Why we write.. the artist and his demons..
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As I am beginning my fourth novel, I wrote this piece for my blog, I thought it might be of interest to folks, why we write. The Artist and his Demons
Would enjoy to hearing your comments
Demons? I don't have any demons. Just a muse-cum-slave-driver standing over me with a whip.
(Actually, I have more than one muse. I have a writing muse, an art muse and a music muse. The writing muse is the one with the whip. The music muse is more into doing the puppy-dog-eye thingy -- "What? You aren't going to practice/transcribe latest melody/work on arrangements? How could you abandon me when I... :sob: That's fine, turn your back on me, you're busy with more important things, I understand. :more sobbing:" The art muse is more smug. "You know you need me. You can try running away if you want, it doesn't matter. You'll be back.")
Being a former soldier, I consider myself a wandering warrior, minstrel, writer, ninja, budda, guitarist; and at any given time, one or two personas is vying for attention. I find if you treat you demons well they will treat you well.
Sorry, no demons here. And I tend to be annoyed by that all-inclusive "we." Since I don't think all writers are artists (I'm certainly not), I can ignore the mystic, spiritual, whatever, aspect. I don't write for money, either, though being paid for my efforts would be nice. I write because I have ideas to work out, and fiction is a less didactic and more accessible way to do so than writing essays, which was where I started.
I write to escape and to entertain myself. I'm always thankful that there are others who can identify with my characters and their plight. http://www.amazon.com/Alm-Hlgh/e/B004HTM4G8/
I write because I want to make people laugh at the personality quirks displayed by characters having to cope with theater-of-the-absurd type of situations. Laughter is healthy, and in this time of global economic turmoil, a little smile or laugh here and there can help ward off the stresses we all feel. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005E7M8CW
Cactusland, you might be interested in a piece by Donna Tartt entitled "The spirit and writing in a secular world". It's found in The Novel, Spirituality and Modern Culture: eight novelists write about their craft and their context. Even though the essay is included in a book about Christianity and writing, the majority of the essay is Ms. Tartt discussing what she calls her writing "daemon" and the process of writing. She also acknowledges, though, that different people have different reasons for writing. It might be worth a look since she also seems to agree with you that some writers are driven along by a pesky little "daemon" that they can't control.
I wouldn't say I have any demons, necessarily, unless you count the "empty wallet" demon, he's always hanging around!
Maybe I need a few demons, though, to keep me focused.
Excellent blog. I will share it around. I think every writer has their inspirations and, to quote one famous fantasist, they are demons to some, angels to others.
My demon - I'll write it and it will be rubbish. It won't say anything like what I want to say. No-ne will read it because it has nothing to offer. My antidote - do it anyway, because most regrets are for what we haven't done rather than what we've done.
10>> That's good advice there. Even when it looks like what you're writing doesn't amount to anything and is just plain dull, keep writing. Sometimes you might just achieve a breakthrough and you'll realize that what you wrote actually wasn't that bad after all.
Although, there are times where you do just have to toss what you've written in the garbage and start over. I've been through both those things and it's never particularly fun.
Why we write. I've struggled with this. Surely, there are enough words out there already, many of them much more clever, insightful - add your own adjectives - that anything I could write? However, I keep doing it, so part of my answer is "because I am driven to," but that's a cop-out. At some level, I must think I have something to say that I believe is worth saying. SO, I go with that, writing what I am moved to write, making it the best I can, and getting it out into the world by what means I can. My latest novel, Where the HeArt is, was rejected by all the publishers in New Zealand I wanted to submit it to, so I self-publsihed it as an ebook. I wrote about this process in my blog, which I hope I have managed to link to my profile page. (New to LibraryThing, finding my way around slowly.)
I write because I enjoy writing. Pulling worlds and characters straight from my imagination and putting them on paper, there's nothing quite so thrilling as that. It also allows me to craft the kinds of stories that I like to read and make them my own. Writing is creation is its purest form, putting the writer in the role of God. My worlds are shaped to my will, my characters do what I tell them to do, and story ends in the way I command it to. Delusions of grandeur much? Sure, but it's actually true in this case.
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