But Seriously…Why Do You Write? by Chioma Iwunze

I have a confession to make. I’m in love with two men. It’s not that I’m promiscuous; my needs have just become more ambiguous. I think it comes with widening ones horizons and testing – not men – but different genre and style of writings. And so I have found that two men have charmed me with the profundity of their works. 
Eerily enough, these men are no longer alive in the flesh –but their words live. And they still speak even though they died centuries ago. But how can I love very much, quaint and controversial men? Is it because they were thinkers and philosophers, or more because they were outstanding essayists? I may never know.
A brief introduction: the first man is Arthur Schopenhauer and he has been described as being – among other things- ‘a hermit and a boulevardier’. The second is the father of the ever controversial communism, Karl Marx. Yes, the Karl Marx whose Contributionto the Criticism of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right seemed to describe religion as tawdry. 
For the purpose of this writing, I will focus on Arthur Schopenhauer and the essay – On Authorship and Style – which influenced this writing. 
‘There are, first of all, two kinds of authors: those who write for the subject’s sake, and those who write for writing’s sake. The first kind have had thoughts or experiences which seem to them worth communicating, while the second kind need money and consequently write for money.’
That’s how Arthur Schopenhauer starts his essay. Then he goes on to analyze the difference between these two sets of authors. It’s indeed interesting the way he has answered the age long question of what should be the basic motivation of every author; especially as we live in a time where everyone who can hold a pen wants to be an author.
Arthur believed that the author should be a deep thinker who writes to influence opinions, so to speak. A writer should be a sort of inventor with original ideas. In other words, the foundation of every writing should be the subject he hopes to discuss (because he has something to impart). In his opinion, every writer is a cheat who writes for the sake of ‘filling up paper’ and making money. 
Again Arthur says, quite unapologetically, that ‘Writing for money and preservation of copyright are, at bottom, the ruin of literature.’
He explains that monetary rewards vulgarize the art of literature. And he further asserts that people write their best when they expect little or nothing from it. He backs it up with the old Spanish sage which says that money and honour do not reside n the same purse. There’s probably an inkling of truth here, but not practicable truth, considering that we now live in a material world. But has this materialism not discouraged professionalism, and thus a proliferation of insipid works?
Again the question of the relevance of the title comes up. Arthur Schopenhauer asserts that an address is to a letter what a title is to a book (or writing). The objects which make up the book should reflect the theme (and perhaps, the title) of the literature. The title should be catchy yet lucid enough to attract people who might be interested in the writing.
It is common knowledge that philosophers – and great thinkers – are usually quite controversial in their opinions and reasoning. They have proved to be non-conformists who view the world differently. In my opinion, their minds are queer yet amazing. And I must mention here that I’ve only had time to study the works of German philosophers like the two aforementioned essayists. 
Nevertheless, Arthur Schopenhauer’s opinion about authorship and how the intentions for writing reflect in the quality of a writer’s works is quite illuminating. Most times, people write without really thinking about what they want to say. And they disguise their inaudibility in complicated phrases.
And while some writers think as they write, others think deeply before they write. The former comes out with shallow and trite work while the later emerges with much better quality of informative yet interesting literature.
Obviously, writing is not an easy career path to follow. It is, for the most part a service to humanity much like martyrdom.  Most times, one is tempted to ask oneself the difficult question, ‘why do i write?’ Most writers end up in a life of penury. Is it worth it, all the hard work and little or no recognition/rewards?
Reflection is required here. Ask yourself: Why, really, do you write?

3 thoughts on “But Seriously…Why Do You Write? by Chioma Iwunze

  • Dec 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm
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    Why do I really write?

    I can’t remember how I discovered the soothing therapy of words through writing but to me, writing is the most effective way of pouring out my thoughts, but poetry captures its consciousness and true feel.

    I love to write, and no, I am very far from a “bookaholic”, a writer or even a nerd. It s just my way of ease. It’s my way of unpacking thoughts from my mind into words. It’s my way of giving life to thoughts till they become real in the minds of the reader.

    I love to write. To me, writing is embarking on a journey, not knowing where it’d end. It is my way of being alive in different lives in a lifetime. It is living in bodies not really my own as the spirits of literature takes over through the characters portrayed.

