hello, fellow writer, you aren't that special

by - 8/12/2017

Did my rude and call-out-y post get your attention? GOOD. A better but less interesting title for this post would maybe be "we aren't that special", but you know, gotta get the peoples' attention somehow. 

Writing is a weird job, no matter how you're doing it. It involves creativity, crafting whole stories and ideas with just your words. If you listen to most talks/articles/pinterest quotes, it's not so much a job as it is a sacred duty, a powerful weapon handed down to you and a few chosen others. How do the other little people survive, not writing words? Writers and their stories illuminate the world. They change lives. They are important. They are the messages the people need to hear. The magical weapon that is writing has graced us, and we have a job to wield it with power, because we're special. Because we change things. 

Yes. Also, no, sit back down on your chair the normal way instead of standing on top of it and screaming into the void. 

We aren't special

We don't have a responsibility to change and hearts and minds and the world. 

We haven't been enlightened, we haven't been gifted with something all-powerful, we aren't supernatural magical beings on a quest to make everyone See The Truth As Well. 

writing is a job, and our job is to write stories. so you should probably just shut up and write already.

Often, when we talk about writing and storytelling, we like to talk about the great power it has. The way stories change lives. I can't count the number of times I've been at a conference or a class or online and heard the same exact talk about how we do something incredible amazing wow and...yes, writing is incredible. Writing is amazing. Wow. Words turning into stories is a miracle I don't fully understand, partly because I'm not a language expert and mostly because I'm not a genius who knows the mysteries and complexities of the human brain. I'm the first to stand up and say that stories change lives and affect minds. Stories make you think. Stories and words are important, and as a writer, you should be aware of that. (I should be more aware of that.) 

It's when we get caught up in our job as messengers of truth that we have a problem. 

It's so, so easy to get swept up in the idea of being a world-shaper, someone with a responsibility to point things out and show the truth. It's so, so easy to slip into the grandiose and Write Very Seriously, With Intention, Using Great Power. It's so easy to believe that with these gifts of ours we're special, great, unique, quirky and weird. While writers are weird people, me being exhibit A I'm sure... we. aren't. special. 

Have I said it enough times yet? We. Aren't. Special. 

We aren't an enlightened race. We aren't magicians who change everything. We are people, and our job as writers is not to tell stories that change the world. It's not to tell stories that save people and blow their minds. 

As people with a particular skill set, our job is to sit down and write. Our job is to write good stories that people want to hear.

Words in themselves have power. Stories have power. But the most powerful stories are the well done ones, the ones that people actually want to consume and enjoy. They're good because they're crafted well, and because they tell the truth. Very often they're not the stories that are obviously preaching to you. When you as the writer have the power and the responsibility and the Gift, you tend to wield that weapon as more of a club than anything else, and you tend to shove your enlightenment into the words until people don't want to be beaten over the head by them anymore. It's not about you

As writers, we're people. Human people. We're not better than the people who don't craft stories. We're not better than the people who don't read or write every second of every day. We're flawed people with particular skills and passions, and we should use those passions more than anything to create good things, not important things. (I could write volumes on the topic of not trying to write important things.) 

Maybe, it would go a lot better for us if we stopped trying to be special and started trying to write good things. Maybe, books wouldn't feel so preachy and unbearable if we made them good instead of important

Stories change lives, and not just stories in general but good stories. 

You are a content creator. An entertainer. You have the potential to write something that touches hundreds of people and makes them see the world in a different light, but that's not you, is it? 

Get out of the way and write the stupid story already. Write the good stories, not the ones that "matter". Write the stories that you want to write and write them well. Stay out of the way. 

Writers aren't special. Writers aren't more important.
Writers are people, and in my personal opinion we should be doing a lot more writing and a lot less flattering ourselves.

- Aimee

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  1. YES I AGREE TO THIS. I love writing and adore words, but I have never felt like I will be "changing" the world through it. When people ask me why I write, I say something like, "Because it's fun." Then I'll giggle to myself (because I'm a dork), and I might not think about it again. It never even occurs to me to say something along the lines of, "Because I want to change the world," or, "I just feel like I need to enlighten others with my stories." Now, if, like, God spoke audibly to you that your stories will change the world, then GO AHEAD AND SCREAM IT because yay that is awesome. But writes aren't, as you said, "an enlightened race." We might be weird because most people our age hates writing and can't imagine wanting to do it for the rest of their lives. But that's it. That's really why we might be different. We're writers, and that's awesome, but it's just as awesome as being a surgeon or a secretary or a construction worker.
    Thank you for the amazing blog post! (In case I haven't screamed it enough already).

