I’m sure you’ve heard it before, every writer has; “write what you know”. And sure, it’s a good piece of advice. If you write from your own life experiences, your writing is deeper, more authentic, more compelling. But what if you want to write about a bad life experience? One that involved the people in your life? One that might hurt the people in your life?
I write fiction. I can fictionalize certain events, change people’s names, etc. Even if I do those things however, the people who are close to me (or have been in the past) might recognize themselves. Some people might even recognize other people. And what if I’ve cast them in an unflattering role?
I know a lot of writers just don’t care. They figure if it happened to them, it’s fair game. They don’t worry about hurting others. But I do. I can’t help it. Even if some of these people treated me badly, I still worry. But I want to write about these things. And like I said before, if you draw on your own experiences, it makes your writing richer and more compelling.
In the end, I know I will write about some of these things. There is one subject that I might put off writing about for a few years. I think it’s still too fresh, still to hurtful. But everything else, well, I think I’ll have to just not worry so much. And with a little luck, the people who I’m writing about won’t recognize themselves!