Monday, 25 July 2011

The Seven Big Fears: Revealing Too Much

We are naturally private as humans, liking to create a comfortable level of knowledge around us and only ever revealing certain aspects of our life and experiences to selected members of friends and family. Writing however creates a fundamental problem in how much we expose ourselves within our work.

Even in writing non-fiction you quite possibly will be revealing some of yourself within the work either by opinion of by recalling of your own experience within the field. It is inevitable then that one of the big writing fears is that of revealing too much.

There are positives and negatives to revealing yourself in your writing. As a disadvantage it does make any criticism feel more personal but the big positive is that it can allow you to better engage with your readers. If the reader is able to access a sort of genuine emotion in a piece they can relate to it makes your work all the more enjoyable to read.

When dealing with this fear remember that, unless you intend to write strictly neutral non-fiction, it is a necessary part of writing and that without it your work is in danger of sounding dull and artificial. When it comes to the question of too much do look at the consequences of what you are writing, who it may upset and if it can perhaps be amended to make it more suitable.

Whether you reveal yourself in your work or not you will always be vulnerable to criticism and as a writer that is unavoidable. The key I think when putting yourself into your work is to reveal as much as you are comfortable with provided it adds to the work and does not put you at risk of a libel suit.

If you are unsure about libel law you can find some useful information on writers services.


Baggy said...

That's a good point. I don't think writers can fail to reveal something of themselves, even if it's just in choosing a topic to write about.

Patsy said...

I hadn't thought much about this, but agree we can't help revealing a little of ourselves whwn we write.