I don’t think it can be healthy to always question what others will think of you because of your writing. This is something I’ve come up with from observation and discussions with people who read, but don’t write, over the years. I know not everyone has this reaction, I also know that I’ve had it at some point in my life, where you judge a writer by their work. Sometimes you can’t help but ask the question ‘Is this present in this piece of work because the writer feels/believes/thinks/experiences this?’
I think it’s easy to do this for two main reasons; 1 being that through a person’s academic life they’re taught to analyse, something of which I think can feed into a very natural inclination to judge without merit, especially in cases of text. 2 is the idea of writer’s writing what they know. Is that taking it too literally? I think it goes without saying that a writer can’t help place a small amount of themselves in the story they’re creating, whether it is part of their character or something as general as drawing from their experiences with certain emotions, but that doesn’t mean they’re writing their life.
I don’t think humans can help themselves sometimes when it comes to prejudging someone based on even the smallest things because it is an emotional reaction. Think of those times you’ve acted without reason and done something you probably wouldn’t have done if your emotions hadn’t gotten the better of you. It doesn’t have to be about judging someone or a situation, but prejudgement is there pretty much all the time. Human beings are emotional creatures, judgement comes from feelings outright or beliefs that are tied in with feelings, and If you take the time to think something through before you act, how often can you nullify that prejudgement and the thoughts that come with it?
Written stories, just like visual entertainment and art, brings out an emotional response. This doesn’t mean that a reader is always going to judge the source, but how many times does a reader judge the character?
When it comes to wondering how people will judge me based on my writing, and yes I do give myself a moment every now and then to question this, I can see a lot that would be picked up about my own character at times. One thing I’ve been wondering about a lot lately is given more to several works rather than the one piece, and that is military leanings. I wonder how many people who will read my work in future and question if I have a military background.
The closest I’ve ever been to having any sort of military experience is a rebellious desire to join the army when I was in my teens, and that was mainly because I’m a diabetic. The fun thing about diabetes, like a lot of other medical problems, is you can’t join the military and I don’t like being denied something because of my diseases, like scuba diving, flying a plane, joining the police force, becoming an astronaut, giving blood… boy does that list go on! I realise why I can’t do those things, it’s a matter of people’s safety (except for the blood giving, that one I don’t understand), but at a point in my life I was quite rebellious against accepting the fact that there are some things I can’t do because of a stupid organ.
My point is, after my tangent, that’s the extent of my military life experience. That and the dreams. I have had military themed dreams since I was a kid and I think that’s one aspect of why I have such a military presence in some of my work. Utilising the military is a great way to write a disciplined group or society, whilst also being able to make group formidable.
This doesn’t mean I have a military background at all and I know that because I’m writing about it doesn’t automatically mean I do have one, but sometimes I wonder about a writer’s interest in the subjects they’re writing, and I figure others do as well.
When it comes to affecting how you right though? I couldn’t imagine letting what others may think influence what I’m writing because how easy would it be to let that squash your desire and hamper your ability to create a story? How could that still be your story in the end?