I know that I’ve blogged recently about whom I write for, but I was thinking about that more this past weekend, as I was reading Alan Jacobs’s book The Narnian, a biography of C.S. Lewis’s creative life, and I had additional thoughts … or maybe questions.
If they won’t write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves; but it is very laborious. C.S. Lewis to J.R.R. Tolkien
Now, I am certainly not saying that there are no books being written that I want to read (hello, I am practically panting for Marchetta’s new book to arrive in the mail!), but this does bring up the question for me of whether it is okay to write for oneself or if it is more noble to write for others.
What I am trying to do right now with Truest is to write the kind of story that I would like to read. Is that a selfish way to write? Is that even a smart way to write? It’s not that I am not taking any criticism … I just keep my list of whom to please in my mind (#1 God, #2 me, #3 John Green). (Man, it makes me laugh every time I post that list … John Green. Oh gosh. I wonder if he will ever know how influencial he has been on the writing of Truest.)
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” —Cyril Connolly
Anyway, blog world, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Here’s sort of my take. The only qualm God can have with anyone’s art, whether it be writing, performing, painting, any type of art, is if it’s not the best of one’s self. As God’s bearer of His image, our best is the only condition. But that lends itself to the next question, is writing for one’s self noble? My answer is, of course. If you’re not writing for yourself, it can’t possibly be YOUR best can it? You have to write what you know and feel, and the only way to do that is to write for you. That’s what makes art.
Thanks for your insight, Mark! That makes a lot of sense to me!