Sometimes I think that writers are the mule of the creative world. So much of other people’s successes are ridden on the backs of writers who act as inspiration, source material, and the basis for others to begin a project. It is grueling and, a lot of times, not very glamorous.
I think the most direct example is in film and TV—it starts with a script, a writer’s vision. And yet, there are few screenwriters who are household names. It is the actors and sometimes the directors that get the most widespread recognition or fame.
It’s an odd position to be in. On the one hand, many writers (myself included) wouldn’t feel completely at ease with being in the spotlight—it is one of the appeals of the creative force of writing, it can be almost anonymous. On the other hand, it can be difficult to see so much praise and recognition piled on all the other aspects of the completed project before someone even acknowledges the initial reason for there being a project in the first place—the writer.
This is where it all often begins. The writer. How often have you learned that a movie was based on a book or short story way after the fact? How many times do you think you’ve probably passed a writer on the street and not recognized her/him? It’s odd to think about how often the “source material” for an art exhibit, movie, or performance has been the creative force of a writer that goes almost unacknowledged by the audience.
This isn’t to lessen the creative strength of other art forms, performers, filmmakers, etc. There is a unique skill in adapting another artist’s words and vision and, in the end, it is part of a beautiful world of creativity that fuels us all. All of it is important. And it certainly isn’t their fault that their art is more easily recognizable and accepted by a general audience. It just always makes me think about the nature of being a writer.
While currently there seems to be a cultural shift towards a more widespread appreciation of writers in TV shows (or more accurately, “showrunners “who write, direct, produce and many times act in their shows), there is something to be said for the quiet strength and creative drive of the writer—a creative force which is oftentimes the genesis of it all and yet most likely the most quiet and unrecognizable part of the process.
I don’t know if it should change or if it really bothers me that much, it just sparks a curiosity in me. Does the average person just not like analyzing the process of writing and the source material? Is there something uncomfortable with recognizing the beginning of things or the raw material? Or do people just really not like reading that much?