• D.J. Lutz

We (all) need to write?

Recently, someone asked me "Why do you write?"

A simple, yet fairly complex question to answer.

Picking the best colored pencil to draw a self-portrait might be easier.

For some writers, it is a matter of filling the need to be creative. Others? They have stories inside their souls, stories that need to come out. A few writers say it's just plain old fun to write. And there are a couple who say they are in it for the money. Those writers are in short supply, for a reason.

Me? Creativity is a part of it, certainly. Conquering the technical aspect of written communication could be a part, too, I suppose. (Conveying the intended thought - it ain't always so easy.)

Regardless of their motivation, writers eventually realize empathy is essential to success. If you can't truly understand your own characters, and their feelings - where they are coming from, and where they want to go - then your reader won't be able to do so, either. And that's why people love to read. They want to relate to the characters.

Unsure of that last statement?

Let's try a simple test: In the story 101 Dalmatians, who are the two humans who have Pongo and Perdy, the first two dalmatians in the story?

No Googling.

Not quite getting it? No worries, it was Roger and Anita.

Now, who was the bad guy in the film? Cruella de Vil, of course. Everyone knows her, right?

Yes, because writer Dodie Smith wrote empathy into the original story. Readers (and viewers of the movie) related, or empathized with the puppies. And here was this bad person who wanted to bring them harm. Cruella - probably one of the top bad guys in literature. All because of empathy. No one will forget her name.

How does this apply to real life?

Maybe writers write because they want their readers to develop an ability to empathize? Perhaps writers don't realize they are doing this, but it happens. In today's world, this may not be such a bad thing.

Creativity, complexity, fun, and adding just a little empathy to our world, our interconnected world full of colored pencils - a world where we may look different but have the same purpose (and that's the subject for another post) - that's why I write.

What about you? Maybe you should start writing. The world needs you.

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