Sunday, February 9, 2014

Know Thyself, Writer

If you thought my last blog was about people being snobs, YOU MISSED THE POINT ENTIRELY! My last post discussed the personal motivation a person might have to criticize another person’s grammar. The point wasn’t that you shouldn’t be so critical—go ahead and be critical. Revel in criticism if you like. Shout and gloat. Point your finger and laugh out loud. I don’t care.

All kidding aside, giving and especially receiving criticism is very important to a writer. Criticism leads to learning experiences. Each critique can be a gift if we learn to look at critiques with a dispassionate eye.

My previous post concerned the snobbery that most of us humans engage in and the emotional basis for it. I wanted you to get into your own head and analyze yourself.

Why? Because the only person you can truly know is yourself. You are the only test subject at your disposal. All your story’s character’s inner selves are an extension of your inner self. If you don’t understand yourself, then how can you really understand others? Empathy allows you to put yourself in your character’s shoes, but self-understanding allows you to translate your new perspective honestly.

Writing good characters requires self-awareness and empathy. If you are a sociopath, you’re probably not going to be a good writer. Sorry. There are other professions I understand you would be good at: thief, assassin, or dictator.

“Know thyself,” the ancient Greek maxim goes. It is the first step to truly understanding others. And writing good characters.

#writing #writer