I wrote a story about a man haunted by his past as a child (i.e. he unintentionally killed his father) and now struggles with manic behavior toward his wife and children while leading a pretentious and priestly life while sitting on the church board (if the church had a board). Mainly, he is a significant figure in the church but doubles as a person beating his wife.
Second-year of college I took two creative writing classes. It was a breather from the mostly science courses I had to take for my chemistry major. It was the first time that I had also considered taking writing classes. I enjoyed writing but up until that point, it was something I did to take my mind off of things.
One was a creative writing class focused on writing poetry and the other one was a general creative writing course. At one particular point, I had to write a short story for the latter and I remember being really excited but completely intimidated by the idea of writing a 3000-5000 word story. Not to mention, I had never written a story from start to finish.
Fast forward to when I turned in the completed draft of my story. I felt so vulnerable for some weird reason. The story may not have been a personal story, but it was personal. The story and the characters I had made up were inspired by my own thoughts and perspectives. It was too late to write another story but I also felt that every story I would write would always have elements of my own life.
Two weeks later, the professor came to class with the marked drafts and we spent two class sessions reviewing each person’s story, to my horror. We had to read the story out loud and give feedback to each other. When it came to my turn, I read my story and waited for the response.
And the first came from the professor. He laughed, then said, “ I find it interesting how you can tell the views and beliefs that the writer might have from the way they tell the story or the things they chose to include in the story”.
I had written a story about a man haunted by his past as a child (i.e. he unintentional killed his father) and now struggles with manic behavior toward his wife and children while leading a pretentious, priestly life while sitting on the church board (if the church had a board). Mainly, he is a significant figure in the church but doubles as a person beating his wife.
Why did I write this story? Childhood trauma? Seeing pretentious men who are also priests or the so-called devout Christians? Seeing women who have suffered domestic abuse? Well…these assumptions are not completely false. Most of the events that happened in the story were made up but definitely influenced by my own life experiences.
Hence, as a writers, we write what we see and what we know, even when it is expressed as imaginary characters or characters we have never seen before.
What does your writing say about you? What stories have you created as mini-versions of you? Sometimes we write directly to express our feelings, thoughts, and expertise. Other times, we write to express the same thoughts and feelings as characters.
Here are five things that I have identified in my own writing that might also be important to identify in your own writing:
#BASIC WRITING SKILLS
This one should come as no surprise but your writing can reveal basic writing skills. Some of these writing skills include: Grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, clarity, brevity, engagement, proofreading, revising, etc. You probably may have already picked up on mine — I often forget to capitalize my i’s so if you see one I am open to any constructive feedback. However, this is never a reason to stop writing since writing skills can be improved over time and with practice.
I wrote a story about my own childhood trauma linked below. It was intentionally revealing of some of the things I witnessed as a child that I now challenge in my views as an adult. Your writing might reveal a trauma you didn’t even know you are still processing or one that you may not even be aware of. I have used my writing as therapy and deliberately, to learn and grow from it.
I Knew I Would Be a Woman With a Family One Day, but at What Cost?
A short story based on my childhood experiences in love and marriage.
#BIAS AND STEREOTYPES
Your writing may also reveal stereotypes and biased opinions that you may have. This is unfortunate because it is almost impossible to be without bias but what we don’t stand for is bigotry, racism, misogyny, or any other extreme biases. Be compassionate through your writing!
This is an area I am working on especially when it comes to reading. Read. Read. Read. As a writer, there is no exception to this rule. You might also find that you need to be more educated on a topic or subject. Although I didn’t mention it earlier, research is also one of the key writing skills a writer must have. That is if you want your work to stand out and stand up on its own as well.
Write in the same voice you talk in — top advice from 33 unusual tips to being a better writer. Do you write in the same voice you talk in? There are times I have not been myself in my writing while trying to sound like an expert in something. This is not one of those pieces. I promise.
I have discovered my voice over time as I have kept on writing and been more comfortable about sharing my work. Sometimes your voice is influenced by how you think or how you want to be perceived by your readers. Write not so much to impress them but to express yourself and that is going to have a bigger impact.
“Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations.” — Alice Walker
Pour yourself onto the page. Allow your writing to reveal things about yourself you didn’t even know.
As always feel free to leave comments below. I would love to know what strange things you have discovered through your own writing.
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