Stanislavski asked his actors:
“Are you in love with the art in yourself or yourself in the art?”
I often examine my own motives for writing the way I do.
Konstantin Stanislavski has that effect on me. Even though he’s known for teaching actors to inhabit their characters on stage, these lessons can be applied to writing as well. I love when I can take a technique from one discipline and apply it to another.
I’m fascinated by the creative process.
The main push of Stanislavski’s methodology was emotional authenticity. Maybe that’s why I’m influenced by this Russian actor’s insight. He urged his students to draw on personal experience while they explored their characters.
That’s not to say, as writers, we can’t explore areas we’ve never experienced–such as grief, terror, abuse, etc. It’s just that, for me personally, I find it more challenging to write about something I’ve never experienced. Maybe that’s why I’m not drawn to fiction writing.
Imagine me trying to bring a comic (fictional) character to life. It would be less than convincing. The early stages of character design would come across as phony. I don’t care how many revisions I made to the storyline, it would still sound insincere. Why? Because I lack the necessary imagination to capture the nuances of a comedic figure.
I cannot write what I do not know.
So, I write what I do know. Nonfiction. REAL life. REAL stories.
I write about what I love, what I hate, what I fear, what I envy. I write about courage, insecurity, and hope. I write about grace. I write about falling down and getting back up. Again. And again.
Every tear, every smile, every experience is tucked away in my heart. Then, when the time is right, when I feel most convicted, I unpack those feelings the best way I can.
Each story I write says this to my audience:
I believe life is like this . . . What do you believe?
And then, my dear audience, the conversation begins.
This is why I stick to my own script. I want my writing to remain authentic.
I also write what I believe in hopes of finding common ground with my audience. Whenever I hit “publish” on a post, and send it off to the WordPress reader, I look forward to making a connection with my readers. If I don’t, I’m not crushed. I’ve realized that my writing can’t please everyone.
But when I do make that connection with another reader, it’s like hitting blog gold. Suddenly, I don’t feel alone. I feel like we’re on this journey together.
Guess you could say I’ve had several revelations this past week about writing and community. But I don’t want to dole out my thoughts on writing for an audience just yet. I could spoil things.
I’ll shut up and let you talk now.
Do you write what you know? Or, do you write about things you’ve never experienced, emotionally or otherwise?