I have been wondering about this question a lot lately.
Can’t remember why it popped up. Probably with reading up on how to be a good writer they sometimes ask the question
Why do you write?
Who do you write for?
When I read these questions I remembered when I started writing poetry some 20 years ago that I always wanted to be at least a socially critical writer. I used to be a very religious person but I have never followed any dogma without questioning it. So some of my more religious poems were quite critical. But I suspect as a teenager you are bound to be ;-).
Some of the authors/poets that I like/d were socially and politically critical like Kurt Tucholsky, Erich Fried or Wolfgang Borchert. But looking at them I realise they are all German-speaking/writing. So might that be an especial German/central European thing?
I think I was also influenced by reading the biographies of Sophie Scholl, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Their example inspired me and I think one of my core believes is that you can not stay aside or keep your mouth shut when something unjust happens. I have spoken up now and then not as often as I wanted to and I have always gotten into trouble and hardly ever achieved anything which did not motivate me a lot :-).
But I also realised that I enjoy reading entertaining literature of any sort. There is an awful lot of fantasy and criminal literature that I have read. I would never have thought about writing “just” something entertaining which I now think is quite arrogant :-).
“There is a time for everything” to quote the bible and not the byrds:
Sometimes you just need to shut your overactive mind up and escape somewhere into a lovely story but sometimes it is good to have a close look at the drawbacks of society/politics/philosophy and stand up and say something.
I am not sure if you can have an overall answer to this question as our writing era is so much more individual than it ever has been. I think being a good writer today means being versatile. Not doing only one thing but being able to write about many things and with different goals. But maybe I am wrong about this.
What do you think?
- Is Tweeting a New Way to Philosophize with Others? (jessemillerhumanites.wordpress.com)
- Inspiration of the day-What It Is by Erich Fried (easybreazy.wordpress.com)
- Philosophers and Politics (rksledge.wordpress.com)
- Philosophical Story Challenge (tobiasmastgrave.wordpress.com)
- How Philosophical Writers Think (thomascotterill.wordpress.com)
- Dialectics in Science: An interview with Helena Sheehan (climateandcapitalism.com)