Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I Write: The Selfish Writer


If you don't know yet, I just started my first year of university, where I'm majoring in English. That lovely bit of news is also the reason why posts on SOI have been so sporadic. Never fear though, I'm back! One of my first assignments was to create a manifesto where I explain why I write. At first I was unsure of the assignment and didn't quite know where to start, but after a week or so of humming and hawing I started working on it. I was amazed at what I came to realize about myself as a writer. It gave me a much clearer goal on what I'd like to write and how I'd like to write it. All that being said, I thought I'd share it with all of you.

The Selfish Writer

I write for selfish reasons. I do not undervalue the role of the reader, but I must be perfectly honest; at the root of all my reasoning, I write for myself first. I write to entertain myself with amusing scenarios, interesting characters or witty dialogue that I wish would occur in ordinary life. I write to create my own personal escape from the mundane bits of everyday life. However, I write for more than just my own entertainment; I write for my mental sanity. When I ignore my thoughts, ideas and stories my brain feels unsettled, like gears turning out of sync, that can’t quite click into each other. I write to unload my mental chaos onto the page; I write to organize all my strange and wonderful observations on life. I write to encourage myself to think new thoughts about old ways. I write to explore moral gray areas of life, because there are many, that all seem to demand impossible decisions. As Cary Fagan so succinctly put it, I write to reveal conflict. I don’t write to solve conflict, because that is an impossible feat. I write to pull inner conflicts out of the shadows, where they are often times forgotten, in hopes of increasing my (and if I’m lucky, the reader’s) empathic range. The form my writing takes is varied, but whether it be a short story, an essay, a novel, or a simple blog post, all of my writing is an attempt to observe life, in the different ways it’s lived, and to simply enjoy the pleasure of creativity.

Now that I've created my manifesto and seen the good it's done for me, I would encourage all writers to do the same. Even if all you write are blog posts, it's extremely helpful to focus your writings. It helps to look back on why you do what you do when you're having a rough writing day.

Here are some tips that the prof gave us before my class wrote our manifestos:
  • Use bold language
  • Think about any "Aha!" moments you've had with writing
  • Talk about a writing role model and how you draw inspiration from them
  • Talk about what hinders you from writing and how you can overcome it
  • Be open to surprising yourself
If you decide to write one of these manifestos, and share it (sometimes they are extremely personal), I'd love to see it, so feel free to leave it in the comments or link back to your own blog. As always let me know what you think, and if you share any of my motivations for writing.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, that's super cool... I love seeing the mind behind writers and what they love and believe.

    I'm definitely doing this. For sure.

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    1. Thanks! If you post yours somewhere, I'd love to see it!:D

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    2. I actually did end up posting one—thanks for the idea!

      You can read it here, if you'd like: http://semilegacy.blogspot.com/2014/10/purpose-constifesto.html

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    3. Your manifesto was awesome! Thanks for sharing the link:)

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  2. I felt like everything you wrote just clicked with me! I've been looking for a solid reason as to why I like writing- but I find that my ideas evade my mind when I sit down with a pencil and paper but this post! It's made me realize about what I used to love about writing when I was younger- all the scenarios you could imagine! Thank you for reminding me :)

    www.the-emo-wolverine-writes.blogspot.com

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    1. You're most welcome! And thank YOU for such a lovely comment:)

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  3. I love this! "I write to reveal conflict". Perfect. You've now got me thinking .... I might just write one of these!

    Lovely, eloquent post, Sunny! :)

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    1. Someone called me eloquent?! Yay! Thanks so much!

      Good luck with your manifesto!

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  4. I'm impressed that you are majoring in English! I personally cannot write creatively, and although I love the product of writing a story, or anything in general, it gets old for me very fast. My writing is definitely improving with every book review I write, but I don't think I'm ready for writing fiction. I still write for myself (I bet a lot of people do), but sometimes I get frustrated at myself for not forming amazing, poetic sentences that have a deeper meaning.

    So haha. Yeah. I love to write, I really do. I just, don't find the motivation to??? Hm. But anyways, I'm glad your a selfish writer! REVEAL THOSE CONFLICTS YES!

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    1. Hahahaha thanks!

      It took a long time for me to understand that writing is writing no matter what form it takes. I sometimes take breaks from story writing and just do blogging, and I used to beat myself up over it, but I've learned that blogging improves my skill just as much as fiction writing. Wow, that was one long sentence, haha.

      Also, don't despair if your words are not poetic right away. It's revision that makes all writing good.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. This is an amazing post!:) I find writing a really good way to express myself!
    I loved this post, thank you!
    June
    The Journeys' of my beating heart

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    1. Ooo! Yes, writing is a great way to express yourself!

      Thanks for visiting SOI:)

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  6. Your manifesto is spectacular. I need to do this...oh, I so need to do this. I actually think you're 100% right by writing firstly for yourself. That's something I kind of forgot how to do when I started writing. I got SO stressed trying to write the "perfect" book that would make my readers happy. I wasn't even following my own private plots, because I just wanted to write it how they wanted it. (Yes, my readers were totally my family and like, 2 friends, but whatever. PRESSURE on a 14 year old.) I had to learn to write for myself and then hopefully readers would like it too. :) Anyway, I'm seriously considering doing a post on this too, but I would link to you of course. You genius! x)

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    1. Hahahaha, thanks! Pressure is pressure, no matter who your readers are. I remember that stage well.

      You are more than welcome to do a post like this. And if you'd like to quote anything or whatever, you're welcome to it. I don't mind:)

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  7. Congrats on your first year of university!

    I agree that writing for yourself primarily is important, and while I love when people read my stories and like them, I write for myself first and foremost.

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    1. Thanks for the congrats!

      Writing something that's important you, shows to the reader and helps enrich their experience of reading what you've written, in my opinion.

      Thanks for commenting

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