So, when you are writing, remember that there countless other perspectives than yours. Falling into this trap of believing your words are somehow universal is, to put it simply, immature.
When you are writing, you are giving freedom to your thoughts. Writing for yourself is a fantastic exercise that everyone, no matter how good they are, should do regularly. Keeping track of your experiences and ideas can be a great gift to someone later in life.
That said, writing for others takes a completely different mindset.
The other day, I wrote a poem for the first time in years. I won’t share it here for two reasons:
1. The poem is ridiculously personal and embarrassing.
2. No one would understand it except for me.
(Yes, yes, I understand that there are great works of literature out there that we will never fully understand because the author did not share its true meaning, but that doesn’t mean that I am seeking anything other than catharsis.)
When I write for an audience, however, I have to rely on more than just my own thoughts and values. I have to pull from shared experiences (which I frankly assume) and translate them into words that I believe will resonate with people.
That, I believe, is what makes a good writer. Empathy. The ability to speak to a lot of people in a meaningful or practical way without alienating yourself in the process.
Enjoy the words.
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