First of all, I must confess I can’t remember where I read that there are more would-be writers than readers, so it’s more of an eye-catching title than a statistical fact. But having said that, it doesn’t sound too preposterous to me.
Writing courses are springing up all over the country, from major universities to my kitchen table; online writers’ resources are increasing daily, and in National Novel Writing Month alone participants have already produced a staggering 2,755,787,833 words this year, and counting http://nanowrimo.org/
You would think the main reason why so many people are interested in writing is because they’d like to be published, perhaps with a view to changing career, or to making a fortune out of a single best-selling book and going to live in the Seychelles. This is certainly true for some.
But I think for a lot of people who want to write, being published is not the main driver. It’s something more primitive and profound. People come to writing because they want to discover and tell their stories, not necessarily to the world, but to each other, like tribal elders gathered under a tree, or children making up games in the playground.
I think there’s a yearning also, in such a material world, to connect with deeper layers of the self, and explore the mysteries of the inner world.
What creative activities of every kind offer is an experience of total absorption and flow, and an opportunity for spiritual experience and community in a very secular world.
I’d love to hear your views, if you’re a teacher or participant in creative writing courses.