Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Writing: Hard, Powerful, Scary, Dangerous

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that writing is the hardest job in the world. I think to myself, There are a lot harder jobs. Why do you say that?

Last week I visited the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, and it occurred to me why someone might think that writing is a hard job. The museum is full of the stories who gave up their freedom—or their lives—to speak up on moral and ethical issues. They disagreed with someone powerful on how the world ought to be. They voiced their opinions and ended up in jail or in a grave. Okay, that makes writing hard, powerful, meaningful, scary, dangerous.

To tell the truth, I hope I never find myself in that position. But that doesn’t mean that I write without responsibility. What I write can be powerful, meaningful, live changing. For a writer to get to that place, though, she has to speak from the heart. She has to risk exposing some part of herself that others might disagree with; risk criticism and censure. I just read a Hugo-nominated story that Alexander Field highlighted in his blog on writing: “Article of Faith,” by Mike Resnick. The story presented an age-old question in a fresh, new light.

The story touched my heart, and to get to that place Mike Resnick surely must have infused his story with some of his own passion and angst. It takes courage to speak your heart. That’s what makes writing so hard, so risky, so worthwhile. Congratulations to Mike Resnick on the nomination. You can read more about him and other nominees on Alexander’s blog, The Magic and The Mystery.

1 comment:

  1. Kate, that museum sounds amazing. And I totally agree, writing is tough. It's a hard business, sure, but writing something that is truth can be ever more difficult. Thanks for the shout!