Subjectivity vs. ObjectivityA Lesson by Miss Coral
Discussing on WHAT to write about.
There's a lot of debate on this topic. I'm not going to say that my opinions are completely, 100% true. But they're what I think, and affect how I write.
Now, most people say, "Write what you know." While I think this is absolutely wonderful advice, it's too limiting. You can write about anything, everything, BEYOND everything. See, humans have this wonderful little ability called empathy. Empathy allows us to place ourselves in someone else's situation, and know how they would feel and how they would react. Now, this might be looking at that one little phrase and pushing it to an extreme, but many people do. They feel limited to writing about their own experiences, when you can write about so much more!
I've written many things, where people assume that I've gone through the experience that I'm writing about. They're shocked when I tell them I haven't. Now, obviously, I'm not a super excellent writer or anything. I've just gotten used to placing myself in someone else's shoes, and writing from their viewpoint. Even when that someone isn't real. It's really not difficult to do- you simply have to be willing to let go of some of your viewpoints, some of your opinions. Take on someone else.
I take a class in school called "Comparative Worldviews". In this, we've learned about different worldviews, their "rose-colored glasses cemented on their face" if you will. We've studied Descartes, Voltaire, Kant, and even some Goethe. Descartes' thought are really key to this subject. We first had to learn what exactly a worldview is. To put it simply, it's how you "view the world". Yeah... circular definition of sorts. But that's really what it is. Everything you look at, you look at through your worldview. It's how your experiences, your memories, even your biological DNA shapes your outlook on your surroundings. Take this for example: a computer. You're on a computer now. It's a normal thing. Maybe you use one everyday. Maybe more. Maybe a whole lot more (like me). Now, a computer is going to be a completely normal thing to you. Now, let's take an Amish person, maybe a teenage in their Rumspringa, who has been introduced to a computer for the very first time. They're going to be amazed! Look at this wondrous machine, that creates light, music, that allows you to talk to people across the world instantly! Look at all the information! Maybe it's repulsive. Maybe it's godlike. But it sure isn't normal.
Now, worldviews have determined the differences in the two reactions. It might be difficult to write from an Amish person's perspective, because you're used to some things, and you aren't used to others. It's not a bad thing, it's not even an abnormal thing. Everyone has this limitation; we're not omnipotent. We're human. But we have empathy to help us along.
So, in conclusion, write what you want to write about. Sometimes, having experienced something DOES help if you're really having trouble. It's a good idea to research something really quickly, if you don't know much about it. But you don't need a biography in everything you write. Step outside yourself for a while, explore the world and the people around you. Have fun with it. :)
A nice exercise, if you aren't used to doing this, is to think of a character who is very different from who you are: maybe someone escaped from an insane asylum- maybe a simple Joe who hates his life and contemplates suicide in his cubicle- maybe a child, intent on jumping in as many puddles as they can, while their mother frantically runs after them. Try writing a couple of paragraphs in their viewpoint. Don't force it, just allow a different personality to shine through your writing.
Added on December 9, 2010
Last Updated on December 9, 2010
Prague, Bohemia, Czech Republic
About18 year old girl, third culture kid. I like writing and swing music. Probably not super active. kissingtherivermouth.tumblr.com