I had once had a way of thinking that my work would not give me the success I craved if I sought help from another. I thought that if the ideas of a project were not the product of my own brain alone that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer. This is illogical. I wanted the maximum attention for the things that I wrote. But these are all thoughts from a self obsessed “ego tripper”; Someone who really doesn’t deserve any credit for anything they have produced. I say that because I truly believe that no great writer would write entirely for themselves; because if they did, why would they publish it. If it was only for recognition alone, you would be missing a valuable piece of the Penman’s Puzzle.
- We write to Challenge Perspective; To show a different version of the same world that we all live in. If we only include our own perspective we may have difficulty challenging someone else’s point of view when we don’t entirely care to understand it. No one likes the man who has all the answers and hasn’t shown any interest in listening to all of the questions. If you open your mind to learn and listen, your own opinions might be changed by those around you, and you might actually find that what you have been writing has been slightly skewed. Understand that you can’t challenge a perspective until you truly understand the perspective that you are challenging.
- We also write to Share Knowledge. Writing is not selfish. It’s impossible to hoard anything when you are “spilling your guts” on paper. If you can write about anything and still be able to hide any of your knowledge from someone else, it may be time to assess the honesty of your work. Pardon the phrase, but you should be an “open book”. As a writer you have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. The only thing you should be ahamed of is fearing that someone might learn what you know. Father James Keller said it best. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
- Some of us write to Entertain. That would be me! If you think that you should only write about things that entertain you, then you may be surprised that your audience may be smaller than you had imagined. We must be entertained by everything we write, but there are certain themes we must incorporate into our fiction that will interest others. It broadens our audience. It makes us marketable, and is in no way selling out when you think of it as giving something for everyone to enjoy. Adding certain elements to your story that will entertain a multitude of people most often deepens the development of characters into your story. It actually makes them more relatable.
- Lastly we write because we have a Gift. However, the gift can do us no good if we hoard it for our own personal interests. A gift is naturally given out of kindness. The most rational way to use something kind is to pay it forward. Give back. If you don’t use your gift to give back, the blessings of this gift may be short lived. It is debatable that your rewards may never even surface. You have a responsibility. You must try to inspire others before you can truly appreciate what has inspired you.
Before any of you write anything else I want you to sit down and reflect. What is the perspective of the mind that your are trying to change? What is your own perspective? After pondering this, what is the knowledge that you have gained? What is the truth that you have come to know and how are you prepared to share this knowledge? Are you trying to entertain someone? If so then what do they seek from you to be entertained? Do this without sacrificing what ultimately entertains you, but find something that pleases another. Compromise. Use the gift that has been given to you to give back to the world around you.
That’s how I got out of my way of thinking. The narcissism that only sought one thing; self gratification. It’s the whole reason I found script-writing to be so rewarding. I can work with others and have them help me make up for some shortcomings that I may not have caught while writing. As a comic writer your artist can add visually what you may not be able to capture to your audience in words alone. As a screenwriter your directors and actors may be able to help do the same. Don’t think I have forgotten the novelists. You are the ones that can be most susceptible to the selfishness that I speak of. It’s not an insult, but I know that a lot of times it can seem like you don’t have anyone but yourself when you first start to tell your stories. A lot of times you take on the weight of making everything your own. But I know that you know there are plenty of ways you incorporate others into the process. What about your research that has been provided by the great minds before you? What about the consultants that you often work with that have had the actual experience. You see there are many people to accredit during the process of writing. Life and everything in it is one giant collaboration. If you ignore that, then you ignore reality. If you ignore reality then you are only as fake as the fiction you write.
If any of you recognize other pieces to the Penman’s Puzzle that I may have left out, feel free to use the comment section below to add to the discussion. If you enjoyed this brief post and would like to see more from me, please follow this blog and follow me one twitter @rubbleswrites. Or Like me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/seth.greenwood.