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Earthgirl's avatar

As an artist or writer do you want your work to be primarily a way of communicating who you are and what you imagine, your own personal reality as it were?

Asked by Earthgirl (11174 points ) January 30th, 2013

Or is it more important to you to try to convey some universal truth or profound insight into the human condition? A tall order, I know!

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Not necessarily. I want me work to convey those truths I have come to know through living life and to entertain.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, but I write almost entirely non-fiction, which means that I have an obligation to interpret and explain, and decidedly not to communicate the “me” except perhaps in the Foreword.

I know several fiction (prose, short story, and novel) writers who write to tell a story that is in their minds – not usually to give insights into themselves. One of my friends, who has a published and reasonably well-received novel, told me that he specifically tries to give no clues to his own personality, because he concentrates on the purity of the story.

But – all writers are different.

cookieman's avatar

I want my work to convey a particular message in a way that is engaging and memorable to a particular audience.

The message often derives from my client or the needs of the project.

The way in which that message is conveyed (visual choices) comes from truths I have lived through my life.

When the two gel – all is well with the world.

Pachy's avatar

GQ!!! For me, my goal is to share in my writing personal experiences and epiphanies that might resonate and enlighten others. Sometimes I do this in memoir form, sometimes fictionally (even in TV commercials I’ve written) because even my fiction is rooted in my life experience. As to how often or even whether I’ve ever achieved this goal I have no idea.

wundayatta's avatar

Having no personal experience, I could only answer this hypothetically. I would write as I have done everything in my life: to try to make the world a better place. To the extent that my personal experiences shed light on what I think would improve the world, I would talk about them.

I know that people identify with personal stories more than theoretical statements. You can see that by looking at which answers people give most lurve to. The ones with more personal stories are more well received, no matter who writes them.

If I were to add some personal story about writing here, people would like this more than this dry theoretical answer, although this is actually both personal and theoretical, so I have no idea what people will think.

The thing about personal stories is that people can interpret them how they want, and most people want to do interpretation themselves. They don’t want to be told what to think. So if you lay out a story, they can draw whatever conclusion they want. Sometimes they’ll even draw the conclusion you want them to draw.

No one actually cares who anyone else is, I don’t think. They do care about the story they read and the extent to which they can identify with it. But the details could be anything, so long as they are vividly described and the reader can get a visceral experience through the words.

When I was young and I wanted to be a writer, everyone always said to write about what you know. But I had no idea what that meant. What did I know? The things I knew seemed so mundane to me. Why would I write about going to poetry class? What could I say about it? It seemed so perfectly ordinary and I couldn’t imagine how to make it interesting. I didn’t understand that my experience was unique and simply trying to write about it as descriptively as possible would make it interesting to others.

Now I have something in my life that does make me unique in a fairly easy way. I write about it all the time because I think that if I share my experience, it might help others. I couldn’t write about it as pure self-gratification. But to share with others that they are not alone; that there are others who understand and have been there—that seems important because

I have experienced the healing power of having others tell me I’m not alone in my depression. I have heard others use the same metaphors for depression. The words they use are freakishly similar to the ones I use, which dismays me, because it means I’m not unique, but also comforts me, because it means I’m not alone.

I believe you can make anything interesting. We all may be bored with things we do every day, like pissing, for example, but I bet you could take an activity that everyone knows intimately and make it interesting simply by observing it closely and describing every sense and sensation as accurately as you can. It would be interesting to pose this as a fluther question.

In my mind, there is a significant difference between an amateur writer (like me) and a professional. Professionals get paid to write. The marketplace says their words are worth a lot more than mine or anyone else’s who puts their words online for free. To call yourself a writer, it seems to me (and I know people disagree), you need the approval of the marketplace.

So I don’t belong here with @marinelife and @elbanditoroso and @cookieman and @Pachyderm_In_The_Room and any others who actually earn money through their writing. But perhaps you can forgive my presumptuousness and find the view of a non-artist or non-writer as possibly containing some merit. Although, as I always say, it doesn’t matter since I write first to find out what I think, not to entertain others. I must admit, however, that it is quite rewarding when others are entertained.

Pachy's avatar

@wundayatta, fyi, the writing I was referring to (except for my reference to ad writing) was strictly personal and so far for no pay.

tups's avatar

It usually becomes a mix of those things. I might want to convey some truth or message to the world but then my own feelings and imagination are mixed in.

Coloma's avatar

I’m a humorist type, and my fondest desire is to make people laugh with my musings, observations and rather wacky outlook on life.
I would say I am a “writer”, but I will never have the discipline to commit to any lengthy work of a “serious” nature. haha
My number one love in my writing/speaking/ humor is to engage, entertain, make laugh and provoke reaction for MY enjoyment. lol

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t really think about the impact on others. When I create something, it’s because I want to get my idea out of my head and into being.

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