There is something that I have been thinking about for a while now. A few things I have written have been received badly by people who rightly or wrongly thought I was writing about them. This bothers me. I don’t write to hurt people, if something I wrote has been read in a way that caused offense it means I failed as a communicator.
My instinct is to remove the offensive writing, as I failed in delivering my message the way it was intended, I don’t want to be reminded of it. But something read can’t be un-read by deleting it, I should know. I’ve tortured myself over things that have been written about me that I didn’t like.
What happens when you write something and it is read is the wrong way? It can cause hurt and ruin relationships but you have no control over the way another person reads your words. Obviously the use of grammar and punctuation gives your writing an outline but the tone comes from the readers head.
Sometimes we read something quickly and mistake the words and by then its too late. Others we already have a pre-conception of where it is going and we read the writing in those terms.
It is even possible that in reading something you feel has been written about you, you see something you don’t like about yourself, and in order to protect yourself you push back against it or lash out.
Guilt for example, is a powerful emotion, sometimes when I’m made to feel guilty I try to deflect the guilt back onto others. If you read something that makes you feel guilty it is possible that you would push back against it.
In the world of social media messaging apps and texting, words and intent can be lost far more easily. You often lose your punctuation and grammar in favour of words and abbreviations which can be a minefield.
Abbreviations are fine if both parties using them are on the same wavelength, but some nicknames and abbreviations mean different things depending on where you are from and then things get complicated.
Also it’s possible that the person you are talking to only knows you superficially and has never heard your voice or tone; therefore the joke or silly message attempt just dies or worse causes offence. Even when you do know the person things get mis-read.
It can be exhausting trying to correct a misconception or mis-read message with someone you hurt. Especially as you may not realise at the time you hurt them, they may only mention it sometime later after they have spent time going over it in their head. By which point it might even be too late to fix the problem.
It is easier to write complete fabrications of characters and situations but lately I’ve found it hard to keep myself and the qualities I love in others out of my writing. I’ve happily given parts of my life and thoughts to my characters in order for them to experience what I haven’t been able to, to live my life in an imagination.
The trick is to not use too much reality but even then it can look like you are changing reality through writing or get misread as trying to send messages. I guess that’s why I’m not truly happy with anything I’ve written lately and why people have criticised it.
My inner voices are troubled by so many things and my writing is becoming tainted with it. My imagination was once filled with characters and places and I would note down loads of ideas for future stories but now I’m afraid I’ll never get that back. I can’t even finish the stories from the notes I’ve made as I’ve lost that train of thought. I even stopped writing completely for a time as I just couldn’t write anything that made sense. I’m still not sure I am now.
My writing mistakes are not the only thing troubling me. I’m currently reading a published book that I brought in a bookshop. I’m enjoying the book, save for one thing, I keep finding mistakes.
Then I question myself, are they actually mistakes or is it just that I would prefer to read it another way. I’m fairly confident that a couple are just out right mistakes but maybe some of the others are my interpretation.
I’m disappointed that someone has managed to publish a book with errors in it. I know we are only human and as such will make mistakes but I have marked 3 pages so far with errors and I know I have found others I haven’t marked.
I feel like writing to the publisher and noting the errors, like I said I’ve enjoyed the story so far but the errors are ruining it for me. Would it make a difference anyway? They wouldn’t recall the books and it may not be in print any longer.
I don’t want to be overly critical on the other hand, as a writer would I like someone to point out my errors to me?
I think the answer to that in my case would be yes, but then I’ve never been afraid of beating myself with my mistakes. No-one will ever judge me more harshly than I judge myself.