As writers, many of us are aware of how our work bares our soul to those that care to pay attention. But this article gives you a different perspective on what your writing can reveal about you. I hope you enjoy it!
You are what you write:
How your writing reveals the real you
By Nikolas Baron
Writing is really amazing when you think about it. One takes a group of symbols and uses them to represent words. These words are the building blocks of ideas expressed in sentences. And, with a sentence you can make the reader laugh or cry. Now, that is power! Have you published one of your creative works? What did it say to the readers? At Grammarly, I have met published writers in person. I have seen their personality reflected in their writing. What does your writing say about you?
Your writing may indicate:
Your education and career background.
Prolific medical thriller writer Robin Cook is a physician. I suspected that he must have a medical background because of his authoritative understanding of medical concepts. When I researched him, I found that he trained to be a doctor at Harvard University. If you have expertise in a certain field, you may inadvertently convey that knowledge by how you address certain topics. Using jargon is a dead giveaway. There is little reason to hide your background when you write, but you may need to hide a lack of experience. There is no rule that you need a medical background to write fictional medical thrillers, for example. However, you will have to do a lot of research and have a solid understanding of the medical field to be taken seriously.
Carma’s Note: I’ll admit it, I’m smart and well educated and it shows in my writing and word choices when talking. Guilty as charged!
Your personal background.
Writing is a great release to deal with childhood traumas. Some fiction writers have found comfort in inventing characters that successfully overcome tragic events that they themselves faced in their own lives. Do you have relatives that experienced a noteworthy event in history? Many survivors of concentration camps talked with family members about their ordeals. As a fitting tribute, some descendents have written biographical or fictional accounts of their family’s legacy. Think about your own writing. Are there repeated themes? If writing about difficult times is not enough to unburden your heart, seek professional help.
Note: The recurring themes that you may detect in your own writing need not be negative. You may find that you have a hidden source of pride in a particular detail!
Carma’s Note: Interesting side note–I’ve noticed that food shows up in a LOT of my fiction, even if the story has nothing to do with food! In fact, I placed in the top 25 for a story I wrote for an online short story contest because of a scene it in that featured chocolate cheesecake!
Your attention to detail.
The manuscript that you share with the world may indicate your level of diligence. Two factors will be on display. First, do you have grammatical errors in your text? Use free proofreading services, available online, to help you to detect issues. If you have a lot of issues or you are not sure how to correct your mistakes, consult a professional editor or enroll in an English class at your local college. Second, did you do meticulous research? As mentioned above, some readers will notice whether you are an expert in the field that you reference in your novel. Make sure that you use reliable, current sources to make your book more credible.
Carma’s Note: Ack! Since I have dyslexia, it seems that no matter how much attention to detail I pay, mistakes still get through. So please, be gentle kind reader. 🙂
Your personal viewpoints.
Do you have a strong opinion about homosexuality, certain races, or controversial events? Your audience may pick up on subtle undertones of your personal views. The words and actions of your characters may betray how you feel. In addition, though you may totally disagree with the actions or attitude of a character, your audience may assume that you agree with the personnage that you have created. Be careful about how you talk about races, cultures, and genders in your writing. This is one of the most important times to ask yourself: What does my writing say about me?
Writing is one of the most miraculous inventions of humankind. Whether you intend to or not, you will reveal some indicators of your personality by the words you use and how you use them. Use these powerful tools carefully, and your writing will say what you want it to about YOU!
About the Author
Nikolas Baron discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling and reading.
Now its your turn:
What does your writing reveal about you? Have you noticed trends in your own work (like the food motif in my own writing)? Have you illuminated your personal background through word-choice or topic? I’d love to hear what you think your writing reveals about you! Do share in a comment below.