What I mean by that is: have you ever had the experience where you wrote a story that was “handed to you” opposed to something you had in mind? When I say this, I don’t nessecarly mean you get the fully formed story and you can draft it in months or a week, as opposed to many years, even decades.
I’m talking about stories that may hit too close to home for the writer, but they just had to write it, no matter what, and whether or not they publish it, it seemed to help them in some way.
I often hear writers talk about this serendipitous, impossible to explain experience of a story they need to write, but normally wouldn’t, or even didn’t want to write/enjoy writing, but later saw it was worth it.
While I feel less down on myself to hear writers, especially those farther in their careers than myself at present, admit to this, I personally have not found this experience either helpful or enlightening, and maybe that comes from my impatient and stubborn nature.
I feel like a hypocrite for saying this, but I feel conflicted with this issue, and as someone who strives to be less restrictive with what I write, I struggle with being free in my writing, because most of the time, it’s led to my biggest flops, and no amount of editing will fix it.
I know about living with a mental illness.
I know about living with a parent with a mental illness.
I’m not in denial about either of these things. But I don’t want to write about it.
Not as fiction.
Not as nonfiction.
I just don’t want to go there.
Even if I did, the distance needed to not just be a tedious rant is nonexistent.
I’ve often heard writers say that sometimes what you don’t want to write is what you need to write, and I’m not talking query letters (They go without saying!) but writing stories about topics or subjects you either are too afraid to write, or simply don’t want to write because they can hit too close to home, or your angst/depression/rage towards the issue(s) involved with personal experiences in certain topics cloud your ability to write (and rewrite, yuck!) the best story you can, instead of a one-sided rant, and we get enough of that from “reality” television as it is, and if you don’t want to be part of that world, and I sure don’t, why add to it?
I’d LOVE to hear other sides to this topic. Please share your experiences of instinct and happenstance in the comments below.
I’d like to think I’m not alone, but sometimes I wonder, I think my old critique group friends are braver than I am in this regard, or they just hide their mixed feelings so well I’d never know.
Until next time,