Writing, just like anything else in life, must be done to please oneself. Must be done to let one take the sinews of their heart and the breath of their soul, and transcribe them somehow onto the page before them. It’s one of my most favourite feelings in the world, finishing a piece and knowing it captures how I’m feeling exactly, because then I can make that feeling known to others, which in life, I feel is one of the most difficult tasks to do.
It helps to remember who you are and where you have come from, when attempting to create a piece so emotive and so thought-evoking it captures people and touches their heart. But I actually have some backwards advice to give when it comes to doing just that, because when writing to evoke emotion in others, I believe not in focusing on them and trying to write something which does so. I feel that couldn’t be any further from the right thing to do.
Instead, I focus on writing something capable of evoking emotion within myself, perhaps something I have felt before, something I have experienced on my winding road of life, and then I articulate that emotion into a creative piece. Once you manage to sum it up, once you manage to paint the colours of your pain on the page, people who have shared your pain will find your work and they will love it. That’s how this whole thing works.
Whereas I feel, if you try your hardest to imagine some sort of pain, and try to make that into a creative piece, you won’t quite capture it properly and will end up way off in your intended meaning. But if you write something from the heart, something you’ve felt and something you’ve been through, you will harness that emotion and sum it up for not only just you, but also the thousands before you who have shared the exact same pain somehow. And as a result of this, they will find your work. Your work will find them. Then they will treasure it just as much as you do.
A TRUE ARTIST NEED ONLY PLEASE HIMSELF
The title of this section is a quote from a TV show I used to watch when I was younger and it is a line I will always remember. It has stuck by me ever since the day I saw that episode and it couldn’t be more relatable than it is for me in life now.
“An entertainer pleases others while an artist only has to please himself.” Artie Shaw
There is nothing worse than the fear of writing something, of putting something out there for others to read, only to be scared of the criticism you’re going to receive. I remember when I posted my first poem on Instagram and I was terrified, thinking to myself ‘what if everyone thinks it’s shitty? What will I do? I’m going to get so much hate!’
But then I realised that I was being absolutely ridiculous, and I just decided to go for it, knowing my work makes me happy and makes me feel, so why should I ever care what others think about it? It’s similar to fashion in a sense. If you are happy in an outfit and feel as though it’s the look you want to represent, then you should never allow the fear of what others think to stop you from dressing that way.
So in writing, you may write a poem that makes you feel happy or a section of a novel you feel really sums up your current situation and helps you get over it, so you should never ever change a piece that pleases you, through the fear of it not quite pleasing others.
WRITE FOR YOURSELF, ALWAYS
As a writer, you should never feel the need to conform to any sorts of rules or regulations when it comes to birthing your masterpiece. The primary reason being, when it comes to writing, or any form of creativity in my opinion, there are no such things as rules and regulations. There is only you, your creative mind and whatever vice you choose to portray your genius.
The day you learn this, is the day your work becomes better than ever before. I’ve been there myself and trust me, now that I’m writing strictly for myself as opposed to trying to write something I think others will enjoy, my work has been better than ever before. So make a start yourself, stop worrying about non-existent rules and writing for an audience and start writing for yourself and tell the tale your heart aches to.
And writing for yourself, and not giving a damn about what anyone thinks of your work, that certainly makes for some:
This guest post was contributed by Liam Cross. Liam has loved writing ever since he can recall. Even as a small child in primary school, the craft of writing had always been an interest of his, and he now delegates his time to novel-writing – and of course, the occasional short-story or poem here and there. His ultimate goal is to be a published author, but he can also be found training in the local gym for upcoming bodybuilding shows.
Alternately titled Writing Tips/Insights #15: Write Like No One is Reading.