    I love to write, so I write to learn, for some of the things I put down on paper, I have never thought of till I start to write them. Take for example, there was this time when I was once bored and free, so I was writing a love story and one of the characters said to the other “pardon the way I act. I’ve realized that it’s actually easier to run away from love when it tries to find you than to let go of it when it does”, and then I thought about it and realized how true this was. Characters do sure have a mind of their own and I write to learn from them. Sometimes the story that you write can be a teaching to others and also to you.
    I love to write. Writing still remains the best form of documentation. I once learnt that from a common statistics in education, that as humans we retain 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read, 50% of what we do, 75% of what we discuss and 90% of what we ourselves write down . This is because it comes from within our own.

    Sometimes I write about experiences, from abstractness, from myself and others. Sometimes I write straight from nowhere and sometimes even write about you. But the truth is, Please don’t think I always write abou t you because I know a story about you, even when what I write is relative.
    To me, writing is a lifestyle, a metaphor or even a part of life itself. Take for example, sometimes in our lives, we get stuck like writers block. Sometimes it’s hard, so whatever I am doing sometimes has the same approach as me writing a story. I just let go and let my spirit embark on it effortlessly, like a journey even when it’s tough, not knowing the end myself. At that point, I just trust and believe it till you do and then everyone does and so it’s done like poetry. Whether real life or literature, this is how stories are made.

    Fiction or not, words generally in their natural form are deep, depending on how it is conveyed and by what media, depending on where it’s from and by who also. So even in literature, it becomes alive in different lives in a lifetime. Especially when we do it right.

    Written By
    Uwaoma Eizu

    (IT, brand, web and human capital developer, Uwaoma Eizu is the co-founder of Foundation 360 and the lead strategist at Hexavia. He is in his mid twenties with an already established brand with strategic platforms. Perhaps Known best for his sway and flair for writing, facilitation and function specific consultancy in areas of IT, life and society as well as brand design and management. He is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management with a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in view. He is also a certified member of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the recipient of the Niger-delta Restoration of Hope/Ken Saro Wiwa Award for poetry and short stories, Texas, USA. He is a member of District 9110, Rotary Club of Ikoyi. See http://www.hexavia.net http://www.foundation360.hexavia.net http://www.hexavia.net/potterslounge)

    Reply
  • Dec 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    Permalink

    Why do I writ?

    Well, I can’t remember how I discovered the soothing therapy of words through writing but to me, writing is the most effective way of pouring out my thoughts, but poetry captures its consciousness and true feel.

    I love to write, and no, I am very far from a “bookaholic”, a writer or even a nerd. It s just my way of ease. It’s my way of unpacking thoughts from my mind into words. It’s my way of giving life to thoughts till they become real in the minds of the reader.

    I love to write. To me, writing is embarking on a journey, not knowing where it’d end. It is my way of being alive in different lives in a lifetime. It is living in bodies not really my own as the spirits of literature takes over through the characters portrayed.

    I love to write, so I write to learn, for some of the things I put down on paper, I have never thought of till I start to write them. Take for example, there was this time when I was once bored and free, so I was writing a love story and one of the characters said to the other “pardon the way I act. I’ve realized that it’s actually easier to run away from love when it tries to find you than to let go of it when it does”, and then I thought about it and realized how true this was. Characters do sure have a mind of their own and I write to learn from them. Sometimes the story that you write can be a teaching to others and also to you.
    I love to write. Writing still remains the best form of documentation. I once learnt that from a common statistics in education, that as humans we retain 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read, 50% of what we do, 75% of what we discuss and 90% of what we ourselves write down . This is because it comes from within our own.

    Sometimes I write about experiences, from abstractness, from myself and others. Sometimes I write straight from nowhere and sometimes even write about you. But the truth is, Please don’t think I always write abou t you because I know a story about you, even when what I write is relative.
    To me, writing is a lifestyle, a metaphor or even a part of life itself. Take for example, sometimes in our lives, we get stuck like writers block. Sometimes it’s hard, so whatever I am doing sometimes has the same approach as me writing a story. I just let go and let my spirit embark on it effortlessly, like a journey even when it’s tough, not knowing the end myself. At that point, I just trust and believe it till you do and then everyone does and so it’s done like poetry. Whether real life or literature, this is how stories are made.

    Fiction or not, words generally in their natural form are deep, depending on how it is conveyed and by what media, depending on where it’s from and by who also. So even in literature, it becomes alive in different lives in a lifetime. Especially when we do it right.

    Uwaoma Eizu
    360@hexavia.net

    Reply
  • Feb 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm
    Permalink

    Eizu, hmmn, it's refreshing to know why you write.

    Reply

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