Monday, August 3, 2009


There are writers all over the world. From those who write poems in their notebooks…..odes to love lost, love, desired, anguish and pain……… those who slave away in front of the computer screen every day. There are columnists, novelists, poets, playwrights, humorists, satirists, journalist, bloggers, screenwriters, pulp fiction authors, professional authors and amateur hacks. There are those who stand the test of time and are called classics – Shakespeare, Dickens, Machiavelli, Aristotle and the modern classics….Toni Morrison, V.S. Naipaul, James Baldwin to name a few. There are the New York Times Bestsellers with hundreds of thousands, even millions of readers and those who labour in obscurity and just wish for a single reader. But essentially wiring is the written expression of what is in the human psyche and soul about the human experience. Thus I'd like to boldly venture that there are certain elements that form part of the soul of all writers.

This is my bold and forward listing of the elements of soul of a writer.

  1. Love of language, in particular the written word. No matter what language, the writer writes in or how he does it, he must love language. For it is his tool and his craft at the same time to convey what he desires to be heard.
  2. Passion about his subject matter. The true writer feels deeply about his subject matter and uses language to craft his ideology about it to display in his work to the world. Without it, a writer cannot endure to create words and images out of seeming nothingness.
  3. The universal horror of tow things……the blank page and writer's block. Unfortunately the two are not mutually exclusive. A blank page is the canvas for a writer's art to flourish…however, a blank page that stay there too long is a sign of that horror of horror, dread of dread and fear of fears –WRITER'S BLOCK. When there is nothing so awful as when the writer desires to create and there is nothing that comes to mind to create. Writer's block is made especially worse when one is under a tight deadline…..
  4. Experience. A writer must draw on some element of his own and other's experiences to create his material. A writer with NO experience whatsoever is one that is not human.
  5. A desire to chronicle something of what he has seen, heard, felt or dreamt. Basically something to say.
  6. A desire to have his work read, even if it is just by himself.
  7. A love-hate relationship with editing. Whether he self-edits or somebody else does it for him, no writer is exactly thrilled to be edited. For a writer's creation is part of his soul and editing means somehow, squeezing, molding, cutting or chopping off a bit of it. However, a writer will appreciate and submit to good editing if the final product is better than he intended.
  8. And finally, a simultaneous capacity for solitude and yet the need to be among people. Writing is done best in relative solitude…..but unfortunately(or fortunately depending on the mood said writer is in) , one needs other people to write……to edit his material, to read it, to give feedback, to draw on for experiences, to have something to say about..

So folks, there you have it so far. If my writer friends have anymore to add….feel free. This writer is done.

1 comment:

Max Reddick said...

I know a lot of people who claim to be writers, but I know very few people actually doing it well.

To be a writer is to experience the world as few can experience it, and then translate that experience to the page in such a way as to inspire your reading audience.