October 1, 2012
Dear Guild Members,
Why do we write?
Why? Why! Why! With all of the beauty we are blessed with in this scenic valley, why do we choose to perch in isolation, hands poised and attention riveted on an electronic display, staring at a blinking cursor that mocks us, dares us, to write something worthy?
Alas… sane souls do not writers make, someone once said. But if the answer were so simple this would be a shorter letter.
There clearly are reasons behind our seemingly odd behavior. I have two possibilities to share with you:
First, we are driven to be expressive.
Whether we are etching figures on the walls of caves, recording sacred writings on papyrus scrolls, or sharing a few of the of the 300 million images uploaded daily on Facebook, our need to express is a perpetual, innate force in all of us.
For those of us in the PSWG Writers Guild our expressions may include a novel brimming with villains, lust and greed, a short story about the grief in the loss of a beloved dog, a heartfelt poem of broken love, or a photographic essay from a South American vacation.
Second, many of us truly enjoy experiencing life through writing.
The creative process allows us to visit places we have never seen, stir deep unexplored emotions , experience circumstances that might have been. The possibilities are endless, and this is part of the attraction.
My November 2011 president’s letter addresses how we create experiences for our readers, and ourselves, from the writing process. An excerpt:
You capture their hearts, their emotions, their fears
Send them soaring with joy, then reduce them to tears.
Bestow on them magical visions, grand hopes of love and desire
of dreams beyond dreams, mountains to climb, of happiness to aspire.
"Wait!" you say.
There is another factor, a third element in this conundrum.
And you are correct.
Most of us also share a desire – indeed, a need - for what has been the eternal quest of writers across the ages – an audience.
A formidable challenge, as many of you will attest. But good fortune has smiled on us, making our eternal quest more readily attainable. Properly harnessed, social media tools are proving to be a powerful force in helping build the audiences authors everywhere so dearly covet.
In our October 6th meeting we will unveil the innovative steps the Guild is taking to help you create audiences for your works. Please join us then.
In the meantime, Keep Writing!
James D. McFarlin, PSWG President