The Self-indulgent Writier

A writer can never be self indulgent whether writing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. If one writes only to please one's self, the likelihood of publication becomes remote. Editors and agents will become aware of such an author quickly and dismiss such writing with a brief rejection slip. Although self-gratification is always a part of one's writing, it should not be the most significant motive for writing. The reader, and not the writer, is and should be the most important reason for publication.

For writing to be significant it must be honest and thoughtful. If the author is frank and pensive, it is sure to connect with the reader because it has the reader in mind at all times. This is true of novels, short stories, essays, articles, as well as poetry. Poets seem to acquire this empathy with their readers more than do other writers although some poets write only for self-gratification and catharsis and not for publication, but if such is the case then that writing is an avocation and not a vocation. All forms of writing must connect with the reader if one is to seek publication.

Of course, writing as a career is the main premise of this article. If one writes only to satisfy his or her urge to express ideas or to clarify ones thinking with no thought of publication, then the only reader will be the author, or a most chosen individual with whom to share. The career writer cannot and should not think only of his or her reason for writing; the reader must then be the major consideration.

If the professional author writes for the sake of self-gratification or catharsis and not for the respect and dignity of the reader, the work will be vacuous and inane. That thoughtlessness and self-centeredness will disillusion the reader and dismissal will soon follow. Unlike the poet, other writers must be logical, clear, and helpful in some way-emotional, entertaining, informational, or educational-and in a style that the reader can easily understand.

Once a writer becomes self-indulgent, he becomes a prisoner of the mundane and the tiresome. If a writer writes only to please him or her self, the reader will soon realize that and will reject that author's work for someone who is more relevant to his or her condition and state. Because the writing is ordinary and mind numbing, it sentences the author to rejection and rebuff.

Although self-indulgence is possible, it is not desirable. Any writer, to be successful, must refrain from self-satisfaction and view the work with objectivity and ruthlessness, editing and rewriting with the reader solely in mind. This is the mark of a professional writer.

Charles O. Goulet has a BA in history and a BEd in English literature. He has several historical novels published that are available at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores.

Charles O. Goulet
RR 1
Evansburg, AB
T0E 0T0
[email protected]

In The News:

Mori wins 2 top sports-writing awards  Elko Daily Free Press
What Is Political Writing For?  Columbia Journalism Review
Opinion | Why I Write  The New York Times
Loan write-offs pick up  The Daily Star

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