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How much of your personal life ends up in your writing?

rebeccahann
Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:07:58 GMT

Does it ever hurt people you love, or make you afraid of what people around you will think? One friend mentioned a time when her mother was so upset at her for publishing a really emotional piece about their family. Is your own need to express yourself worth potentially harming/losing an important relationship?

jkoratzanis
Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:08:04 GMT

Sometimes too much. I tend to outline with sentences for each scene. When I flesh it out, I'll sit with my eyes closed as my mind watches my past unfold. Second draft, change environments and outcomes as to conceal some things from those who were involved originally.

resilient_gal
Mon, 19 Feb 2018 05:00:30 GMT

It's an addiction of mine to use my experiences in my stories. However, I fictionalize things and try not to cross certain lines.

SYRENA
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:43:30 GMT

You can`t completely erase your personal life, but I tend to just use an idea of a real event. Not just because I could hurt people that I love. The thing is that real events, real people and the things that are happening to them are not usually so interesting.

Lauren
Thu, 15 Mar 2018 19:45:19 GMT

A lot of it. Not necessarily specific events (though that happens too) but a lot of times characters have bits and pieces from people I know or have encountered and certain identities and experiences always end up in my stories with some twists.

WCAspirations
Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:23:42 GMT

My personal life always finds a way into what I'm writing one way or another, it's just such a prominent part of my experience. I do worry about the effects of this on those close to me but I'm also fully against censoring my writing

kennyflem
Fri, 30 Mar 2018 20:16:23 GMT

I hate putting my personal life into my writing. For me it just makes the story seem more familiar and less creative. It's what I know, so I can write that story. But I find that it lacks imagination. I want to be surprised by my own ideas.

Eli
Fri, 30 Mar 2018 21:41:05 GMT

The writings that I'm really proud of the whole plot is based on a personal experience and same with my favorite scenes. For me the story becomes much more real when that happens, hits closer to home for the readers and not just me; helps the emotion transfer through the words more (in my opinion of course).

55amosul
Sun, 01 Apr 2018 10:57:48 GMT

With my first novel, 'Proud City the Unaware Revolution', I tried to make an explicit separation. Each character is a story teller and has a perspective; none is mine per se. Apparently, the novel is complex for general readers, but rich in substance. Personal experience is mostly for your readers because they like flipping pages than contemplating a sentence. I stay away from it, but again, your personal experience is preferable to someone else.

emilybh
Mon, 02 Apr 2018 23:52:23 GMT

In answer to the main question, I would always have said that I find my characters coming home with me, as opposed to my personal life bleeding into them. That said, they say write what you know and I'm currently playing around with two concepts from my personal life and bringing them forth in a character. I'm also looking at writing a family memoir about the amazing-and-crazy women in my family and their stories. We'll see where that goes. So, in short, my answer would be both. In answer to your sub-questions, I am quite wary of it at this point in my life. However, I did just meet a prolific writer/playwright/poet in New Zealand; she's just published her memoir, a collection of stories/poems/plays, with one for each year of her life (88!!). Her opinion was that it's her story to tell and she's going to tell it, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

macbowers
Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:28:29 GMT

I think it depends. There are definitely bits and pieces of my own experiences in the fiction I write, but I tend to use those as just a kind of jumping off point, and then fleshing them out creatively. As far as when I write nonfiction, there is obviously no way around having my personal life in there. I have a friend who wrote this amazing nonfiction piece but never sent it out to be published anywhere because it was about her family and she was afraid of the repercussions of possibly getting it published. I think that aspect is definitely a risk you have to weigh.

BFWhelehan
Tue, 17 Jul 2018 20:12:50 GMT

For me I'd say probably 70-80% has to do with my personal life. I enjoy writing about business, employee development, leadership and the like and I think if you don't tie your own personal experiences into that kind of writing you come across as too much like a text book

arieljane
Tue, 24 Jul 2018 16:15:31 GMT

I typically try to keep my personal life out of writing, but that never actually works. Even if I'm writing fiction and begin with a topic completely unrelated to me, somehow I weasel my thoughts into the piece. Often while I'm editing I will notice something remarkably similar to my own life, and get annoyed I didn't see it at first! It's a learning process for me.

carolynwritespoems
Thu, 26 Jul 2018 17:18:33 GMT

Ariel––same! My experiences definitely find a way to weasel their way into my fiction. I definitely have an easier time writing fantasy though, because I can remove myself from the world more easily.

Keaneja
Sun, 29 Jul 2018 02:34:26 GMT

I guess part of your writing from your personal experiences are unavoidable because the characters and stories you're writing are partially from your life experience. Write what you know is something I've heard a lot of writers say.

Royal T
Mon, 30 Jul 2018 11:22:44 GMT

For me, everything is personal that I write. While every character is different I try to think and act as I believe that character should for the story. It makes me step away from my life and into a place I own and control. My beliefs and values shape who I am, they are never compromised in life. However, in my story I can be any and everyone and fly high above the greatest of imaginations.

Keaneja
Tue, 31 Jul 2018 20:51:40 GMT

I agree. Writing gives you incredible freedom to write whatever you want.

DarkMatterDimensions
Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:31:19 GMT

Writing is the only way I truly know how to express what I feel, so yes, all of my personal life ends up in what I write.

Royal T
Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:20:37 GMT

I think you can only write from your perspective. So it’s your view of and feelings during the time of the event. While the experience may embarrass the friend or family member it’s still your writing. So family should understand and if not theyll forgive you later

Donricklez
Thu, 23 Aug 2018 16:16:57 GMT

A lot of people see the dark side of my thoughts after reading my work. Being known as having a bubbly personality really throws people off.

valelinz
Fri, 24 Aug 2018 17:17:11 GMT

This is very simple for me: I wrote a book in the first person with a very depressing and aggressive protagonist. I like to put a dark side on my protagonists. I do not even have the courage to publish this book anymore, I finished writing it in a hurry. I became an unbearable person that year! I'll never write in the first person again! Tip: If you write in first person, make sure your protagonist is the person you want to be! But creation is something very personal. Literally several thoughts in the form of words.

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