Sunday, 8 February 2015

Writing - Writing from where you're at

The title of today's offering is the result of watching 'The Magic of Belle Isle' and reading an article by author and journalist Will Self. In a sense there isn't much of a link other than from in the film the line 'you have good instincts writing from where you're at' and Will Self is comparing the sort of people childless people and parents are.

In fact in some ways the two examples are contradictory. In my first teaching job the headteacher used to annoy us young folk intensely by saying that we wouldn't be good teachers until we had our own children. Will Self, a parent himself, wasn't being as crass but was suggesting that in some ways parents were more complete than those without parents. In point of fact neither my head teacher or Self were wrong. The point is, as a writer, you should use what you know and what you've experienced.
The above doesn't preclude anyone from putting pen to paper. From the youngest to the oldest all have experiences. I have marked some great stories written by school children and perhaps in the hurly burly of working and being a parent myself, I missed an opportunity by not compiling a collection of those stories. In short write if you feel that you want to.


In fact knowing yourself may help when writing, however, that comes with a health warning. The activity is putting ideas on paper and if you over think that process it will be almost impossible to complete anything but the shortest of articles. It remains essential that you get the ideas down and the person you are will automatically colour the style of what you produce.

On the other hand knowing yourself should enable you to feel confident that you are accurately representing yourself in what you produce. As you grow and age your relationships and experiences are a library of information about people and how they react to each other and so enable you to better understand your characters and their interactions in your stories. Some of the information in that 'library' may be observed rather than experienced but they are just as valid.

So understanding oneself. The above diagram is a representation of Sigmund Freud's attempt at explaining personality. He expounded his theories at the end of the 19th century and many better qualified people than me have attacked, supported and made suggested changes according to more modern scientific study. If you wish to read more then Google Freud and you will have oceans of material. The important point is that it is one way of analysing oneself and what makes you tick, therefore where you're at when you write.

The really important point is enjoy the experience.

God Bless