Did you ever ask yourself who you really are?
Photo Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim
I am not talking about meta-physics, mental issues or different identities here.
While you might want to answer right away, that of course you know, I want you to take some time to think about it a little deeper.
There are many things, for example family, the people around us or society as a whole that influence us in our thinking our opinion. This can have a profound impact on many things in our life as well as your personal identity.
Life in patterns
We are put into certain patterns. We are expected to go to school, get a good job, marry, have kids, buy a house and then retire when we are old. In our life we often have to adapt to certain norms and opinions that are conform to society. Respect your elders, do as you’re told and don’t take to big a risk are just a few of these that come to mind.
We are exposed to all those things on a daily basis and often these can unconsciously influence us. With the media this influence has gotten even stronger in recent years. At one point we might actually start to believe in these things, even if we weren’t before. We might then see them as normal and the way things are supposed to be.
It can be the case that we at times don’t really know any more if we truly believe in something or if we just adopted a mass opinion. It takes effort to find out and we have to ask ourselves honestly.
Is your opinion your own?
It is not uncommon to let society and people around us dictate to us what we like and what not. If It is not uncommon to let society and people dictate what we like and what not. If people and society at a large go against something and start to dislike it, many people will follow this majority. They don’t want to be the odd one out and others might start to subconsciously search for reasons why the majority is right, instead of trusting in and sticking to their own opinion.
Nothing is more dangers and destructive to a writer than to blindly believe in other’s opinions.
Any easy example are movies. You might have watched a movie at the cinema and while it was not the best movie you ever saw, you enjoyed it well enough. The next day though you take a look at popular reviews and critical opinion. They all say the movie is terrible. Even your friends who watched it tell you the same thing. They might even ask what you think about it. Soon enough you will join in and agree that it is indeed not a good movie and change your initial opinion.
It is the same for cloth, hobbies or reading certain writers for example.
It starts in school
In school we already get put into certain roles and clichés. We are the nerd, the jock, the cheerleader, the rebel and so on. We get defined by the people around us. It continues on all throughout life. If we are smart we are urged by family to go to university to get a degree and a better job. If we are good at working with our hands, we are told to learn a trade and not to bother with an academic education.
Think about the point in life you are at right now and how you got there. Ask yourself how many of the decisions you took were your own. In how many decisions were you influenced and pushed on by others? Think about it.
It is important to take a deep look at yourself and try to find out who you truly are. It is necessary if you ever want to be a good writer.
Knowing who you are
Because of all the influences around us we don’t follow our own intuition anymore. Instead we adopt the thoughts, ideas and opinions of others. In time we will even start to see them as our own.
You need to trust in yourself again and learn again who you are. It is important that you get a sense of your memories and where you came from back.
Writing is not so much about just telling a story, but instead showing your own unique vision of the world. That is the only thing you can really show to people. Everything else has been done before. The only original thing are your very own thoughts, beliefes and convictions. To find out what those are though you have to get your own original vision of the world back.
The first step to get to know yourself again is to find out what you believe in the major questions of life. We don’t think about them often and should they come up we tend to simply repeat others’ opinions.
Instead, try to answer the questions here as honestly as possible:
- Do you believe in god?
- If you believe in god under what aspect?
- Do you believe in free will?
- What is the meaning of life?
- Do you believe in an an afterlife?
- Do you believe in love at first sight?
- Is romantic love a delusion or snare?
- What is your opinion on marriage?
- What is the greatest happiness or disaster you can imagine?
- Do you think of sentences like ‘It will all be the same in a hundred years.’ is profound, shallow, true or false?
These are obviously only a few questions. If you have other issues that are important to you, think about them as well and make up your opinion.
It is often the case that when we write fiction that we engage in these questions. They are often a central part of the fictional narrative or the underlying theme. It is important in that you put down your own opinions about it.
You can’t hope to write a good novel about religious beliefes for example, if you are unsure about your own believes. Even worse is repeating someone else’s opinion.
Sit down for some time and try to find out who you truly are and what it is you truly believe in. Only then can you ever hope to truly write.