Credo

I was going to write a nice little thing on editing, but something’s bothering me.

I’ve been hanging out (mostly lurking, sometimes commenting) in some google plus communities. And… Well…

Seems as if the writing community collecting there has one hell of a dark side.

About a week ago, some writers were putting stuff up on the internet saying that writers aren’t writers unless you’ve a firm grip on plot and characters, on grammar etc. Which I think goes above and beyond trying to discourage new writers. So I wrote this.

Then, a few days ago, someone asked whether or not one should actively put messages into the stories you write. I said that I don’t, since I think that telling people what they should think is a bit presumptuous. Sorry, people who do actively put messages into your writing. I know some of you who read this blog do it. And that’s okay.

That’s not really why I’m writing this post, though.

No. It’s the response someone left to my comment.

To quote:

Well, you most certainly can write with that pointlessness +Misha Gericke. That’s your prerogative. I’m in the camp that those who have a message have a story. Whether or not someone believes it or likes it is irrelevant. There’s an audience for every message, even the message of relativistic nothingness.
If you don’t have anything specific to say then you have no right to expect people to read what you write or listen to what you say.

Personally, I know I’m right in what I write as far as my message is concerned. Some may call that arrogant. Some call it confident. I don’t know much but the stuff that I know, I know. Therefore, it’s not presumptuous for me to convey what I know. It’s loving because there are many people who don’t know who, after reading my material, will know. That may enrich their lives a little more. That’s a good thing. And even if they don’t agree, I’ve still enriched their knowledge by giving them the other side of the coin.

Time is life. Therefore, I believe as a writer you should make sure you have something to say before you waste people’s time.

Like the wise sage Monk on his television program used to say, I could be wrong…but I’m not.

What’s annoying the crap out of that message is this: 
“If you don’t have anything specific to say then you have no right to expect people to read what you write or listen to what you say.” 
and
“write with that pointlessness” 
It’s really hard for me not to go off on a rant about this, but instead, I’m going to catagorically state some hard truths. 
This is my writer’s credo:

1) My writing’s purpose is to entertain people. The way writers of stories are supposed to entertain. This is a writer’s first duty. 

2) The writer’s second duty is to fulfill a purpose in society. This purpose is to show society the effects of our beliefs, choices and actions in a way relevant to a given story. It does not give us the right to make judgement calls on what’s right and what’s wrong. 

3) I am a chronicler. A scribe. Not a teacher, preacher, politician or moralist.

4) I have my own code of ethics and morals. But writing is not the medium through which I’d force them on anyone else. 

5) Story and character must always come first. Not the message. Never the message. In fact, the message shouldn’t exist.

6) Creating a message is the readers’ prerogative. Not mine.

7) I have absolutely no right to deem any writer worthy or unworthy of writing. Or in any way lesser than me because they have a different approach to the craft.  

As I said, I know that some of you will disagree with me. Some of you may disagree with every single point of my credo. And that’s okay. 
But what’s not okay is to be disrespectful of someone else for what they believe to be right. This is what all this is about for me. 
Respect. Respect your readers. Respect your writing colleagues. Respect humanity as a whole. Because we’re all part of all three groups. We all display characteristics of those groups. So if you can’t respect them, you can’t respect yourself either.