What Does A Writer Do?

After reading a blog post by Zena Shapter “The Age of What?” I began thinking about the cultural and social trends that are currently in play in our society.
We focus on the individual but protest the rise of the few who have against the most who do not. We shun a belief system focused on one set of values because we like to wander the Supermarket of Life and pick and choose the values and beliefs that pertain to me, but not you.
This is the Age of Caffeinated Globalisation with a side order of fries and a cappuccino.
This is the Age of Meh.
This is the Age of Me.
Millions of words will have been written about current political and social events in the form of media, political commentary, blogs and conversations at the pub. Writing is an integral part of our cultural communication. However, the use of narrative, story and parable takes a little longer to permeate the collective mindset.
Writing is a part of the cultural tableau as is music, film, art and dance. So, what role do writers/authors/playwrights/poets play in our society?
I think writers have been the vanguard, the forefront, the middle of the pack and bringing up the rear when it comes to cultural trends and movements. We critique, comment, lament, poke fun, entertain, challenge, educate, satirise, all in the guise of narrative and parable.
What do I want to do as a writer? I write what can be best described as “suburban realism.” I look at the everyday and find an angle to explore.
I threw these ideas up on twitter as starting points for my thinking:
  • Writing involves holding a mirror up to the reader to reflect on themselves. Then you shatter the image.
  • Writing involves rearranging the reader’s mind so they see the world how you see it, even just for a little while.
The pen is mightier than the sword if wielded effectively.
What do you think writers should do? What is your aim as a writer?

5 responses to “What Does A Writer Do?

  1. Great post, Adam. My goal as a writer is to entertain. To give readers a story, a scene, a moment they can escape into and forget everything else for just a little while. That’s why I read and that’s why I want others to read my words.

  2. My aim is irrational, and I hold it to be earnest and worthwhile: to make worthwhile characters, to be as faithful to my characters as possible. Any deviation from this creed inevitably brings about propaganda or unentertaining fiction, both of which are the downfalls of good work.

  3. I write for a few reasons… to explore the darkness within and the darkness without mainly. But sometimes I like to write for the brief moment of sunshine that pierces the gloom.

  4. I maintain that I write to entertain. Not a very lofty goal, but I’m more than happy to provide simple escapism.

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