Can You Give Away Too Much of Yourself to Your Readers?
At some point in time, I think ALL readers wonder this?
Who is reading your pieces and how do they “relate” to them, knowing YOU are the writer?
It can be anxiety causing, allowing people you know to read your work. Especially, if the readers KNOW you well, and know your thought process. Even the first time I send my work to the clients I write for, I get a prickle up the back of my neck, waiting for them to respond. I pace around the house, waiting for my email notification that they have, indeed read it. Will they KNOW what kind of mood I am in, based on what I have written? Will they see that you are having a particularly vulnerable moment as you write, causing provocation and judgement? Will they learn something about you that they can use against you? Will they wonder where these ideas came from, and ask you about it? *gasp* These are the thoughts that pass through my tumbling, word jumbled brain.
So, HOW MUCH OF “YOU” do you put in your writing?
The book I am working on currently, is a life story for a man who grew up in an alcoholic, large, abusive family. Much of what he shares with me, and requests as part of the story, I can relate to. He knows that I come from a similar background, and I always wonder at the back of my mind, if he knows that the descriptors and the language COMES FROM MY EXPERIENCE and NOT HIS.
I have no choice.
He gives me these minisucal tidbits of his 50 plus years of life with 9 siblings, and tells me to “run with it”. So, challenge accepted, I do. But, much of the imagery that I choose to write about comes from my own life. Because it makes sense to draw the emotions the way I see them. I didn’t live his experiences and only get a tiny snapshot of what he endured in his life. I could possibly do more research and digging, but so far, he likes what I have written and is pleased with my “creativity”. He is a client, however, and not a close friend.
In poetry, I think ALL writers pour their beating hearts and shattered tears out for all to see. Blogs, as well, are very personally written, and can be emotional. But, the question is, how much is TOO much? How much of yourself do you expose, in order to write clear images into words? How much sadness, sorrow or self loathing can you emit from your soul? How much joy can you put into words so that others can see that you are genuinely happy, and why?
My NEW RULES ARE NOW:
- SHARE WHAT YOU WANT
2. BE YOURSELF
3. DON’T HIDE BEHIND YOUR WORDS.
4. NEVER BE ASHAMED OF YOUR WORK. IT IS AN EXTENSION OF YOU
Dr Seuss had the most fitting quotes :
“ you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you”
and my favorite:
“Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”
As I write more and more, I have developed much thicker skin. I have written pieces that have bitten me in the ass, it’s true. But, the pieces that caused the most pain or ponder in others, have been my most HEARTFELT writings. They have also reached more readers, and received more applause. I am 100% sure, that it is because of my new rules. I feel like, if I want to succeed as a writer, pieces of me will forever been “out there” for all to read.
I think about horror stories and mysteries, and vampire trilogies. How much of the emotions and the story line is based on the writer’s “person”? Is Stephen King hidden somewhere in his creepy stories? Is Anne Rice drawing from her own experiences? And what about Jackie Collins? Do her sexual fantasies come from her own personal trysts? Perhaps, that is a different “style” or method of writing, that I haven’t tapped into yet. I have written a few fiction stories, on the fly, but I can see “myself “in the way they are written. I know, that people who are close to me see it as well.
Anyone can sit and just spew words without emotions attached. We can make words rhyme, and form them into poetry. We can blog about our day, and bla bla bla our way through paragraphs, but without heart, soul and part of “US” what’s the point? It is empty words with no meaning, and as readers, we can see this.
So, with all of this said, I will not go back and just write for the sake of writing. Like a good poker hand, it’s “all in” time. And those who matter, won’t mind.