This post is another in my current series explaining the best things creative writing does for you, even though trying to get a novel on the page, and then in shape, and then in the hands of readers, can sometimes seem to be nothing but a colossal headache.
Yesterday, I talked about getting credit for the awesome things your characters are responsible for.
Another wonderful thing about writing is a direct correlation of writing’s connection to reading. After all, we writers as a group are among the most avid (squiggly? squirmy?) of bookworms.
We begged our parents to read to us as young children. My mother, I know, always signed my sisters and me up for the “read to me” summer reading program at the library when we were little: the program for kids too young to be reading on their own. Then we would pick out, weekly, the books we wanted, and she would make sure to read them to us before our next trip back. (My mother was one awesome lady.)
Most of us writers decide soon after we start reading that we’d like to write. And no matter at what age or what station of life we begin writing, we read constantly.
One reason we writers want to write, I think, is that we feel driven to touch, console, and inspire other people with our work the way we have been inspired.
No writer can deny that s/he has been touched by literature. We understand how a book can be a solace, a friend, a mentor. We understand how books have moved us and shaped us.
We understand how wonderful books are, and we want to share that wonder. In fact, we feel responsible to do our part to bring that wonder to other people. This responsibility has the weight of a moral obligation to some degree. I know that in my case, the thought of someone possibly reading my work and being moved the way my favorite books have moved me gives me goosebumps. Seriously. Goosebumps.
My upcoming writer’s handbook is called “Writing for You,” but in this, we write as much for other people as for ourselves: we want to know the humility and the joy of inspiring others. Of giving them ideas of writing their own books.
Also, I like to think books can console people. I know books have consoled me. Certain novels have reminded me of my faith, renewing my perseverance and my trust that I am not alone when life gets tough.
Even if you aren’t of a religious persuasion, I think we all have a book or two that just clicked with us. That convinced us that our thoughts and our emotions were valid, and not stupid or worthless. We all have characters we connect with because they’re like us. We get them and where they’re coming from, and we feel for them. We truly feel for them.
We want to give that comfort to someone else: give them a character that validates them where they are in life and as they are. A character who validates their present as well as their dreams for the future.
For me, that character is Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I may not be a werewolf, but I have always connected with Lupin’s inferiority complex and his struggles to accept himself and his past.
Who is that character for you? How is it you hope you hope your books will give back to the world of literature for all it’s given you?
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