i don't want you to try to write a story that matters

7:00 AM


Some thoughts and frustrations I've had lately. (Spoiler alert: there's many of them.)



So...a lot of the time, I'm not the biggest fan of the author/creative community. or just the twitter portion of the author/creative community.

Scratch that. Almost always, I'm not the biggest fan of the author/creative/writing community.

Almost always, it makes me deeply frustrated. There's a tiny part of me that just wishes everyone would shut up and write already.

I know that sounds kind of harsh, but hey, I'm a harsh person, so I guess everybody is just going to deal with it. And it's true. I just want us to shut up and do our jobs already.

Here's the thing: We spend a lot of time portraying ourselves as the saviors of the world. As the people who shape everything. As these prophets who bring wisdom to the un-intellectual and un-artistic and un-enlightened. We put ourselves and our job (yes, writing is a job) on a pedastal where we're important, and crucial, and we have a duty to reveal the truth to the people, when... we're just ordinary people, and it's not all that glamorous.

We spend an awful lot of time patting ourselves and our ~craft~ on the back on Twitter when maybe we should just be writing.

i have no context for this gif of nathan fillion, but it is a gif of nathan fillion and that earns it some credit.

To make something perfectly clear: I believe in the value and importance of art/stories. I believe that stories have power, and that art shapes society in a very significant way. I'll be the first person to scream that at you and throw a book at your face, probably, if you're talking smack about stories. But I also hate the pretentious -- yeah, pretentious -- attitude that the creative community tends to have right now, this whole idea that we have a responsibility to "tell the stories that matter" when really... 

maybe we should just write good stories. 

You don't need to write a story that will change somebody's attitude on something. You don't need to write a story that makes a political point. (Please, please, please for the love of all things holy don't do that.) You don't need to take on the responsibility to #represent, or write something that matters. Your views and opinions and worldview is going to find a home in whatever you write, of course, and there's going to be a message and a theme in every story no matter what, but people can tell when you're pushing it. People can tell when you're writing something to prove a point versus when the point comes through.

All. You. Need. To. Do. Is. Write. A. Good. Story. 

An enjoyable story. A story with compelling characters and a good plot. And, of course...good stories are true stories, aren't they? They're stories that are honest about the way things are, not the way we want them to be. Good stories are genuine, even when that's not the ideal. (And yes, you can do this in fantasy and all that, too. Human nature is human nature.) Twisting that to make the point you want to make or present an ideal world isn't meaningful or bettering anybody, it's just trying too hard to do something that's not a reflection of reality, and it rings false. It's like slapping somebody in the face with a piece of wet cardboard so they get the point when you'd be better off subtly stabbing them and running away before they even notice there's still a knife there. 

(Bad analogy, I know. #itried)

Stop trying to write stories that matter. 

Please, please, please, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop trying to write stories that matter. 

Start writing good stories. Fun stories, even. There's no harm in that. Write good characters, write well, write compelling plots and interesting twists. Write stories that ring true. Write stories that are just...stories, that aren't trying to say anything. It's scary, because we know what we want to tell people, what we want them to get out of it. Oftentimes the theme or the message in the story unveils it to us as we right it and we want to be sure that people are going to notice it. So we push it, and people do notice it, but less in the good way and more in the "they're trying too hard and I don't like being slapped in the face with wet cardboard" way. 

Shut up and let your story do the talking. 

Something is going to come out of it. I promise. 

You, the writer, have a job to do. And your job is to write. To write stories that resonate with people, that entertain them. (Especially if you're going to be putting these stories out into the world.) And it works well for everyone involved if you shut up and just do that job, and let the quality of your work speak for you, because truth is in good stories, and while it's difficult for us to accept the truth when it's not necessarily the way we'd like it...that's what matters. That's what resonates. 

Shut up. 

Please.

I don't want you to write stories that matter. I don't want you to make Important Art. I want you to get out of your own way and just write good stories. 

(And I kind of want myself to get better at doing that, too.)


10 comments

  1. i used to be a lot like that, and i'm still struggling with getting out of that mindset, so thanks for this!! it's so true, when we write something good and true that comes right out of our heart, it's important, powerful, world-changing (even if just for a few people - or just the author) ALREADY. so yes. "shut up and let your story do the talking." that needs to be a framable quote xD

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  2. Amen *applause* This has always been my motto for writing. Just write a good story.

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  3. Thank you. We can get so distracted in writing the stories that matter and trying to make people think what we want them to. But it almost never works. :P
    I've been trying to be better about this lately. And I think it's working. :)

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  4. This is so important! I'm so glad you made this post.

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  5. I love this! (Mostly because writers on twitter make me crazy!)

    The other stuff is good too ;)

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  6. Wow. This perspective is really great. I'll admit, I've struggled with trying to put a lesson in my stories. I want a neat, action-prone result after them. They turn out more like persuasive speeches, in the end, though.

    Good stories. You are right. That is where it's at.

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  7. Hi there!!
    I've just found your blog!!
    Ohh my I absolutely love it!! Your posts are amazing! I'll definitely stick around <3
    I'm new on the blogging world, in case you'd like to check my blog out. If not, that's alright. I'll still be reading your gorgeous posts!! <3
    xoxo

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  8. Ohmy. Just thank you. We all need to shut up and write. *shuts up and goes to write*

    ~ Savannah @ Scattered Scribblings

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  9. Thank you!! I agree 100%!! I've been told that my story, Weapon Icean, doesn't make people think. It has no "great big incredible theme" like Divergent or Jane Eyre. (Yes she compared a superhero book with heroes and villains and that may be just a little comic-y to something like Divergent or Jane Eyre!) But I never set out to write a "meaningful" story that truly matters and will open people's eyes to some great truth. I write stories so people can escape from the problems and heartache of the world.

    Down The Rabbit Hole

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  10. Screaming this from the rooftops. Thank you for this. <3

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