Why Experiment?

Mad ScientistIn #LitChat on Twitter today we had a great discussion about using fiction to persuade. During the conversation, which roamed everywhere, another writer and I virtually shook hands over the idea that all fiction is propaganda to some extent, since one can’t help selecting words that support one’s own viewpoint. My friend (Marc Nash) pointed out that no prose is neutral.

That struck me and so I thought I might try writing a paragraph to see how neutral I can get. This will be awhile in coming; I’m currently on a deadline for a story and working as a creative projects manager for a small nonprofit on an event they’re producing.

But – since I’m busy, why put this on my to-do list at all?

Because I think it’s good to experiment with writing. Try something you haven’t done before and see what you get out of it.

We spend a lot of time picking and choosing words and trying to get a few thousand of them on paper (so to speak) daily. It can be both relaxing and challenging to do something else like trying a different POV or writing on a subject you know little about, or writing something in someone else’s style.

For me, both writing and art are about the process. I live in the middle of creating rather than being enlivened by either the planning or the finished product. I think it’s because when I’m in the midst of it, I feel I’m learning the most about what I’m doing and who I am. And, if this is true, then experimenting with my writing can provide insights that struggles over more familiar territory can’t.

Do you experiment with writing? What have you tried and what have you learned?

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