�Serving man� or �Respect�
The other day I was talking to another freelance writer about why we do what we do. We have major philosophical differences in regards to the way we approach work. He�s most interested in the aesthetics of the pieces he writes. He wants every piece to be entertaining and technically sound. I�m more concerned about serving an audience. To me it doesn�t matter how interesting or witty the writing is. If it doesn�t help the reader make a purchasing decision or get the info he/she needs then I�m not happy with the job I did.
One friend told me that I seek validation through my writing, and I guess that�s true to an extent–I just like feeling useful. This other writer suggested that I don�t treat my profession as an art, and to a certain extent that�s true too. What am I really doing? I�m writing a critique about someone else�s creation. There isn�t really anything artistic about that. Writing game reviews isn�t an art at all; it�s a skill.
This whole view extends deeper than that though. I started thinking about the kinds of comics I want to write. I don�t have any aspirations to be one of the elite writers like Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, or Alan Moore. I want to make stories that make people smile. Awards and acclaim are secondary. If I can make a reader laugh out loud or have a heartfelt moment with a character, that�s really the best thing I can do. I don�t care to write a timeless story, just a story that makes someone happy for a time.
Before this silly debate came up, I had a long talk with a good friend. It was really weird. We�re probably better friends for it, and certainly we understand each other better. An unfortunate and peculiar byproduct of the conversation is that I�ve lost some respect for my friend. I really feel rather guilty about it, but it�s the truth. I just found it so unusual that the same talk brought us a bit closer together, yet irrevocably made me think less of him/her.