Writing about Writing: Why write?

Writing is fun.

Writing about writing is cool.  It’s very “meta”.  Kids these days love that kind of stuff.

Writing about writing about writing (what I’m doing now) is just confusing.  So I’m going to go back to writing about writing.

There is a great quote from Pliny the Elder.  “True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.”  And Pliny knew a few things, or else they wouldn’t have called him the Elder.  He’d have been Pliny the Guy Who Nobody Listens To. (Note: I did not read this.  In the game Civilization IV, Leonard Nimoy announces this when you discover the technology of Writing.)

So if you want to write, take it from Pliny: write something that deserves to be read.  Think to yourself, what deserves to be read?  What kind of things do you read, and why?  People read all the time, for a multitude of reasons.  I read Dilbert because I want to laugh.  I read Star Trek novels because they’re all plot and dialogue, so they go fast.  I read spiritual books because I want to get closer to God.  I read the instructions on medicine because I want to know what horrible side effects I’m courting with this or that pill.

Writing conveys knowledge.  It conveys emotions.  It conveys wisdom and experience.  Not necessarily all of these, and not necessarily all at the same time.  But the key word here is that it conveys.  It takes knowledge and emotions and wisdom and experience out of one life and dumps it in front of other people for their benefit.  (Note to self: Maybe “dumps” isn’t the most inspiring word here.  Come back and fix it later.)  And that’s the key.  What you write doesn’t deserve to be read simply because you need to write.  It only deserves to be read if the person reading it thinks so.

How exactly does one do that?  It depends.  And that’s a topic for another time.

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