Writers crave to be understood. Even when we are sitting with readers, encouraging them to read our work with the hope that they are entertained, we are actually masking a deeper desire. We want connection. When I started writing, it was for the love of another person. I was able to give someone the gift of comfort, joy, love, laughter, and sometimes my words would inspire them to confront a part of them they had sealed away in fear. It was healing. I was in possession of a magical element of healing. Writers, we are capable of being healers.
So, what happened?
When I started peeking into the writing community, I was excited. There were brilliant writers everywhere, sharing their funny stories of editing stress and relying on one another in times of harsh rejection. There are amazing writers in the writing community to become friends with, and when you meet those amazing people it is important to keep them as reliable friends. They understand a section of you that others do not. I met some wonderful people with creative minds and a hunger for stories. A hunger for connection. A hunger for recognition. Hunger was the part of the writing community that turned my excitement into disappointment. The more you venture into the writing community, the more arguments between writers you find. People spend time debating whether or not chapter titles are good ideas. They fight over the best way to flush out a character. They bicker over where the numbers should be on the page. There are a few arrogant writers who belittle self-published authors, claiming their work is not well written. Then you have those who belittle authors who are signed, claiming they are selling out their work for a profit. People try to learn other techniques, sometimes for genuine curiosity, other times for a way to see if they can make a snide remark to get in another person's head. I hated it.
I hardly see anyone speak about the amazing feeling they get knowing they helped someone on their journey of healing. I rarely see people talk with passion about how they created a character. People rarely share their stories about the fun parts of writing. The moments where characters seem to naturally flow together or the scenes that weren't planned but ended up being a beautiful addition to the plot. I feel writers shy away from revealing what their stories truly mean to them. Perhaps it's to avoid appearing self-centered or maybe their connection to their piece is so personal they want to keep it to themselves. In those cases, I can accept and respect the choice not to speak. Not everyone needs to know the writer's emotional attachment to their work. Yet, I wish more people spoke of writing as a career of passion, not of formula. Too many discussions are held as though a life of writing requires complexity. The protagonist must be easy to love, politically correct at all times, and have a storyline that is often colored with deep tragedy or a destined quest they must undertake. The antagonist must be complicated to hate, motivated enough in their actions, and require some sort of flair to them that allows the readers to feel intrigued or amused. Storylines are being challenged to cut deeper into the hearts of readers, pushing writers to try and write on subjects they may not have experience or proper knowledge in. Writing has challenges, this is true, but it was never intended to be this complicated. Writing is meant to heal. It's meant to be creative, to be fun, and form mutualism between writer and reader. The writer walks away feeling heard, feeling connected, and regaining their sense of purpose. The reader walks away with a better understanding of their own ideas, emotions, and recognizing how they relate to others in this massive world. Both leave a little healed.
Writing should feel like magic. An unearthly beauty coursing through your being that you didn't know you were capable of. It is yours to respect. It is yours to create. It is yours to be grateful to borrow during your short mortal existence. It is yours to love.