christine alexis virgins of the screen. fuqvids.com

When I talk about intentional writing there are a few things people typically say to me:

“Oh! That sounds so interesting! Can you tell me more?”

“How can I find more of it to read?”

“How do I do it?”

These comments are so common, I decided to give a deep dive on infusing your work with intention (and how to get your hands on more of it!).

We Create On Purpose - The Basic Guide to Intentional Writing & Art

Keep in mind, these things are for ALL kinds of media/creation. This isn’t something restricted to writing (although I historically focused on writing because, well, I write!). It applies to all media, so I decided to reflect that in the following guide.

The Basic Guide to Intentional Writing & Art

What is intentional writing?

Intentional writing (or creating of any kind) looks beyond inspiration or seeking to speak to an audience, but considers the far-reaching impact of the work. It has a goal to change or impact society for the better by forcing society to engage with certain ideas and questions.

What are some historical examples of intentional writing/creating?

  • C.S. Lewis – All of it (Narnia Chronicles, but really, all his work).

  • Madeleine L’Engle – Again, all of it (BTW this is the author of A Wrinkle In Time).

  • Ursula Le Guin – Could there be any doubt? She asked genre writers to suggest new ways of structuring our economy!

  • Most documentary films

  • Most non-fiction

  • Spiritual texts/art/music

  • Protest art

How can a person find out if something is intentionally created?

The easiest way is to look at the artist’s website. It’s going to become clear really quickly if a person has thought through the impact of their work. Sometimes this will be clear in a blog post, but other times simply reading a person’s bio or “about me” page is enough. Of course, if you choose to read a book, it will be clear if someone has not considered the social impact of their work.

Where can a person find intentional work today?

A good place to start for reading material is my Intentional Writer interview series! And of course, whether you’re a reader or a writer, you can connect with others seeking intentional writing in the Facebook group here.

What if a person has a “guilty pleasure” and enjoys books that aren’t intentional? Is that okay?

Um…yes. It’s totally okay.

The best course for consuming any media is to practice media literacy. I have my own list of “guilty pleasures.” I love fantasy, sci-fi, and traditional horror. At first blush, these things may not appear to hold a lot of intentional writing, but with some media analysis, I’m able to unpack the positive and problematic pieces of a story, show, or movie. A lot of genre fiction has underlying moral questions and can bring up issues of social structure, belief systems, and more.

What is media analysis? How does a person practice it?

This is where you take all those annoying things you learned in English class and apply them to the media you’re consuming. The easiest way to consider this is by asking questions like:

  • What was the creator trying to do with this piece?

  • What are the characters’ motivations?

  • How does this impact society?

  • What are the underlying themes/ideas?

  • How might the creator of this work feel about these ideas?

  • How do I feel about these ideas?

Sometimes all it takes is to start a conversation about it with a friend. This is part of the reason why book clubs and viewing parties are awesome: they give you a community to discuss media content and practice media analysis.

Next Time…

Next time I’ll share ways to intentionally write and or create. I’ll go through my personal process, but also some things that anyone can do (as well as some pitfalls to avoid!). Be sure to stay tuned!

Have anything you would add to this list? Leave a comment below!

Want to connect with other intentional writers and readers? Join the Facebook group here!

We Create On Purpose
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