Words on writing: the writer as artist

Not every writer shares the same motivations.

I make a distinction between writers and storytellers. Artificial, maybe, but useful when it comes to examining what possesses us to create something we wish to share with others. The two camps overlap, of course, and the same writer might find themselves bobbing from one to the other for different projects or when they’ve reached a new stage in their career. But it’s my contention that the fundamental reason for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) can be either a desire to entertain and enchant a reader with a world they have created (a storyteller by nature), or to have that world come to life via a focus on the words & music of language. Neither is right or wrong, and one is not better than the other. Simply a different slant on the same thing.

There will be some of you who feel it is pretentious to class their writing of stories and novels as art. Others will be reluctant to see their work in any other way. It doesn’t matter, just find what motives you and keep striving to be the best you can possibly be.

Those of you who seek inspiration in the practical might feel at home with my crash course in creative writing (if you don’t want to go there straightaway, it is located in the Creative Writing category of this website). Composed of mini-tutorials on aspects of the craft such as plot, character creation, narrative & voice, dialogue etc it is a product of my wealth of experience teaching creative writing and storytelling for over 10 years.

But if it’s artistic inspiration you’re after, see what you can derive from these writers at the top of their craft. Some may speak immediately to you, some you may find too esoteric. I suggest you take what you want and leave the rest. As I said, not all writers share the same motivations.

Writing secrets. Number 3: the writer as artist.

Some wisdom to take to heart from the lovely Alan Bennett:

Writing secrets from Alan Bennett. The writer as artist by Ruth Wade

Janet Burroway     Writing secrets from Janet Burroway. The writer as artist by Ruth Wade

P.D. James certainly knew what she was talking about:

Writing secrets by P.D. James. The writer as artist by Ruth Wade

Writer as artist Somerset Maugham. Writing quotations Ruth WadeSomerset Maugham

 Diane Ackerman

Jane Smiley’s astute observation can be extended to include any writing which nourishes the soul:

Writing secrets from Janet Burroway. The writer as artist by Ruth Wade

Writing secrets from Jane Smiley. The writer as artist by Ruth Wade

The wise and insightful Eric Maisel has a lot to say about writing as art. Here are some choice words:

 Creating for a meaningful life. Eric Maisel. Writer as artist by Ruth Wade

Quote attributed to Bette Davis (from book ‘Dark Victory’)

Artistic satisfaction. Quote attributed to Bette Davis. Writer as artist by Ruth Wade

William Faulkner

  Writer as artist. William Faulkner. Writing quotes by Ruth Wade


Anaïs Nin Anais Nin on artistic dreams. Writer as artist by Ruth Wade


Peter LondonThe artistic process. Quotation from Peter London. Writer as artist by Ruth Wade

You can find some more wise words and inspiration here:

Writing secrets number 1: skills & craft 

Writing secrets number 2: tough love

Writing secrets number 4: the deep stuff

Creativity quotes to inspire