| David Gane
I missed yesterday (sorry about that).
I am on the tail-end of reading a writing book that was influential in getting me back to work after I stopped writing for nearly 15 years.
There are many good ideas in it, but one line—a philosophy really—stuck with me to this day—I think you'll recognize it:
If you write a few pages a day every day, you can write a book a year and if you do this over ten or twenty years, you'll have built yourself a nice shelf of books with your name on them.
Unfortunately, as I reread the book this time, I can't get over the how much the writer is a snob to his audience.
He says that "true artists" should write only for themselves. I honestly thought he was being sarcastic but I couldn't find any proof otherwise.
I think this is such horseshit.
Writing for an audience that is not you is not a bad thing.
First, I think learning to communicate to someone your ideas about the world and what it means to be a human being is a far more challenging exercise than to only express them to yourself.
Second, I know you and I both believe entertaining people is important. I love to get a reaction out of my readers and began with my very first story and has never gone away.
Also, I think there are so many great writers that he mentions that do write for an audience—first and foremost being Mr. Shakespeare. Old Bill wrote for a live theatre filled with tradesmen, sailors, shopkeepers, and their families and they were all noisy and boisterous and paying attention to everything on the stage—and off. Yet, he explored ideas, themes, language, poetry, and people in rich and complex ways. He never seemed to suffered finding a balance
And to be honest, the reason I didn't mention the name of this book or its writer was because I went looking for him on the internet and struggled. He's credited for two books and some collections of short stories but that was about it. His writing never seemed to make an impact. Perhaps because he was so focused on being a true artist, he never inspired an audience.
I like giving our audience a good experience—whether it is making them smile or laugh or making them sad or scared. I write for my wife and my kids as well as myself. I believe there is value in creating a space to feel emotion and sharing an experience.
I love great stories that are complex and rich and full of ideas. I love subtlety of action and nuance of characters. I only wish people didn't think you had to ignore your audience to do achieve it.