As you may have seen, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year and gearing up to write a book. Eek! I'm excited and a little nervous. But I mostly just want to get started. As I've been preparing for it and making notes on what I want to write, I find myself preemptively wondering how it will be received when I'm finished. I know, I know, cart before the horse. But a lot of my writing is filled with honesty about difficult things. Mental health, family relationships, childhood, body image, marriage, friendships, and more. Though I may not share everything all at once, and some of it is a little more subtle in the form of poetry, I definitely don't sugar coat anything either. It's not my style.
So, how do I navigate that? Writing about difficult things that will paint someone or a group of someones in a really negative light. But at the same time, it's the truth. They always say the truth hurts, right? I mean, if you behave a certain way and hurt people, do you get the benefit of anonymity? I feel like the answer is no.
Some of the thoughts floating around in my head right now:
Do I fictionalize my story and make these things happen to some other person?
Do I self-censor at the expense of my own truth to accommodate someone else's feelings, even though they rarely gave a thought to mine? How long do I let them have this power over me?
Do I let them read it when I'm finished?
Some of the people have passed away - is it fair of me to write about them when they can't speak up for themselves anymore?
What happens when I explicitly write about my life experiences without poetry and carefully chosen words that could have 100 different interpretations?
But as I said, cart before the horse. I don't have any answers right now, and all of this is moot if I don't get the story out of my head first. I'm just going to write and let the words fall where they may. Wish me luck!
And if you've navigated this path before, please comment and tell me about it. How did the people you wrote about react to your writing? I'd love to know.