Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Human Side To Writers

An author client of the public relations firm that I work for said he believes we are spirits seeking to live a human experience, rather than humans seeking to live a spiritual life.  That presents an interesting debate, but it sparked another thought:  Are we, as authors, seeking to live a human experience or humans trying to be writers?

To be a writer seems to mean we sacrifice a piece of ourselves. We run many risks when we speak our minds, uncover truths, debunk myths, or raise questions against authorities. From death, torture, and jail to job-loss and community ostracization, the open and exploring writer is challenged to write freely without retaliation, to let his or her mind wander where others dare not go. Why do we practice the art of writing if it offers so many pitfalls, -- not to mention professional rejection?

A writer doesn’t choose his craft – it chooses him.  We are born writers, based on our upbringing, intelligence, skills, and perhaps our souls. A writer is not like being a truck driver, an IT specialist, a business owner or any other professional short of clergy.  It seems like the writer is destined to practice her art, to be the one that takes a probing look at life, and comes to not only report her findings but to help us see things differently from how they are.  A writer is a state-of-mind thing. A writer doesn’t just write -- he or she seeks to fix the world with words.

For a writer, the action of life comes in his head and the playground of the imagination. For him, the theater of life is run through a thousand different scenarios on paper, but he is too damaged to live out any one scenario for real.  He sees and feels but is challenged to actually experience. It’s as if the doing of life gets in the way of writing about it.

We look at priests and wonder how they can be dedicated to a life of celibacy but the writer too is celibant on many levels.  He immerses his life into writing, not fully living out whatever the world has to offer.  More voyeur than connoisseur, the writer tastes life from the sidelines.

The writer guesses what life could be like, even extrapolates what life should be like, but rarely delves into it with firsthand experiences. It’s not that the writer stays home all day and night and just fantasizes about the world.  No, in fact many writers live active lives and get thrust into all kinds of dramas. But their real living comes from the things that they can’t do but can't do and only dream of. But they feel alive when interviewing others, observing activities, or uncovering truths from research and analysis.

Do writers seek to live a human existence – or are humans trying to be writers?  We’ll never be able to objectively know the answer, but writers will continue to experience humanity first by writing, and then by doing.  To write is to truly live.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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