Which means that -- even if we're writing fiction instead of writing memoir or a personal blog -- we are trying to show a certain facet of ourselves to others.

I also imagine that we're trying to show our best selves. (Yes, even if we're writing about human flaws, we are ultimately trying to be our best as we present these stories.)

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.
-- Joss Whedon

What do you hope to show about yourself through your writing? Perhaps simply that you are a creative storyteller. Perhaps something deeper. What do you aspire to?

The fabulous Moonrat at Editorial Ass(istant) recently posted a link to Alexander Chee's essay about studying with Annie Dillard, and I'm getting very inspired by the whole thing, and thinking more about what I want my writing to do. Here's the part she liked best:
Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible.
The question is not, why do you WRITE? It is, why do YOU write? What do you hope to bring to writing, simply by being yourself?


  1. This is definitely a huge question, one I need to ponder for a while. Right now, I'm going to say that I write because I need to, because it's that much a part of me. I write because I feel it's a ministry God has called me to. I write because He's given me stories that only I have. Have a great day!

  2. I write because I can't NOT write. It's a constant need for me. During periods of my life where I'm not writing, I feel lost.

  3. Great question...So many ways to answer it!

  4. I guess I like to write because I like to read. I find through writing I am better able to communicate what I want to say. When I communicate through speaking and really stick my foot in my mouth big time, I can't edit what I said--only try to explain myself or apologize. At least when writing I have a better chance of catching something that maybe I shouldn't say and then rewrite accordingly.

  5. I write because I have something unique to say. Often, I don't know what it is until the manuscript is done!

  6. I hope my writing shows that I have a brain and use it :) I hope it shows that I have something worthwhile to say... that's the hope:)

  7. I am writing (this, right here) because I think your blog is rather awesome and I wanted to tell you that. :)

  8. I write because I have stories in my head that I must tell. And it brings me closer to God. Teaches me to trust Him. Also, I write because I like sharing my stories with othera. :)

  9. I want to inspire people to ask the Big Questions, like when George Lucas portrayed Jedi's & The Force, he says he wasn't trying to define a spirituality, but to introduce ideas, so people would continue asking questions & looking around at what's out there

  10. Okay, now I have a problem with that poster because I love Titus Andronicus.

    One day, many years ago, I turned up in Stratford and the only play on that night was Titus Andronicus, which I'd never read. The lead was played by some unknown actor called...Kenneth Brannagh. He's a genius. I loved it.