By Annette Rey
What do you have to write? What small message (or large) do you think you have to offer? I know. You don’t think you have such a monumental thing to donate. Most of us believe we live mundane lives and underestimate what we can pass to others. But readers are interested in your life experiences.
What of your childhood? Go back. Somewhere you learned an important lesson, you found compassion seeing a crippled child, you heard your father yell an epithet and it chilled you, a birthday party went awry…
Think. And write about that one moment in your life. The message could mean a new way of thinking to someone else. Allow your reader to experience that moment with you.
You must be honest.
Readers can tell when a writer is baring their soul.
Even your fiction can reflect your honesty. Much of our fiction is drawn from something in our own lives, people we have known, dilemmas we have faced. Write your real feelings at the time and how you evolved years later and was able to decipher the meaning of it all.
Or, sometimes more commonly, after years gone by we still don’t understand something we went through, or why it happened. Write about that, the frustration this has left you with, the remaining pain. Readers want to know they are not alone. They still have unsolved mysteries from their past.
We are our worst judge.
I find I am very forgiving and easy on friends when they bemoan a choice they made or a circumstance they find themselves in. And conversely, I would judge myself more harshly if I had made such choices.
Write about your attitude toward yourself as opposed to that of your friends.
Yes, sometimes the word family can evoke an exclamation! What is going on between you and your sister right now? Are there any undercurrents from a real or imagined slight that happened even a month ago that you believe she knows about? Is there a chance she has no clue you are harboring bad feelings?
Every good family has issues. The relationship between father and son may not be ideal, and probably isn’t. We are human after all. We make mistakes.
Write about a relationship in your family. Think of them as characters. Give them different names. This may free you to open up and delve deeply. You can add fiction into it as you write. You can play psychologist and diagnose the characters. That would be fun! How I’d enjoy putting a family member on the couch. I’d have no mercy. haha
Do that. Literally (in your writing) put a family member of your choice on the couch. Write the dialogue between the two of you. Write the story your way, the way you’d like it to turn out. Make the person confess to you, apologize to you, all the while you are holding the notepad and you are diagnosing that person. Imagine your doctorate certificate on the wall of your office. Feel powerful. Play with it.
But whatever you do, write.