1. O. Snow
    Offline

    O. Snow Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    15

    Ever Feel Like You're Showing Too Much?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by O. Snow, Jan 4, 2014.

    I'm not sure about you guys, but until recently I never let anybody I know read my writing. The reason for this being that I have a tendency to put everything into my writing, and it makes me feel rather naked and embarrassed. Everyone I've shown my writing to claims to have thoroughly enjoyed it, and of course have questions about my writing. This part of it is completely fine.

    I begin to draw issues when they express some bizarre desire to essentially psychoanalyze me. Yes, I write from memory and experience because that's what allows me to submerse myself, and when I'm lucky readers, in my fantasy world. This does not however mean I want to go sharing every little detail of my life thus far. I suppose the simple solution would be to stop writing in this manner, but it's what I enjoy and feel I'm good at. So two questions for you lot:

    First, do you ever feel as if you're showing too much of yourself in your writing?

    Second, is literature without true and honest expression even worth writing?
     
  2. outsider
    Offline

    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    609
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I completely empathise with what you're saying. I've found myself on occasion, going for the 'easier' option where I feel that my initial compulsion to write something from the darker recesses of the mind is too outlandish or taboo.
    There is (probably with some basis) a fear that such musings could be construed as being one's own thoughts/inclinations.
    I also think you're right in your assertion that literature needs honest expression, that is, to truly give yourself to the art form, you must dispel such irrational thoughts about how you/I will be interpreted as a human for conveying these ideas in print.
    I would be interested to hear other's thoughts on the subject.
     
  3. themilkybarkid
    Offline

    themilkybarkid New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Absolutely - there are things in my writing I'd really rather not have to discuss with my parents... But people will always make judgements and doubt the separation between author and (in my case first-person) protagonist. Just stick to your guns and don't compromise - and at least if they do psychoanalyse it/you you're gonna come off as some kind of fantasy world badass.
     
  4. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,784
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    Oh, that's definitely an issue any honest writer needs to confront. Maybe it's easier for us older ones, who have reached the 'don't give a shit' stage in our lives ...our parents are long dead, as are disapproving elder relatives, etc.

    Trouble is, the better your writing is, the more likely people are to assume you are writing from your own experience. They'll figure you couldn't have made up such vivid scenes and plots out of thin air but that it must have actually happened. Even if you haven't actually experienced what your characters do, even if your characters are NOTHING like you, there is no doubt you've thought the story up. So it all comes from you in one way or another.

    I don't know. I think maybe the solution is to show your work first of all to people you don't know. Maybe make some personal friends on this forum, and exchange 'conversations' with them. Let them be the first to read and feed back on your work. Or you can put it out there on the forum in general, and take whatever critiques comes your way.

    Hopefully the feedback will be positive enough for you to feel confident you're on the right track, and you'll feel less vulnerable about showing it to people who might 'judge' you. Unfortunately, if friends and family know you're writing, they will be pestering you to see it. Just develop the ability to say 'no' until you're ready. And then be ready to take the flak.

    In fact, I should say, be ready for the surprises. Many people whom you fear may judge you may actually 'get' what you're doing and be very supportive. A few others whom you thought would take it in their stride may not. And some won't give a ding-dong either way.

    Just work on developing a thick skin and an open mind, and you'll ride this wave just fine.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  5. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,850
    Likes Received:
    10,025
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    My fear is not showing enough of myself in my writing. In an interview I watched with Joni Mitchell, she spoke about the fact that friends (and critics, for other reasons) pointed out to her that in her album Blue, she was too revealing, too confessional, too much of her was naked and on display as a writer. Her friends said this out of concern for her. Critics later criticized her for perpetuating a "weak, emotional woman" paradigm. There is a song on the album called Little Green that is about the child she gave up in adoption when she was younger. What is not arguable is that this album is deeply moving, deeply evocative, deeply real. It's not fluffy, disposable music.
     
    jannert likes this.
  6. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    No, but that's because I'm probably in @jannert's TOTGAS group. If I were 20 instead of 60, I might feel differently, but I also think it's something a good writer needs to get past. In my case, I don't show my work to anyone until it's completed. Not even my wife (actually, especially not my wife! :D).

    Not in my book. I think literature needs to speak to real needs, real pain, real successes and failures.

    Thanks for two really good questions.
     
    jannert and TDFuhringer like this.
  7. mrieder79
    Offline

    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Uyumbe
    I am always more moved, more interested, more captivated by authors who are willing to bare their souls on the page. David Sedaris comes to mind. He writes about some incredibly personal things and it is amazing.
     
  8. heal41hp
    Offline

    heal41hp Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Oklahoma, USA
    No. But then again, I've never been confronted with the situation where people question what I've written versus me due to the fact I haven't produced much that's been read by many. Even the majority of the 300-some pages of my current project are virgin to readers. (though that appears to be nothing special) I also don't personally read into stuff that way. I just see an engaging story with engaging characters. So I never expect others to do that.

    Well, to break from all seriousness here, that depends on your definition of "worth." Twilight, to me, is a vapid POS. But how much money have those books/movies/etc. brought in? There's certainly a market. And I return to seriousness when I say deep, meaningful writing is absolutely worth writing. You speak to the hearts of people. They can see themselves in that writing, or they can at least forge a strong bond of empathy with it. That's the stuff that people can really connect to, that can really affect them.
     
  9. JayG
    Offline

    JayG Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    358
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    The truth is that everything meaningful that happens in a writer's life is going to show up in the writing. That uncomfortable barium enima? One of your characters will, eventually, have one when it's needed. Good or bad it all influences your writing.

    “You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-author forever.” ~ Ellen Goodman
     
    TDFuhringer, jannert and Fitzroy Zeph like this.
  10. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,784
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    TOTGAS! Love it.
     

Share This Page