It has become apparent to me the influence creative writers have on shaping human perspective, documenting history, and shedding light on world issues. From the documentary-style plays of Anna Deavere Smith (Fires in the Mirror) to the fictional retellings of Lynn Nottage (Ruined) creative writers have proven to be just as serious as their journalistic counterparts. Yes, with a dramatic edge that "21st century" theater patrons could stand for up to two hours, playwrights might be making up for the deficit of empathetic journalism in today's celebrity-centered media in an evening of theater. This subject raises the question: what are we writing for? Do current events like, sex trafficking, war, and civil rights blind our imagination and hinder our ability to create new world views? Since we have influence, should we show people a better way to live instead of a reflection? Or do we continue to raise awareness through our works? What is the writer's responsibility?
August Wilson wrote to document the African diaspora in his famous Pittsburgh Cycle. However, this is not specific to any culture or group of people as there is something happening in every part of the world and to everyone, rich, brown, or poor. Each writer documents the world as he views it; and will successfully tackle sensitive topics that move him. It took me awhile to get this. It took me awhile to become a controlled creative writer. Initially, I was off on a tangent writing from the surface of things. This was before I came to understand my responsibility as a writer.
The first responsibility of a creative writer is to WRITE. Many of us are smothered by the monotony of daily life, but we must find our center and write something down every day. We are really robbing the world if we don't! And with the wildly popular success of the web we have a platform for our work. The second responsibility is to read. We have to know what's going on. No, we aren't going to use headlines as impetus for everything we create, but the more we know, the more relevant and unselfish our work becomes. Thirdly, we should have a writer's mission statement. What are we writing for? This might change seasonally, but it will give us a goal. Even before we start writing the "outline" we should know why we are sitting down to write in the first place. Too often creative writers, renowned, or NOT, allow themselves to fade into oblivion when they convince themselves it's just a hobby and maybe there's something more important to do. There isn't! So come forward, get your mission statement together, and write for a cause. You might be a voice for the unspoken.
Tylie Shider is a rising writer from Plainfield, New Jersey. He is currently developing a web-series scheduled to premiere this Summer. Follow Tylie @ tylieshider.weebly.com