Who Are You Writing For…?

Do we write from our hearts, or for acceptance of others?

Art is a beautiful thing. As individuals, I believe the greatest contribution we give to society is our own unique brand of expression. Whether you are an artist, writer, painter, sculptor, performer, musician, or actor; our unique ability to create and share with others, is what sets us apart. It’s what makes our world the wonderful technicolor circus that it is. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same? If we all thought the same, talked the same, dressed the same, liked the same things? What if everything was colorless—if we viewed everything in black and white? This brings to mind the movie “Pleasant Ville”.

For those of you who’ve ever seen the movie, you recall the reactions of some of the town’s people when things started to change–when their world started to color. The vast majority was afraid; they viewed it as something evil—something orchestrated by the devil himself. Even while at the same time, being inexplicably drawn to it. Very few were brave enough to openly explore this new phenomenon, to embrace it, for fear of what others might think of them. Could we exist in a colorless world—a world where a monochromatic theme doesn’t stop us from going along happily each day as normal? Sure, we could, if we didn’t know any differently. As the saying goes, you can’t miss what you’ve never had. But luckily, we don’t exist in such a world.

I view creative expression as color; it comes in every different shade and hue. For example, I love the color green. But there are many different shades of green, such as olive, kelly, emerald, mint, and forest–just to name a few. The beauty of it is, I’m not limited to just green, I can enjoy the color in all its variant glory. I view writing as the same. Whether the genre is romance, sci-fi, mystery, erotica, horror, or thriller; there is no shortage of creativity to go around, to cater to every audience. As writers, do we worry about what others might think of us if we go outside the box; if we write about something that may be viewed as taboo? I commend all the authors who’ve had the guts to go outside the box—to write about the things that others may have only thought about or talked about behind closed doors. You know—such topics as erotica, same-sex relationships, interracial relationships, or infidelity. All of these things are a reality, why not talk about them? Of course, not every view will be received by everyone, but there is a unique audience for just about every subject.

Do we stay true to what’s in our hearts, to our own creative views when writing?

I recently experienced the reality of individual view and opinion when I revealed the title of my upcoming book to another. Mind you, it’s only a title—they had absolutely no inkling of the story itself—or of the characters therein. Yet, this person had drawn several conclusions immediately, most of which were inaccurate. I have to say, I was mildly surprised—and even a bit flummoxed; when their reaction seemed immediately negative. Sure, I could have gone into explanation—could have explained the relevance of the title, perhaps have even tried to sway their view. But I figured, why bother? After all, if a person can draw the conclusion that a book might not be “relatable” just from its title alone, then perhaps they just aren’t my audience. There will always be people who don’t see color the way that we do; it’s what makes us unique as humans. Everyone views the world differently. Some of us see it in black and white, while others see it in color. This is the reality of creative expression, not everyone is going to understand it, or love it, or get behind it. As writers, we won’t be able to please the masses, but there will always be an audience who gets us.

In the end, I believe we should always write from our hearts. We should write about what naturally pops into our brains; the stories that take shape and evolve seemingly without our permission. We shouldn’t be afraid to express our out the box thinking—or to put it out there in the universe for others to enjoy. If author E.L. James had been afraid to put her story out there—to enlighten us on the subject of bondage and fetish, we would still be under the impression that there were only maybe five shades of Grey—instead of fifty (Ha-ha). There’s a reason her books were so successful, a reason they were made into much-anticipated movies. James brought to light a subject that was taboo—a subject that’s only whispered about; but never openly discussed in most circles. Wasn’t her books referred to as “Mom Porn?” In that button-down, respectable wives and mothers were coveting her books, enjoying reading about something that they would never dare talk about or experience in real life? The very things that we are expected to turn a blind-eye to and pretend don’t exist; for fear of what others may think of us? The bottom line is–who are you writing for?

Are you afraid to write about things that your family, friends–or even community might raise an eyebrow at? Have you written books, short stories, or poems—only to never share them with others because you were afraid of being judged? When do you say to hell with others and do what’s truly in your heart?

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