Today I'd like to write about...writing. No, this is not on whether or not you CAN write, and not to be mistaken with my post "A Writer." This is a more personal entry to convey to you how I feel about writing.
Before I begin, I would like to say I'm not directing any of this to anyone in particular, but merely sharing this in general to hopefully encourage all of you to become bold in whatever passion you may wish to cultivate!
When one decides to write something, whether it be a personal report for school or a novel, a few things must be taken into consideration. Why am I writing this, what do I want to convey, what is my topic, what is my theme, who is going to be reading this, how am I going to write this. I'd like to take some of those questions and talk about them from my perspective as a wannabe writer of novels.
1) Why am I writing this: What makes me want to write this specific story? Is it the characters I love? Or is the theme something dear to my heart or something I want to promote?
2) What do I want to convey: As with any writer, in order to write a good story there will undoubtedly be some "bleeding" of yourself onto those pages. Each story contains elements of the writer himself, whether it be characteristics mirrored in his characters or personal views on life, religion, politics, ect. No matter how hard you try to hide yourself, writing is one of the greatest eye-openers into an individual's life - if you do it right.
3) Who is going to be reading this: Well, that's a tricky one. Perhaps you're going to be writing a piece for a specific family member or a friend, or perhaps for your own personal enjoyment such as a diary. Perhaps you're writing a children's story, or maybe a novel centered for teens. However, does that mean ONLY children will read the children's stories? Of course not - some children have to be read stories by their parents. Sometimes you have to accept that an entry you make into a personal diary may not become so personal if you pass away or "heaven forbid" your nosy, concerned mom come across it while cleaning your room. ;) Stories meant for a particular audience are not secure in that one section - people will get a hold of your stories, people you never thought of reading your book. Some of that might be pleasing if you reach a wider circle than you anticipated and become a best-selling author, others maybe not so much, like I mentioned with the mother.
Are you getting nervous yet?
4) And finally, HOW am I going to write this: Well...I'm going to research, plan, and write accordingly. Right? WRONG! Well, partially wrong. Yes, you're going to do all those things, but let's dig a little deeper. Repeat: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE THIS? What is going to influence you? Better yet, what are you going to ALLOW to influence you?
There are many things that could have an impact on the way you choose to write. Culture, religion, your values, you're parents' values, your friends' values, ect. As you're writing, you must decide what and who you'll be thinking about. True, you don't want to write anything outside of what you think is wrong. As a Christian, I do my best and make sure that what I write is pleasing to God, and anything I include that might be a controversial issue I try and portray tactfully but in a honest light according to my views.
However, what I think is good or wrong, someone else may think oppositely. For instance, with a certain character in my book, I tend to be tempted to write very darkly and realistically with the intention of giving a disconcerting feeling. I personally don't believe I write anything bad, but I often find myself wondering, "What is so-and-so going to think of this when he/she reads it if publication happens? Will they approve, or will they be shocked and angry with my writing? Perhaps I should tone it down."
I've done this. I've edited scenes because I was scared. I thought they were good, but I'm generally thought of in my "social circle" as a sweet, innocent girl (as my brother says, "sweet little baby Sarah") and thought others reading it might be shocked. Okay, so if at all possible you'd probably rather not offend anyone. But let me ask you, for example: For those of you who share my belief on how abortion is a sin, if you were asked to write an oral report on your personal beliefs on the matters of abortion, would you conform? Would you say, "Well, I don't want to offend my classmates, so I'll just state the facts and statistics of abortion and not get into my personal views." What a waste of precious opportunity. I would hope both you and I would write a puncher and do our best to convey the horrible brutality of abortion and the scars it leaves.
The fact is, we can't be afraid. We can't stop ourselves from writing what we believe to be right and good just because someone else may take offense, whether you're concerned about your parents, your friends, or the world for that matter. As long as you are following the guidelines God has given us, for goodness' sakes write what you want. Show others you mean business. Display boldness. As you write, don't be thinking about the world and letting that cloud your vision.
Of course, questions begin to arise. But what if other's think of me differently? What if they misread what I'm trying to say and I portray myself in a bad light or, again, cause real offense? We can't let the fear of other's reading our work stop us from writing, because then, obviously, we would have nothing to say. All we can do is make sure we write in a way that is clear and mature and hope others understand. If they don't, it's time to start building that backbone!
As a quote I saw on pinterest said, "Write like nobody's reading." When you are writing, let it just be you and the paper, with the tool of a pencil or keyboard to let your thoughts flow out onto the page. Constantly wondering about the opinions of others will greatly hinder you in your writing, and undoubtedly 98% of the time you'll end up not fully explaining yourself in the way you wished. This happens to me. I'm plagued by thoughts of doubt and constantly bring myself down in my writing. I hope to take a tight hold of the gift God has given me to write and use it to its fullest potential in a God-pleasing manner, not a world-pleasing one. I hope you'll be encouraged to not give up in your endeavors, whether it be writing or another talent, and you'll take charge with confidence.
**Please check out Abigail Hartman's post dealing with some similar issues and beyond inspired by the quote "Write Like Nobody's Reading" on her blog Scribbles and Ink Stains. Abigail is a young published author and has a wonderful grasp on the complex world of writing; I highly recommend her blog :) Here is a link to the post: http://scribblesandinkstains.blogspot.com/2013/03/like-nobodys-reading.html Thank you, Abigail, for letting me include your post in my entry!