Instead of sticking to creating the now well-received writing that has become our trademark which brought us this far, be it fantastically creative rhyming, current and relevant pop music lyrics or telling very scary, horror, flash fiction tales. We all take for granted and devalue our own talents because they come so easy for us and keep getting easier the more we ply them. We’re too close, too involved to realize how special, rare and valuable our own unique skills are.
Many artists, writers and performers feel the arts and their art in particularly, needs to eventually take on some of societies difficult issues, in order to be worthwhile. After all, wouldn’t it be a crime to waste one’s talent on frivolous, entertainment or worse a career in advertising and marketing? The answer lies in what is one’s definition of worthwhile as well as how great art is deemed great in the first place.
People in general and artists especially, confuse living a meaningful life and trying to make a difference while we’re here, with being more outspoken about one’s ideals and fostering one’s beliefs. An artist, especially a creative writer, need not abandon his or her signature talent to start penning prose that is of the preaching and forewarning type because he or she no longer wishes to waste their talent on frivolity. One must remember that most of the great literature stood the test of time before it was deemed utterly fantastic. Originally, all the great ones were just entertainment. Very few writers write with the audacity of believing they are going to change society or save mankind. Those labels get put on great art and artists later. Art, especially written works, will attract the attention of critics and scholars, usually long after the masses have adopted it as worthy; quite frequently posthumously.
Stop beating yourself up, with self-doubt and guilt, which does no one any good. Trying to impress your fans and the public with how good a person you’ve become or preaching to save the earth before it is too late, almost always comes off as self-indulgent, pompous and contrived. The result is almost always boredom as far as the art piece is concerned. When one wishes to take one’s art type craft to the next level, one works on perfecting one’s skills and elevating the level in which one performs the craft. In creative writing we learn all there is to know about the field of writing, the use of words, grammar, diction, vocabulary, writing style and particularly the genres we excel at. First, become an expert who walks the walk not just talks the talk.
By all means keep pushing yourself to be better. Test yourself by trying to expand your craft. Try to take your literary genre or writing niche to some place it’s never been. Become a mentor and take on a student or two. Leave the preaching, warnings that earth is doomed and all the prolific labeling to the so called critics and scholars. When you feel you are ready to take on more difficult or serious themes with your stories, go for it! But, do it through your work. Think about how Mark Twain went about drawing attention to the very touchy subject of slavery. Twain had worked for many periodicals during his career and could have easily written and had published some articles or essays stating his position and feelings on the subject of slavery. Instead, Mark Twain crafted a fictional novel about a youth traveling along the Mississippi River. Twain’s Huckleberry Finn drew more attention to the subject of slavery and racism than a hundred news articles could have. The book is still cherished reading today over 100 years after it was published and is taught in schools around the world. So, the answer to the question, which is the title of this article, ‘Can creative writers save the world?’ I don’t know but, we’re going to keep on trying.