Monday, September 19, 2011

Journalists, novelists, and literary creativity

Title translation - basically just my random ramblings.


I love having a blog. My necessity to fill it shows that I am a creative and inspired person. Maybe not in the visual arts – I still think I suck at drawing. But words. They do something for me, the way music notes used to (and maybe still) do something for me. But the difference is, I have to be taught how to shape notes, either in composition on a page, or through an instrument. I have a vision in my head of how something sounds but I don’t know how to make it happen, to bring the sounds to life. But with words, I have them in my head already, and have nothing to do more than to write them down. They just work for me. Sometimes, I have an idea in my head of what I want to write but the words don’t sound right. That’s just called writer’s block, and I get over it. All the ideas that float around in my head need to come out somehow. I’ve already shown that the consequences of repressing them are decreased focus, obsession, and even loss of sleep. It’s important. Creativity is somehow necessary to my being.

I’ve been thinking how journalism and novels aren’t so different as people might make them out to be. They need to be grounded in some way that makes them believable. Even the most fictitious story, in which the author makes up an entire other world or language (like Lord of the Rings), feels real because the characters feel real. So much rests on character development. Journalism and novels both need quotations. People have a way of bringing things to life by injecting themselves into it, because we’re not all the same. But the big thing is that truth can be found both in the news and made-up stories. Journalists tell the truth about what is actually happening in the world: concrete events, places that HAPPENED in real space and time. Novelists tell the truth about what is actually happening in our minds. No one person is alone in this world. Someone else somewhere must have a similar belief to any given person. Novels speak of the human condition. That’s a kind of truth. Yes, the story may be made up, but the feelings are real and have to have come from somewhere. And both novels and news have a duty to their readers: to inform and entertain. I remember seeing a quote on, of all places, a stupid free bookmark from high school or something. It said, “You become a writer when you stop writing for yourself and start writing for others.”

Of course, no novelist or journalist can ENTIRELY write for the public. They have to write because they like it. Even some portions of their writing can be pure self-indulgence, and that’s ok. 

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