Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Having Fun as an Author

In the fear that perhaps my last post was seen as a negative posting, or discouraging, I thought I would muse for a moment on why it is “fun” to be an author.

One temptation is to say something like “you can set your own hours.”  Well, yeah, you can, but the caveat to that is “make sure there is some creative writing every day, for five days a week.”

First, a distinction between “writing” and being an “author.” I personally feel this distinction is huge and important (hmm, hugely important?). Jeb, in my last post made some good points that it is easy to make a career writing (or surrounding the concept of writing) and included Copy Editing, editing other people’s work, and even PowerPoint presentations.

This broad classification covers, in my opinion, 100% of all white collar jobs in the U.S.! I want to discuss creative writing using the same definitions that creative writing programs use.

Fundamentally, I am talking about the author as an artist.

You are creating works of art. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Think about it every single day.

The “fun” in being an author is the passion. Taking an idea an expressing it in such a way that it moves someone, even if that someone is yourself. I have written scenes or short stories that were fiction, but moved me to tears, or at least a voice crack when reading out loud.

From all observations, those same stories didn’t move anyone in the same way.

It didn’t matter.

The fun was in creating something that stirred my passions. Of choosing the right words that I responded to. It felt right—to me.

Do I want to move someone else? Of course. We all want to touch someone else. But, first we have to be in touch with ourselves. This is the fun of writing. Most authors can talk about the rush, the high, when the words come tumbling out and the you can’t type (or write on your pad of paper) fast enough to capture it. That is fun.

Creative.The key word in an MFA in Creative Writing. To bring into being. Playing God.

The creative writer is the only role I can think of where you get to fully play God. I use the capital on god, because it is you. Alone. (For now, let’s ignore collaborative efforts). The CEO of a company does not have as much control as an author does over her/his universe. There are no limits, other than your imagination. That is fun. Don’t ignore it.

As a god, or The God, of the universe you are creating (I almost said on paper. We need a new metaphor in the digital age.), you then have to ask yourself “why I am creating this?” What are my goals? Usually, those include influencing another universe. The one you live in. To do that, you no longer can do anything. You are subject to their thinking. This forces the rewrite and the edit. It was fun wildly creating your own universe, but now you are expanding your horizons to include influencing other universes. Which ones will you touch? What effect will you have on them?

The philosophical question may be does it matter, shouldn’t you be true to yourself? Isn’t that what art is about? Sure, but powerful art is different.Now the fun is not the initial creation, but the power rush of knowing you touched at least one other person.

So, forget the money! Be a god!

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