I was incredibly moved by a blog I read titled, The Difference Between a Writer and Someone Who Writes by Eliot Rose. If you haven’t read it, you should. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Read it? Good. Was it not immaculate? I thought it was. I savored the language and style. I delighted in the stabs at the anti-prose of social networking and reveled in the analogy of a lie. The bursts of brilliance in this piece forced me to blink at times. I may have even gasped.
So there it is: The power of a poignant, heart-felt write that describes the passion and despair that is being a writer. And for all my admiration and praise, I don’t connect with it. It’s too touchy-feely. It’s too exposed. It’s too… girly. It’s a beautiful, naked woman strutting down the street. Lovely and intriguing, but why?
Loving your art does not mean you must bare yourself to the world and “Why I Write” pieces are as copious as those who think they can write. Every writer has done this at some time or another and I’m no different. But it is word masturbation; self-consumed and ultimately, the only person who is satisfied is the masturbator.
Do it if you must, but do it in privacy and if you must share it, push it out in a veiled way, but don’t splay yourself naked to be abused, misunderstood or worse… ignored. Being a writer does not mean you must expose every inch of literary skin, lovely though it may be.
Just tell a good story. The rest will be acknowledged.
Addendum: After writing this, I read another blog post from Eliot Rose, An Open Letter From Girls Like Me to Guys Like You. You should read it. It doesn’t change anything but it does show she’s got moxy. I will have to keep up with her and see what she says next. Voyeuristic of me, but I do love a good turn of phrase.