Whether or not you like “A Rebel in the Rye” (The link is the trailer.), it raises some interesting questions about writing. The young writer-to be J.D. Salinger is asked would he keep on writing if not even one person read his lifetime of work? After a lifetime of encountering war, fame, spirituality, and love, he concludes that the answer is yes.
There are many reasons to take to the physical or digital pen. Varied factors could include exorcising personal demons, sharing experiences about someone we find interesting or own life journey, desire to frolic in a playground of pure experimentation,a simple need to express ourselves, passing on a philosophy, and a thousand other reasons. Or it could be a combination of motivations.
The movie talks about taking the time to understand what truly our motivations are. Otherwise we may awake up years later angry and confused asking “why and I spending all this time just doing writing?” Being honest on why we write is key for inner satisfaction and meeting our own definition of ‘success’.
For me, writing allows me to provide different perspectives about people from our past like Deborah Franklin.
Or it could be talking about unique situations such as found in In Small Doses series. It is a type of problem-solving or exploration just like a scientist might do. Or it can be just trying to capture a simple feeling such as a city at night.
Writing for an Audience
With the rise of the Internet, most works can generate some number of downloads. So the question of not having something read is less of an issue today.
In a world that is increasingly digital and our private activities being monitored, it is getting harder to have “private-only writings.” But going “old-tech” (typewriters and notebooks) and a good security system could help stem the tide.
I think many writers would say, even if no one ever read their works, they would still be driven to write. And would not stop. But there are others that need a real or imagined audience as a motivator.
Sometimes we write neither for ourselves or an audience. Simply just to get something out of our head. Shrouded Witness was one such case. It was my first attempt at a non-sequential sociological science fiction. But by doing that, I am ready to write a future book exploring some of the same themes in a much different manner.
i hope that this raised more questions in you than it ‘solved’. Take the time to seek out the answers for your own personal life journey including writing. And please keep on writing, no matter if read by others or not.