I’ve been a song writer most of my life, but over the past year, I have questioned whether or not to begin a novel.
The problem I have is in the event the novel were to be published, it would deeply hurt my mother, father and siblings.
It would be very therapeutic for me though.
Brandy, in comments.
Congratulations on writing songs! Neat.
You’re assuming that if you write the novel that would hurt your family it would be published. How about writing it just for yourself, for its therapeutic value and with no intention of letting anyone else, except maybe, a therapist or spiritual counselor read it?
Yes, I have some idea of how tough it is to write a novel, so start with writing the stuff that would be therapeutic for you, only think of it as journaling.
Like many, I’ve found writing about the painful parts of my life often helps me understand what happened and my reaction to it. That can be healing, without a doubt.
If, after this sort of self-examination, you find you still want to write about it in novel form you’ll be in a much better position to decide how much, if any, hurt to your family you’re willing to risk. Your options include:
- Not writing it for publication at all.
- Writing for publication but fictionalizing it so there’s no possibility family members will recognize themselves – although be aware that family members are likely to find themselves in any writing you do even when it isn’t about them.
- Talking with them before you submit the piece for publication – giving them warning as it were.
- Negotiating with them how much you tell and in what way. This will take deep listening and compassion on your part.
- Waiting until they’ve passed on.
There are probably other alternatives I haven’t thought of.
By and large, I think it’s not worth the family agony to publish something you know will be hurtful even if you find it healing.
Write it for yourself. It will inform the rest of your life and and your writing, probably in a positive way. (And always remember, I am not a therapist – I’ve just lived a long time.)
What experiences and/or thoughts do you have to share with Brandy about writing, publishing and the pain it may cause someone? Let’s talk about it in comments.
If you’ve got a question about writing, contact me and I’ll do my best to answer it here.
Write well and often,
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