I recently had a conversation with a coworker whereby we discussed who we are when we write. We are both writers by profession, and we both pursue personal writing outside of the writing that we do for our jobs. Most of what we write for work is non-fiction, and because of the type of content, we can’t leave much of ourselves in it other than small hints that only learned writers would see—a serial comma here, em dash there, and so on. More so style choices than anything else.
I do write this blog, and it is also non-fiction, but it leaves more of my personality behind than my professional writing does. You can easily see what my interests are by looking back over my posts, and by the way that I write, you can make a few assumptions as well. If you were notably observant, you would most-likely glean that I have pets, I write some horror, and I dabble in a number of other services outside of writing, such as editing, publishing, marketing, and design, to name a few.
But, do you really know me? Does enough of my personality leak out into the words for you to have a good idea of who is behind these words? I don’t think so. I think that we, as writers, choose who we wish to show to the public and who we keep to ourselves. The self that we show to the public is what we want people to see, the piece that we keep to ourselves is the one that encompasses all of our faults and families and friends. Not everyone writes that way, of course, some bare all and write about their innermost thoughts and desires. I’ve heard that it can even be freeing to do so, because the people that you are writing for don’t know you from anyone else and the release of your emotions can be quite wonderful.
I, however, am very careful about who I am when I write for the public. Part of the reason is probably that since I have to guard my writing for clients and employers, it’s just instinct for me to do so. The other part being that I am actually quite a private person. I may talk about general things of interest, or vague opinions, but nothing that would ever lead anyone to know who I am.
It’s not that I am a disappointment to myself, or that I don’t like to share, I am just one of many, many introverts, that prefers to have a different life at home that online, or even on paper. There have been a number of writers, and other professionals, out there who have removed themselves from any sort of spotlight, focusing on their skills instead of whatever interest those skills may pull in.
I wouldn’t say that I am completely different from the person that I seem to be when I write, but I am not as precise, eloquent, or even as thoughtful in real-time as I am on here. Writing has always been my communication of choice, because it allows me to sort my thoughts and feelings into a cohesive and well-organized retort or piece instead of the interjections, interruptions, or debates that arise when speaking.
This post plays a bit into another one I did about not feeling that you have to reflect your genre of writing. Artists of any kind have the opportunity to portray whatever they choose in their work, and it doesn’t always have to relate to the individual that created it. Sometimes, art just happens, and we aren’t always 100% responsible for what it becomes.
So, I ask, who are you when you write? What do you think you have learned about me from reading my posts?
To get into the sharing mood, I’ll tell you that my favourite days are filled with rain, I have two dogs and a cat, and I come from an acreage in Nova Scotia, Canada.