I caught the tail end of an interview with an author on the radio. This reminded me that the idea of being a writer has a significant appeal; much like wanting to play football for England when a child. I write frequently as part of my daily work activities, but I’m not talking about that sort of writing. I mean, instead, the sort of writing that passes on wisdom, and significant stuff….but I don’t do that sort of writing (not even in my dreams). I think I’m getting over it (not).
In this technological age, it is perhaps surprising that the action of writing (pen on paper) still has a physical charm to it….(and it creates something permanent)….that feels important or worthwhile. Most writing is electronic now, but I will often start the writing process in a physical medium (preferably A3) exploring and brainstorming, before capturing the outcome in electronic form (which is strangely linear, and surprisingly restrictive). I did once try to sketch out an idea for a Science Fiction book, but got lost in the detail. It turned out that it wasn’t a story I wanted to tell, but rather an alternative world I wanted to create, but that isn’t what books are about. They often have alternative worlds, but they are just the background to the narrative, not the main event. It’s the story that counts, whether fiction or non-fiction in nature. We like our information to be in the form of a narrative, with a sense of direction about it. That’s also how we tend to remember stuff, by hanging it on strings of narrative. Even technical material is presented in this way, such as Chemistry, with logical links between material being the narrative framework. Maths is even more narrative based, because the logical links are solid once proven (unlike Chemistry, and other experimental Sciences, where there is always uncertainty of some degree in the links). This explains why, when I write my everyday stuff, I like to have a narrative in my head, even if the writing can’t actually accommodate it (being mostly technical and scientific in nature).
Perhaps that’s the appeal of all writing; to bequeath a story to the world, even when that isn’t achieved.