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Interested v Interesting.

by Caroline Jane 8 months ago in humor · updated 8 months ago
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When you are a writer which trait matters most?

Interested v Interesting.
Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash

This article is for The VOCAL CREATORS CHRONICLE - Edition 2 - click here to return.


Famously, Ernest Hemingway is quoted as having said:

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed."

Righty-O then.... off we go...


Ernest - you are killing me here!!!

Ok... Ok... I can do serious... (Mum - I can!). This is actually a serious topic we have in our midst here. Justice is needed. Clarity of argument. Detail...

Let me reframe.

Is it more important to a writer to be interested or interesting?

***Coughs to sound authoritative***

Let's start with how we view writers.

There are typically two caricatures that come to mind.

The first embodies the imagery that Hemingway evokes in his famous sit at your typewriter and bleed quote.

A solitary soul, locked in a room, pouring their heart out. Perhaps, occasionally sobbing. Maybe, should the mood embrace them so completely, they could breakdown and prostrate themselves in absolute totality on that blank page of theirs. So real and visceral is the voice of their creative spirit that it literally cuts them as they write.

They are that damned INTERESTING.

These are the types of writers that Maya Angelou was referencing when she spoke the words:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

No Maya Angelou there is not - we hear that - we feel that.

Victor Hugo was likely speaking of these interesting types when he said:

A writer is a world trapped in a person.

Yes, Victor - YES! Depths of oceans and whole wildernesses swirl within us that we MUST share.

These are also the types of writers that Oscar Wilde spoke of when he said:

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.

Err.... Seems a little arrogant in this context actually Oscar but as you are undisputedly a great man. We are down with that and we hear you too.

Then... we have the second caricature:

Lois Lane from Superman.

Ok - maybe not quite like that but you know what I mean. A go get them, in it to win it, find all the details, get the scoop type of writer. Perhaps missing the point altogether but hey they are INTERESTED in getting the story. Driven. On it.

And you know what I might be being a bit tongue in cheek here and you can scoff if you like - but actually - I am going in now to defend Lois Lane.


AND... I am going to wheel out some big guns that can look Hemingway, Hugo and Wilde in the eyes and stare straight back at them.

Ready? Hang on to your hats.

Big Gun Number 1.

Bringing in Anton Chekov. #IfIhadamiciwoulddropit.

The role of the artist is to ask questions not to answer them.

Absolutely Anton. Make me think with your writing. Make me ask myself questions that I have never thought to ask before. Agitate.

Ok - slightly wishing I hadn't tried to be amusing in the first place now - perhaps Lois was a bad example - sometimes I can't help myself!

Anyway - we are where we are... moving on...

Big Gun Number 2:

I am going in next with the indefatigable Anais Nin...

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

So true Anais - loving your wisdom. You do actually have to have some experience to draw from it.

Next - going in to seal the deal with...

Big Gun Number 3:

Hello Henry David Thoreau - what do you have to say on the matter?

How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live?

Oh my - cut to the chase why don't you Henry?! No flies on you are there?

And just to set this whole argument ablaze and send it off to Valhalla I shall finish my defence of Lois Lane with..

Big Gun Number 4:

Benjamin Franklin.

Who said...

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Oh - wait a minute now - that is not quite as clear cut as I thought!

Let me reflect...

Perhaps there in lies the truth. Being interested and interesting are possibly much the same thing. Indistinguishable from each other. You simply cannot be one with out the other. A linear progression. Not a chicken or an egg question.

I cannot go out and get a load of tattoos and die my hair blue then simply shout - look at me...listen to me... I am interesting!

There has to be depth.

We have to be interested to become interesting.

Earn the status.

That is how we conceive the stories that lie within us.

There are times in our lives when we will have enough within us to lay down in words and there will be other times when we need to put in the work, Lois Lane style, and fill up our reservoirs by doing things... listening, investigating, exploring, dreaming, building, trying, discussing... (flying???)

It's not a question of either/'s a continuum.

It's character building and... trying really hard not to sound too cliched... isn't that what us storytellers enjoy best of all?



Previous bite-sized articles/editorials for Vocal Creators Chronicle include:


About the author

Caroline Jane

Dedicated Musketeer.

Bringing it every day, getting it wrong a lot, and then trying all over again!

Co-founder of the Vocal Creators Chronicle

Co-founder of Vocal Social Society and Great Incantations on Facebook.

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