    Emily Y.

    1. *nodnod* *you said all the true words I have nothing to add*

  2. Yes this post, Aimee. It's spot on. I agree that most of the time, we writers tend to become obsessed with "writing something that will change the WORLD." But shouldn't we really just be focused on trying to write a story that means something to US and changes US? Because if a story has the power to mean something to us, then...won't that show through to the reader?

    I think it's important to remember that writers are just like everyone else (except we're usually crazier and more prone to insanity and a creepy search history.). But really, we're no different than anyone else.

    1. Absolutely! I'm so glad you liked it.

    2. Yes, I loved it. Please keep posting about these important issues!

  3. I was literally just yesterday ranting with my brother about how all these books and TV shows and things are so ridiculously focused on getting their MESSAGES across, it completely ruins the story. And how we should just TELL GOOD STORIES and stop shoving our views in people's faces. I am getting sick of it. It's no fun to read or watch TV anymore because I just get bombarded by all these people's views of the world instead of, ya know, having good entertainment.

    It's the good stories that give us the more powerful messages! I often REBEL against the message if it's blatantly shoved into my face.

    Just write good stories, people. And it'll make an impact on its own.

    I love your posts like this because...yeah. I'm tired of storymakers basically creating sermons and lectures instead of good stories.

    1. I've always held that...people can tell when they're being preached to, you know? And contrary to what creators believe, people don't like it. They don't want you to shove a world-shattering message down their throats. They want to read/watch a good story, more than anything.

  4. Thank you for constantly shutting down the touchy-feely posts and memes that shove themselves at us every freaking day. Your point of view is my favorite. <3

    1. I am not a touchy feely person, so it's mostly just me having too many frustrations :P

  5. I love all these new shouty opinion posts. I've noticed that lately a lot of people are scared to say anything without attaching 66554322234 disclaimers to it so they don't offend people.
    Anyway, I haaaaate it when fiction writers of any kind focus so much on the messages they're trying to convey that the story is completely lost. It doesn't matter if it's a liberal-minded show that ignores the plot to preach to you about gender identity or a Christian book with flat characters that reads like a bible study story example. It's just...not good, and it starts with writers who come at it all from the wrong angle, you know? If your mindset is "It is my duty to educate the masses on this important issue" instead of a genuine love for storytelling and writing, it's not going to turn out well. I think some of it is rooted in the individualism and obsession with world-changing that society is super stuck on right now. Not that that's exactly a new thing; have you read Charles Dickens? It's just worse right now in some ways because of the whirlwind speed media operates at, I guess. Who knows. I don't. Love your post, so many good points!

    1. Thank you! People don't actually like being preached at, no matter what people are trying to tell them, but obviously a lot of creators haven't figured that out yet, hence so many annoying things out there.

      It would be fantastic if we lived in a world where the highest standard was actual quality, but y'know. That's too much to ask for.

  6. That definitely needed to be said. I am loving these types of posts.

    1. I'm loving writing out ALL MY OPINIONS tbh

  7. Once my drama instructor sat down and talked to us about artists and their tendency to think they're some class of elite citizens who carry the burden of society on their shoulders. And he was like no, while art does largely determine a culture's moral compass, we're no better than any other profession. Everybody is important. Art is about connecting people, and if we think we're special, we're not connecting anyone.
    That being said, I have to slightly disagree and say that sometimes "important" stories are necessary. Sometimes the world needs a story that speaks directly to the current human condition. Stories can be good and matter at the same time.

    1. AMEN.

      And I think I actually agree with you! "Important" stories are very necessary -- but I think that the most important stories are stories that aren't trying to shove something down your throat, you know? They're stories that were done truthfully and well, and if you're telling the truth, you'll get something important and something well-done at the same time.

    2. That I agree with. Stories should have truth but not shove it down your throat.

  8. I really needed to read this today. It puts a lot of things in perspective for me because I worry what I write isn't deep or insightful enough...and...it doesn't need to be that way. I want to make people think, but if that becomes the only thing I'm concerned with, I'm bound to develop some pride.
    Thank you for writing this!


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