Declaration of the Positive Writer

The following is my "Positive Writer Declaration," a declaration that all writers (especially fiction writers, screenwriters, etc.) can use to remind themselves and direct themselves to write "positively," in all the moral and inspirational senses of that word. It is based on the simple, yet powerful, notion that we are all made better when we increase our awareness of the potential effects (good and bad) of whatever we are creating (especially what we write) and act (write) as though we are responsible for whatever effects actually occur.

The Declaration of the Positive Writer is a work in progress that I first introduced on my website on June 18, 2006. I need you, the readers, to tell me what you think of it, how it can be improved, what you think should be changed or added. Just use the "Comments" link (farther below) to add your ideas for improving the wording of the Declaration. Let's brainstorm together on this valuable project! (And please feel free to use the declaration in your personal life and to post it on your websites — with proper attribution: "courtesy" so that our message will be spread throughout the web!)


Whereas I am aware of the power to influence that I hold in my stories;

And whereas I am aware of the ease and swiftness with which stories, in this massive media age, can be seen and read and repeated by many people and imitated and reinterpreted by fellow writers;

Whereas the topics on which I write and which I am interested in writing are those which have come to my attention through the experiences I've had, the people I've met, and the stories and information that I have absorbed;

And whereas the stories I write may affect my own attitudes (as well as the attitudes of all who read those stories);

And whereas I possess a special opportunity – through my stories – to influence many more people than merely those whom I meet personally day-to-day;

And whereas I, as a writer, influence the styles and ideas of other writers;

And whereas I, like most everyone else, influence others every day of my life merely by my day-to-day examples, attitudes, actions, etc.;

And whereas positive experiences and information tend to build me up – uplift me – and to influence/affect my actions, which in turn affect those around me, often in positive ways – while negative experiences and information tend to bring me down and handicap me and fog my thinking and my attitudes as well as to influence/affect my actions, which can in turn affect those around me in negative ways;

I therefore affirm that it is important to seek out positive experiences in all my activities, both those directly related to my writing education as well as my daily life, from the books I read and movies and tv shows I view to the people I associate with and the general experiences I seek out, in order to gradually direct myself to more and more positive experiences and influences, which will pervade more and more of my actions, including my writing and the topics I choose to write about and the approach I use towards those topics.

4 comments on “Declaration of the Positive Writer
  1. Outstanding idea! I would only add that there are those who will argue that if writers have to limit what they write just to “good” or “positive” things, they won’t be able to deal with many of the social, political, and even economic issues that are, in themselves, sometimes rather nasty and unpleasant. Are you then suggesting that those issues shouldn’t even be dealt with in, say, movies and fiction?

  2. First, this Declaration is, of course, a work in progress. And as people post comments and work together on this, a much-expanded and revised, indeed on-going, version will develop. In direct response to your comment, I would observe that there are strong, motivational, influential movies that have dealt with all sorts of controversial issues in a responsible way — that is, in a way that any reasonable and thoughtful person would say is not incendiary, crude, or pornographic. But that doesn’t mean he or she can’t deal with those issues; nor does it mean that the work cannot perhaps even offend. It is a question, though, of how you go about offending — if that is what you want to do. I mean, you can write provocatively and thoughtfully in such a way that forces people to see things from a different or uncomfortable view but that is still not, in itself, nasty or mean spirited or disgusting or debasing. There are, in short, charged issues.

  3. I wish to offer my own thoughts on this well-meaning and well written declaration. First, I must say that while I feel that so much is subject to interpretation, I agree with the general tone and its presentation. Certainly, positivity around you fosters positivity internally and vice versa. As writers, we must take responsibility for the implied effect on those who read, view, or engage our stories and hopefully for the better.
    As for limiting ourselves to the realm of “good” I must disagree that we need avoid unwelcome subject matter. The skill lies in presenting in such a way as to turn that towards good. And since that is so difficult many writers may choose instead to sensationalize those topics for the purpose of profit or furthering their careers. Writers can choose to “use their powers for good” if you will. Isn’t that the choice we hope the hero will make?

  4. In reading this, I am taken back to this past spring, when I read Stephen Baxter’s “Space”. This book had a profound impact on me, while I was going through a tough time.
    My life was surrounded by moments which would bring even the most stalwart spirits down. I was pulled down slowly from feeling good about myself into becoming quite depressed.
    During this time, I read this book. As I read it, I couldn’t help but think of the futility of life and everything. The book was in fact somewhat depressing on top of everything else I was going through.
    I was grateful when the author was able to finally give some level of relief to me with a somewhat hopeful ending. It was a book that I found difficult to read and finish, and some of it I attribute to the authors delivery.
    He told a fine story, but it proved to me that writers do have the ability to affect the emotions of the reader, even when unintended.
    I do believe this is a good idea and I do believe that it is a worthy topic for debate if not for whole hearted adoption!

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