Monday, March 10, 2008

A heart for writing

I scribbled my thoughts last night with the intention of posting it this morning. But I usually read my emails first and found Jeanne's latest post at Writer's Notes. Guess what? Her thoughts mirrored those in my own mind and what I jotted down last night.
Here is an excerpt of what Jeanne wrote:

"In Writing, as in Law, Heart Can Neither Be Legislated Nor Taught

In the same sense that goodness cannot be legislated, inspiration and creativity cannot be taught. One can study and practice the principles of good writing all he desires; but if he lacks the spark of creativity… inspiration… imagination— of innate talent, if you will— the principles of writing will do him little good. His writing will be cold…dry…clinical—perhaps technically correct, yet lacking in heart."

Click on over and read the whole entry here

A friend, who regularly inquires about how my writing is going, says that he wants to write when he retires in a few years. His brother completed a copywriting course through the Writer's Bureau and now writes all the marketing material for the company he works for.

What struck me most about my friend, is what appears to be his motivation for eyeing freelance writing - the school guarantees that students can earn back their course fees. He signed up for the course more than six months ago. Yet every time I ask him how it is coming along, his answer is the same.

"I haven't started yet. I'm too busy. I don't have the time. I just hope I don't lose my money."

And that makes me sad because he doesn't seem to have a heart for writing, if you know what I mean. He sees it as a means to an end and a free means at that.

Never, not once in the last few years, has he spoken about a love for words, the freedom and joy of putting his thoughts on paper, not even the thrill of transforming a client's vision into a written reality.
I realize that a person can learn the techniques and "laws" of writing and create a reputable business for himself. But I am hard-pressed to even imagine such a person as a writer in the true sense. Well, at least not in the same sense as a writer who is passionate, a writer with a heart for writing.

I consider my friend as not having a heart for writing, but a head for it instead. To him, it is a business decision, an investment plan, so to speak. I can't help but feel that he is missing out on the true meaning and joy of writing. Though I must admit that his concept and intention is not wrong. It's not. It's different from my view but quite in alignment with the viewpoint of many who choose to write only for the money they can make from it.

Nevertheless, I have read of people who signed up for a writing class with similar intentions, only to discover within themselves, a latent talent and virgin passion they never knew they had. Maybe if my friend would make the time, he too, might discover a heart for writing.

Are you a writer? Do you have a heart for writing or is it just business? Share your thoughts here and at Jeanne's blog if you wish. Here's the link again:

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