A Writer's Soul

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.
~Virginia Woolf

Whilst looking for inspiration from those who have gone before us, I came across the above quote by Virginia Woolf. It reminded me of a discussion on my message board about using yourself as a character and I thought I’d write about that and some other stuff I’ve been thinking about lately.

It’s true that every manuscript we write has a part of us in it. How could it not? As the author, we are using our own knowledge and thought patterns, and often our values, to get a point across. But have you ever used yourself in one of your stories?

I have.

However, the story was written by me, for me. It was not meant to be read by another set of eyes. It took me a long time to realise that, and I can tell you now that trying to take a person out of a story and replace them with a completely different person is hard to do. I tried it but the story lacked something essential…my soul was missing.

That story has been shelved and I’ve moved on, but I learned a lot during the rewrite of that manuscript. It’s only now that I realise that.

This brings me to the next part of this post. It’s a topic Deborah Woehr brought up a few days ago, and it made me think about writers, blogging and how we want people to perceive us.

This is my online diary. What is a diary? It’s a place to put your thoughts. A diary is never meant to be read by other people, so what does that mean? We censor our words. In writing a manuscript we hide behind words, but in writing a blog entry we censor them instead. Why can’t a writer just write what they feel? Be honest and open, and to hell with what the reader thinks? Some writers do, but no one can tell me that they never censore what they write. If I was told that, I wouldn’t believe it for a second because most of us care what people think. We don’t want the reader to think badly of us, and in the event that we might be published one day, we don’t want our words as an unpublished author to haunt us.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the loneliness of writing. What I was truly thinking and feeling never made it to the screen. I read those words now and cringe – they mean nothing, they sound vague. However, if I had allowed myself to write the post I really wanted to write I would have hurt people. I don’t even know if those people read this blog – maybe they don’t, but I couldn’t take the chance and I’m left with a post that means nothing. Yet, the people I didn’t want to hurt have hurt me, so why do I care what they think?

Part of our soul is in every word we write, so make sure the words are worthy of reading.

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