IWSG: Your Words Made a Difference

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This is the first Wednesday in July and therefore it is time to post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where once a month we have this wonderful blog hop to share insecurities, tips, encouragement on the writing journey. This month, the group is asking us all a question: what is the best thing that anyone has ever said about your writing?

That’s an easy one for me – and at the same time I’m embarrassed to say it. The best thing is always the rare but always welcome praise that says simply what you wrote made a difference in my life.

Here’s something I really struggle with personally as a writer. I want to write stories that matter. I also want to write stories that entertain. These two things are not separate. Of all the works I’ve read that have really impacted me (from Harry Potter to Middlemarch), none of them have been boring. Great reads that change hearts are NOT the ones chock full of blatant agendas so bloated by their own self-importance that the story is a half-baked afterthought. Conversely, empty throwaway fiction also bores me no matter how many plot twists and interesting (but shallow) characters you throw in there.

I know this. So, why, in my head are the two things diametrically opposed? And I have to be honest, that’s because I grew up in a world where according to the Official Wisdom (TM, All Rights Reserved) you can either be serious and therefore serious, or fun. You’ve gotta choose – one or the other.

Thanks Insecure Writer’s Support Group for asking a question this month. I always struggle with – darn it, what am I going to say this month? This post pretty much wrote itself. Next month ask me about my kittens. I can also write about that for hours, with pictures. In fact, here’s one. I call it Little Red Riding Kitty.

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True story, I actually snapped eight pictures. This is the only one that is not either 1) a red blur or 2) a cat staring down at its vanquished foe.

15 thoughts on “IWSG: Your Words Made a Difference

  1. It’s a really fascinating question, and one that i’m surprised more people don’t spend time on. it’s kind of like asking, should we make our kids read the classics, or let them read Harry Potter? I don’t think it matters so long as they love it. And those who learn to love reading young will want to read harder things later. Besides, HP will be the classic of tomorrow. Does anyone really think our grandchildren won’t still be reading HP? As for writing them, I think it’s a mix of both. If you care about the subject matter, that bleeds through. Your readers will care as well. Keep fighting the good fight. Great post! (Cute kitties.) ;D

    • Liesel, I agree HP is going to be a classic in the future – and isn’t that a funny thought? I wonder if future kids will be forced to read Harry Potter “for class” and all like this is boring. I start to feel old whenever I think things like that – but that’s okay! šŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I read for entertainment and I write for entertainment. I began on a mission to write a thrilling paranormal with a thought provoking message. I hope it worked. I think its Joss Whedon who has been quoted about being a serious writer, and for God’s sake add some humor. It’s something like that…

    • You know the writers I most love to read all the same thing. There must be some wisdom in this. Love the joke too! Joss Whedon is awesomely funny AND meaningful. “serious writer” hehe..

  3. I think some writers are brilliant at mixing both serious and non-serious. Even Harry Potter has a positive message. The series is all about friendship and empowerment. That’s a great message and fun too.
    P.S. if you figure out how to get your pet to be still while you’re taking it’s picture, let me know. LOL.

  4. My 8-year-old niece just finished the entire Harry Potter series. But I’ve definitely had that thing of whether whatever I’m writing is worth something. Is it actually going to matter? I hope it’s not preachy!

  5. You should write what you want to read. Best advice I’ve ever received. Doesn’t mean you’ll be a success. I see more success from those who write formula for a living. Other best advice, write, write, write!

  6. I don’t know that I’ve ever set out to send a message, only to tell a story. It’s great that your words are making a difference. Good job!

  7. Maybe it is easier to do in fiction, to write what (and how) you like reading. In non-fiction, I find it hard to imagine what the reader wants, because I already know the story… it is my story. Why would anybody be interested in it? But, it can be fun and serious at the same time and send a message somehow, if done the right way. That your words make a difference is a huge compliment! It is something we want to achieve as writers. I hope someone will say that about my writing one day as well!

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