3 Reasons to Write Fiction

By Jesse Bunton

Most of today’s full-time students and working professionals—heck, even most full-time parents—can find it challenging to carve out the time from their busy schedules to indulge in the art of writing fiction. Here are three reasons why doing so will always be worth your while.

1. Writing Fiction Increases Your Empathy:

“The deepest purpose of reading and writing fiction is to sustain a sense of connectedness, to resist existential loneliness” -Pierre Bourdieu

Writing a good story is a challenge. If you’ve ever picked up pen and paper, or sat down in front of your computer, to write a fictional story (even if only a short story), then you’ve likely experienced the struggle of breathing life into a fictional character. We’ve all been there, shaking our heads and asking ourselves what it takes to render a distinct characterization that possesses relatability.

First of all, the answer is not to go people-watching in the same park every weekend. Rather, the answer to the art of characterization lies in the development of our ability to communicate how other human beings feel and, beyond that, to communicate why they feel the way they do about particular topics. This means doing the unthinkable: putting down your smartphone long enough to talk to people, to communicate with those that espouse different beliefs than your own. Try it. You’ll survive.

Writing fiction is where we immortalize the people we met. Writing a believable character is a contemplative effort that, when practiced regularly, will invariably increase your ability to characterize the people around us in a rich, believable way. More importantly, the practice of writing fiction forges strong connections between you and the distinct people from whom you fashion your characters.

2. Writing Fiction Develops Creativity:

Fortunately for me and you, this shouldn’t require much explanation. Still, this is an important reason to begin writing fiction regularly. Regularly writing fiction is one the best ways for you to question, and often to change, your personal paradigms.

All around us are patterns, standards, models, and archetypes. Fiction, in its most basic function, provides both the writer and the reader the opportunity to break free of life’s more mundane patterns. Fiction provides writers, specifically, with the opportunity to deconstruct and reconstruct paradigms into new models that are can be thrilling and unique. Therein dwells “genius.” Obviously, these creative efforts involve multiple parts of the human brain and can strengthen our recall while simultaneously developing our critical problem-solving abilities.

3. Writing Fiction is Meaningful:

When was the last time you heard someone say—whilst discussing familial heirlooms—how grateful they were to have a video cassette recording that their parent’s made of the TV show “Wheel of Fortune”? Or when was the last time you heard someone planning to make a scrapbook to document all the movies their family had watched together on Netflix? For a majority (excluding those individuals that will promptly begin working on a Netflix scrapbook after reading this article) it seems odd to consider either scenario because the emotional values of the two “hypothetical heirlooms” are negligible.

History has a habit of preserving things that are meaningful…and what has it preserved? Amidst all sorts of artifacts, artwork, and elaborate architectural designs, two undisputed champions rise above everything else: language and literature. History has preserved stories because history could not exist without them. From Homer’s writings on Greek mythology to Sophocles’s dramas, works of fiction have been well-preserved because they address what it means to be human (sometimes questioning it too).

We each have an opportunity to join in a rich heritage of writing. We have the opportunity to create contemporary works of fiction that can echo our historical relatives and share paradigm-shaking messages about the human experience. To preserve our most precious ideas, all we have to do is write.

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