For many writers, the greatest yield from their writing is not a royalties check or the adulation of fans at a book reading. Instead, it’s self-discovery.
To that end, many writers keep journals. By writing each or every few days about what occurred to them or their thoughts about some past event, they use the empty page as a friend or a counselor, describing and explaining what most bothers them, all the while making new connections to better understand their feelings, experiences and beliefs.
Even fiction writers whose focus is creating entertaining books enjoy the benefits of self-discovery. In a sense, all authors write about their past. A person is the sum of his or her own personal experiences, and bits and pieces of what has occurred to us can’t help but wind up in our writings. A character may be a conglomeration of two people we once knew, a setting may be our cousin’s house that we visited each summer, a name might be drawn from that kid in third grade just because it sounds right for the character.
In many ways, the writing seemingly directs the author. Indeed, some writers say the characters told their own story. Of course, those characters were only constructs in the author’s mind – and those constructs tell a lot about the author.
Why? Because writing allows us to reposition ourselves so we can see what is otherwise in our mental blind spots or those things about oneself and the world that we neither can see nor understand from the spot where we stand. It’s really not much different from reading a book – another person, who has a unique perspective from our own, sometimes can get us to turn our gaze to new ideas, concepts and ways of looking at things. Writing is the neck muscle allowing us to see the important stuff in our periphery.
Often as writers, we are surprised by what we learn about ourselves. It runs counter to what we we’ve thought about who we are. But it is closer to the truth.
And for those writers, the virtues of truth and authenticity outweigh their books’ value in gold.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.