I had a writing professor tell me to never share anything you write until it’s published, because nobody wants to see themselves in a story. I’m sometimes reminded about how true this is.
It’s never about you.
I don’t have a large readership, and I don’t receive much feedback on what I write on this blog. But!, sometimes I do hear from people about what they think about what I’ve written. The feedback that I get most often is from people who are unhappy about something.
Everything that I write on here is, primarily, about me. Don’t forget how narcissistic blogging is. Sure, you may identify with something I’ve written, but the post is never about you , and is in no way a dedication to you (unless I call you out).
Yes, I draw on my experiences to inform my posts. Yes, you may have been a part of my experience. Yes, you didn’t know/think that I was going to blog about it when it was happening. Yes, you really don’t know me.
Now, I don’t mind criticism. In fact, I adore it. I want to be a better writer, and I want to write about things that people actually want to read about. I want to create engaging, informative stories that people read and think about.
One thing that people are most interested in is other people. The tabloids wouldn’t exist if this weren’t the case. Stories without people in them wouldn’t be stories. They’d be dry, meticulously researched papers about atoms or subatomic particles or some such thing.
If ever you think I’m writing about you, I implore you to stop and think about why. Aren’t stories meant to reach people? To touch them in some significant way? Aren’t our lives just one big story, being written in serial fashion? Aren’t all of our stories connected, intertwined, and relatable?
Stories create compassion and understanding. They create strife and hatred, too. They explore the depths of who we are, as people in society in direct contact with other people. They establish, in a very real way, the narrative that retells our impromptu existence.
Stories are calculated, worked, rewritten, and vetted. And, unlike journalism, they are fictitious. No matter how real they may seem to you, and no matter how much you identify with the characters in the story, it’s fake. It’s a selection of ideas and thoughts that tell my version of an experience. Not yours.
Remember that adage about coins? You know, how they have two sides? Stories aren’t coins, they’re dies.
In any case, that you were so moved by my words to choose to admonish me for them, is telling. I reached you.
And, yes, this post is about you.