Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Philosophy And The Writer

There are times when I think about the impact writers have on the world around them and wonder if it is as big as some say, or as wide. I'm not sure it matters.

Shakespeare has had a large impact on the English speaking world, but less so elsewhere, while the impact of Dickens' writing was felt more in his own time than ours. In Russia the importance of Solzhenitsyn cannot be underestimated, nor can that of Chinua Achebe in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.

But what of us, the little writers, the ones who won't even be a footnote in the literary history of the world or even our own countries and genres, what impact do we make?

In the grand scheme of things, not much, but then since when should impact be measured by the scale? Does the impact of a good parent matter when it affects only one child? The sacrifice of one soldier on the battlefield when it saves the life of only one other? Of course they matter.

For many of us our successes, even if on a small scale, show that dreams can come true. We show that working hard at something may not give a tangible reward, but give us a sense of pleasure that material things don't. If only to a few friends or our family, our publishing shows that small accomplishments count. If we can inspire someone else, or just lift them a little with a story, then we will have made an impact.
So go ahead and write that book. Even if no one else buys it, you will have shown to those around you that it can be done and that you can succeed if you stick to your dreams and see them through.

Have a great day.


Julie Luek said...

Lovely encouragement. While not all writers are greatly influential, surely writers-- as a group-- have been very influential in the tides of history. Words matter.

Milo James Fowler said...

Then there's that posthumous influence -- I'm hoping, anyway.

Jeff Chapman said...

Thanks, Martin. I needed to hear that.

Dana said...

Thank you for this. I find it especially encouraging as I look ahead to NaNoWriMo. :)

E. Arroyo said...

I agree. In child welfare we have a saying...if we impact the life of one child we've succeeded. I carry that mindset with my writing. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Julie: As a group, more influential than politicians and royalty.

Milo: I'd prefer it before then.

Jeff: You're welcome.

Dana: Have you decided what you're writing?

EA: Amen to that.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Anyone who has the 'balls' to sit and write a whole novel (or anything) has 'something' about them. It's a difficult undertaking, and not just that. We're prepared to put ourselves out there to be shot down; putting your head above the parapet was never a good idea. But we still do it, don't we? It's part of me, and it's part of you, and probably makes us happier in our own skin, so therefore easier people to be around. And if one other person reads our work, then I think we've achieved something. Good post, Martin

Martin Willoughby said...

Valentina: Even when we know there are people who are just looking for a target, we still publish. Maybe we're braver than we think.