A teacher once told me, “When you write, a piece of yourself goes into it.”
It made sense. You write from your heart and from your head and you put a personal piece of yourself in whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s from experience or imagination, it’s part of you. Writing is used as an outlet for many, for heartbreak or happiness, or for whatever passion they had.
I didn’t think about another angle of it until earlier this year, and it’s been surprising me ever since.
Consider every character you’ve created. What traits do they have that you do, too? Or traits that you want, what kind of situations have you put them in?
In some ways, we live vicariously through our characters. In others, we put our own experiences in them, and they become a reflection of who we are, what we want, or what we cannot or haven’t achieved. Mostly on accident. But isn’t that what makes those characters so easy to write? Because you understand and relate to them on some level?
It’s not just characters, but scenes. Living situations. Worlds. Suddenly, your writing turns into a playground where everything is possible, and it’s hard not to go wild.
Think about what you find yourself writing most often. Is the character slim and tall with a lot of money behind their name for whatever reason? Or are they larger, squat, pinching pennies?
It goes back to the idea that you look for certain qualities in a partner that you don’t like about yourself. Good teeth, neat, straight hair, eyes that are green or blue. Depending on what you’re comfortable and happy with about yourself, what you accept, you’re probably more likely to write those traits into characters.
Writing is deeply personal already, but when you pour your soul into each character, each scene and plot twist or hook, it steps up to a whole different level. You become your writing, and your writing becomes you, in a way.
-The Novice Wordsmith