At some point in your research about writing, you’ll read a chapter or an article that highlights effective ways to utilize personal experiences. I’m not sure if it’s possible to never take lessons or other experiences from your life as you explore a topic in a creative fashion.
The chapter or article will eventually share that one of the challenges of getting personal is talking about the people in your life, family and friends. They’ll be able to identify themselves even if you change some details. So what can you include? What should you include? And how?
If you’re young in writing, you’ll probably react to this information as I did: I’ve got a long way to go before I have to worry about this topic.
I drew this conclusion because I didn’t think I’d be publishing any personal work anytime soon. Today, I can feel the emotional weight of the inclusion I thought I was far from because I want to say more about the pain that surfaced as I answered the prompt, “Tell me about your relationship with friendship growing up.” Any pain associated with growing up mostly likely reflects on family or friends or both. The fact that they didn’t ask to be analyzed doesn’t change what I’ve found nor does it fully dictate whether or not I share.
Perhaps this very unpacking of what’s the right thing to do? is, in itself, a hurtful inclusion because now any reader has an open door into speculation. Why can’t the study of my life just focus on me?
Are you a creative writer or perhaps a researcher in the social sciences? Do you find yourself analyzing family and friends? How have you decided what to share with the world? Share your decision making journey in the comments and check back for installments of “Figuring It Out” at least twice a week. Share the link with a friend.