Writing as a Means to Stretch and as a Means to Create Artifacts
Whereas it’s beyond the scope of this blog to cast prognostics about modern civilization, its scope can be used to explore grounds for writing. Simply, certain folk devise texts as they enjoy or want to improve their process, whereas other folk devise texts as they enjoy or want to create a product.
Per the first motive, individuals generate manuscripts for the reason that they desire mastery of: a genre, a style, a topic, or various other elements of literature. Videlicet, many authors concoct sets of paragraphs to enhance their skills.
Outside of cross-genre efforts, some writers intentionally dally with categories of craft whose subject matter is beyond their primary focus. I, for one, specialize in speculative fiction, but push myself, every now and then, to write a mystery or to write an “inspirational” story. It’s vital to me to stay pliant (on balance, I remain troubled by the thought of writing a romance, that is, an account of a relationship that features a happy ending. Contrariwise, I’d readily fabricate tales in which dark resolutions are plentiful or in which dysfunctional, but contented, couplings take place. I prefer crafting nuanced narratives about human aberrations to manufacturing fetishized chronicles.)
Likewise, wordsmiths challenge themselves with word count. In my case, my most popular lengths are flash fictions and short stories. Nonetheless, I also write novellas and novels. To me, awards and remunerations are not as important as is growth. I laud improved prowess with development, meaning with explicating ideas, and with editing, meaning with truncating ideas.
Switching up subject matter is another, attractive writing challenge. In my case, seeing as my early adult years and midlife were centered around academia and parenting, respectively, many of my fictions take place in: apartments, universities, and research centers. On balance, I try, as well, to utilize an array of other settings such as farms, urban emporia, suburban transportation centers, and so on. It’s important that I stretch.
Simply, the convention of emphasizing process ahead of product suits many of us “persons of letters” given that the learning that takes place while we draft, redraft, and polish is, at times, more valuable than any single piece of our handiwork. Experienced scribblers and newbies both benefit from this kind of prioritizing.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s better to have palpable, short-range goals than to concern oneself with improving abilities. The entirety of cultivating proficiencies can appear overwhelming. Additionally, some parties seemingly don’t care at all about quality.
A significant sum of up-and-coming scribes seeks to leave a mark on the world; those wordies aim to create legacies, to tilt at public opinion, or to widely legitimize their frames of mind. They feel okay dong so since a considerable portion of our society deems itself entitled to shape words for reasons of profit, promotion, or fun. “Given the prevalence of eBooks [and of other easily authored media], writing has again become a popular pastime.”1
More than a few creators are disinterested in embracing the discipline needed for mastery. Inversely, their objectives might include getting a revenge poem published in an online venue, or seeing their family’s history reproduced in book form. They write for specialized purposes. For me, writing sequels fits this rationale. I might have compelling projects on tap, or areas in which I aspire to better my competence, but I’ll temporize those ambitions to complete a book series.
Moreover, there are ink slingers who use their electronic and print platforms to share their visions, whether their innovations are designed to respond to or to catalyze world events. Consider Claire Dederer’s The Paris Review essay, “What Do You Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?”2 In that article, Dederer suggests that the inventive works of atrocious men, especial of men of the ilk unearthed by the #MeToo Movement, ought not to be discarded “merely” because their makers are brutes. At the time of her essay’s publication, Dederer succeeded in garnering attention for her writing, and, perhaps, in impacting amassed views.3, 4
What’s more, on occasion, people engineer (or peruse) art not for reasons of current (or posthumous) renown, but to mirror their real (or imagined) lives. For instance, a selection of “experts” claim that Fifty Shades of Grey, and its sequels, are about “unconditional love and redemption,”5 not about bondage play. In positioning those titles as reflecting common experiences, critics cause them to be culturally relevant. Despite the fact that I can’t and have no interest in perceiving E.L. James’ thoughts and that I won’t read her books, as a writer concerned with marketing my merchandise, I appreciate her sanctioning her alleged personal fantasies visa via successfully recording and distributing them.
In sum, originators rustle up sets of words in order to benefit from their artifacts or from their artifacts’ byproducts. Ostentatiousness outsells nuance, and industry practices encourage pandering over actual dialectic in nonfiction, and over well-constructed make-believe in fiction. Quixotic posturing still realizes value for a great number of writers.
It’s understood that creatives fashion texts in order to improve their writing aptitudes, in order to see particular products of theirs propped up, for both reasons, or, in rare situations, for neither (writing can be engaged in as an intellectual type of doodling.) These days, many wordies have whys and wherefores for their compositions; their bases for writing continue to be varied.
1. KJ Hannah Greenberg. “Preface.” Tosh: Select Trash and Bosh of Creative Writing. Crooked Cat Books: Toulouse, France, 2017. iii.
2. Claire Dederer. “What Do You Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?” The Paris Review. Nov. 20, 2017. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/11/20/art-monstrous-men/. Retrieved Dec. 19, 2017.
3. Ari Shapiro. “How People are Grappling with ‘Art from Monstrous Men.’” “All Things Considered.” National Public Radio. TS. Nov. 24, 2017. https://www.npr.org/2017/11/24/566387340/how-people-are-grappling-with-art-from-monstrous-men. Retrieved Dec. 19, 2017.
4. Alice Brace. “Thoughts on What We Should Do with the Art of Monstrous Men.” Medium. Nov. 21, 2017. https://medium.com/@AliceSwelly/thoughts-on-what-we-should-do-with-the-art-of-monstrous-men-560dc8f73bc8. Retrieved Dec. 19, 2017.
5. Kirsten Andersen. “The real reason 50 Shades is so wildly popular (HINT: It’s not the sex).” [sic]. LifeSite: Life, Family & Culture News. Feb. 10, 2015. https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-real-reason-50-shades-is-so-wildly-popular-hint-its-not-the-sex. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2017.
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