“Children don’t read to find their identity, to free themselves from guilt, to quench the thirst for rebellion or to get rid of alienation. They have no use for psychology…. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…. When a book is boring, they yawn openly. They don’t expect their writer to redeem humanity, but leave to adults such childish illusions.”
— Isaac Bashevis Singer, from a speech he delivered when receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. Quoted in the Observer, Dec. 17, 1978 (and discovered by me, here)
Every author I’ve encountered (including myself) is, at some point in his or her writing journey, on a quest to write something that matters. That will change lives. That will make an indelible mark on humanity. Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way. Maybe, as Bashevis explains, the goal should not be to redeem humanity, but to entertain humanity. To captivate. To inspire (dare I say it?) pleasure reading. Next time you read through a blog post, first or tenth draft of your novel, step back and ask yourself: is any of this boring? If the answer is yes, cut it. Redraft it. Make it work in a more engaging way. Your reader will thank you for your efforts by referring your book to friends. Because no one wants to share a boring book. That much I’m sure of.