Since I’m working on this book (Chasing the Dragon) for newbie writers, my brain is constantly shifting gears and cruising down one avenue before coming to some side street that looks interesting, where maybe the buildings are a little worn, and the light a little fuzzy, and I know if I head down that way I might find myself on an adventure.
I’m going to do that on my website here every Tuesday, make a post about writing, imagination, the creative process, or some aspect of the sometimes troubling world of endless possibilities.
I’m thinking a lot about my own career right now and asking hard questions of myself. Part of it is trying to work out how to find my audience. I believe those who enjoy work by my favorite writers would enjoy my work, but who’s to say. But I look at all of my biggest heroes (Tom Piccirilli, Bruce Lee, Alfred Hitchcock, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Serling) and I know that they had purpose and they had value.
What is my purpose as a writer? What is yours?
What value do I bring to readers? What do you?
These aren’t easy questions. I’ll bet their multi-faceted beasts that reveal more and more faces as we get our hands on them and start turning them around to study their strange expressions and stranger souls.
What is my purpose and value? What are yours?
Saying I want to connect, or banish my demons, or release heartache, or entertain readers, are all easy answers. And all true. But what makes me want to connect? What drives me to banish my demons? Why do I have to release the heartache? Why do I care about entertaining when I could go learn to play golf instead?
I know that each reader only gets as much out of a book as they bring to it.
I don’t know my purpose yet.
I don’t know my value.
But I’m a very confident writer because I put a lot of time into studying every aspect of the craft. And I enjoy all kinds of fiction. I know part of my purpose is hidden in that. I want it all in each story I write: love, sorrow, laughter, tears, friendship, betrayal, honesty, lies, warmth, tenderness, comfort and terror. Yeah, that’s part of my purpose… to hit all the big notes, the ones that we feel down in our core that make us pause and give birth to being alive instead of stumbling around numb.
And maybe our value is interwoven with our purpose.
If I can hit the big notes like a lot of my heroes do/did, maybe the value is helping people reconnect with themselves!
Damn. I’m good. Yes sir. Now I’ve gotta go work on helping people reconnect with themselves in this serial novel.
But think about your own purpose and value. They may not seem important, but I’d lay money down that they are because they help define us at our most fundamental level.