Many new writers use the justification that they can’t write their stories for fear what their family/friends/colleges might think of the work. They are worried what will Mom, son, auntie June, guy in the next cubical or grandma think about the story. What if you are writing about a situation that has been held secret from the family or coworkers? What if you are revealing a secret trait –like you are superman?
Even if you are not writing a memoir, your life and relations will sneak into the narrative. Whether we mean to or not, we simply write what we know. I know in every strong female character I create, there is a sprinkling of my Mother. Even if your missive is about your first dog and how his cuddles saved your teenage life, somewhere in the narrative your Mother will sneak in and she may not like the way your pen paints her.
I think this it is crazy to care about what other people think about you or your writing. I didn’t always feel this way, but now I am so stubbornly confident, and I just don’t give a hoot. I understand the hesitancy for those who do care about not so public opinion. I get it, but I decided in my 20’s that people either love me or hate me, no middle ground with my strange personality and I just don’t have time to care. I have writing to do.
Only opinion that I care about are my Grandkids and I keep them in enough lolly’s to guarantee their devotion.
To ease your mind, I can tell you that I have been writing a weekly column for over 8 years and use my family frequently
as subject matter AND THEY HAVE NEVER READ A WORD
(except my Mother). My columns are published online, spread throughout the country in a free paper and spend the entire week as the soul reading material on my kitchen table. AND THEY HAVE NEVER READ A WORD
(except my Mother). I can say anything I want about them, because they will never
read my work. Maybe after I have gone home to the dictionary in the sky, they will read my stories, but why would I care then?
1. Write like you dance, like no one is watching.
Every situation is experienced differently from each person’s perspective, so make it clear that the story is your opinion, not the truth (but what is truth? Awww –We just got deep.)
Call your story, a fictional account based on a real story. This will keep Oprah from sic’ing her dogs on you and you can say you made up anything that offends.
If you are going to write about your mother, make two of her characteristics Beautiful and Thin.
If you are going to write about a male make sure the character has a really small penis, no man will ever say, “Hey- that’s me!”
Just write. The likelihood that the ones you are afraid of upsetting will read your work is slimmer than winning the lottery.
Imagine your Mother is in prison. You get to pick her crime and her cellmates. I want you to describe how prison has changed her, describe her day. (If your Mother is really in prison, I apologize and write her on a cruise ship).
500 words or more about that criminal Mom- have fun; you never have to show it to her. But please share it with me!