Are We What We Write?

Carol Roach By Carol Roach, 28th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Writers write for different reasons, but are the things we write about reflective of who we are?


Are we what we write? This is a question I often ask myself as I write my stories. Of course to a certain extent we are what we write. For example, I write when I am happy and I write when I am sad. I write to motivate people and to teach. The former statement reflects my emotions while the latter reflects my counseling and teaching ability. I write about topics of interest to me, and I refuse to write about topics that do not appeal to me. There is a lot to be said about getting to know a writer through the topics and or genre they chose. But is it the whole picture?

Refusing certain writing assignment

There are some writers who will write about anything for money, fame, or simple attention. I am not saying there is anything theoretically wrong with that. Writing is a business, a profession like any other. For people who make a living out of writing, they will write whatever will pay the bills. They may be a sports writer, a travel writer, a freelance writer and so on. They see an opportunity to write on a subject sometimes knowing very little about it, but do their homework. They do the research and produce a quality article, which in turn keeps them gainfully employed.

Again are these people what they write? Does it mean that a sports writer is an avid sports fan? A colleague of mine is a technical writer for a large company. She hates her job finding it tedious and boring though she loves to write. Besides very little interest in technology, she tells me she is technically challenged. She is unable to setup a computer or DVD player. What she can do is research and she has the ability to clearly explain directions on how to use technical devices.

Writing is very similar to the performing arts. Is an actor a homosexual because he plays one in the movies? You would be surprised how many people cannot differentiate the actor from the person. Similar to writing, some actors will take only the roles they truly believe in, while others will take any role to be employed. I make no judgments as everyone must make their own way in the industry, whether it be acting or more to the point of this paper, writing.

By now you should be getting the point that I personally do not believe that writers are 100 percent what they write. I think for most people it is a balancing act between getting paid and in some cases upholding one's moral integrity. I for one would not write a scathing article full of propaganda and lies simply to get paid. If I don't believe in what I am asked to write, I simply won't write it.

Similarly I will not write that I saw an alien spaceship descend upon my roof and abduct my cat. You see not only do I have integrity as a writer; I know that certain people will judge me for what I write. In turn they will believe that I am a liar, a sensation hound, a profiteer, lunatic or all of the above. I care about what people think of me.

Yet I am what I write but not entirely. By now I know some of you are saying that I just negated everything I said in the former paragraph; actually I have not. If I write about a situation that happened to me as a little girl, the story is true, it happened to me, but the feelings that I attribute to the story are the feelings that I felt at the time I was that little girl. Some novice writers do not yet possess this skill.

Types of writing that I do

I just finished critiquing an article for someone who was attributing adult understanding to something that happened to him as a child. I had to explain to him that a six year old does not possess that kind of cognitive functioning. He needed to go back to the time in question and remember how he felt at six years old, not how he feels about it today as a grown man.

For some people the written word is as it was and ever more shall be.

I once wrote a story about how my son hated mushrooms at six years old. Today he is 38 and loves them. You would be surprised how many people think he still hates mushrooms.

What really pains me as a writer is to be misunderstood. I am responsible for making things clear, but I am not responsible for how readers will perceive my words. They can take things out of context or misunderstand the article. These factors are attributed to level of education, reading ability, ability to focus on the key points in an article and so on.

Once I wrote an article about not having friends as a young child. I briefly mentioned how I never cared about playing with dolls; my dogs actually became my friends. One reader wrote back with a lengthy comment about dolls. Although I appreciated the comment as I appreciate each and every comment I receive on my stories, this one left me wondering if this reader understood what the article was actually about.

Having said that, people will react to what resonates with them and I am happy when my life can parallel with others. It tells me that I have touched someone in that special way.
Unfortunately, sometimes my writing touches people in the wrong way. If I write that I had no friends when I was 10, it does not mean that I have no friends today. If I say that I was shy as a child it does not have to mean that I am shy today. If I was afraid of something then, it means literally then and not necessarily now. I have had at least 40 years to overcome that fear. Am I what I write? Yes and no, it depends upon the time period I am writing about. Writers grow just like every other human being.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar brendamarie
29th May 2015 (#)

Carol, all writers run into event were people misunderstand what they are saying. I have had it had to me.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
29th May 2015 (#)

As writer has linguistic variation but your inner-heart knows the meaning of what you write best not the onlooker. You linguistic perception for the comprehension of the onlooker is what creates the writing personality as the writing is automatically characteristed based on this as the brand image of that writer.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
29th May 2015 (#)

We are what we write as it is a facet embedded in our personality to create awareness that initiates a judgement beyond comparatives of the onlooker. It is well said when you make a statement the essence of the real work of writing is best known to the writer and NOT to the onlooker who reads it. The hidden meaning officiates the personality they are.
You are what you write and I am a documentation specialist and also write for various schools and convents around apart from my own writing work found on

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author avatar Retired
29th May 2015 (#)

Awesome share!

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author avatar Shamarie
29th May 2015 (#)

Great post, Carol! I enjoyed this share!!!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
30th May 2015 (#)

I write on subjects that I feel strongly about. Though a finance professional, I avoid the subject as we are flooded with information day in and day out by every type of media. Sadly, many make making money as the be-all and end-all of life.

Subjects that touch others and uplift their lives with better outlook and lifestyle are the ones that soothes me to share with others. Great post and insight as usual Carol - siva

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4th May 2019 (#)

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4th May 2019 (#)

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