Writing for others can only be done when you write for yourself


Sarah was not your typical blithe woman when it came to her craft. Her mother was conformed to society’s idea of a dutiful wife, submissive. Growing up Sarah would watch the way her mother would awake before dawn, and perform her daily rituals which consisted of the scrubbing of pots and pans. The house would be polished through every angle and every stain would disappear before noon. She would slave all day in the kitchen catering to her fathers every need.

Her natural curvaceous hips and thick thighs were usually attempted to wither into the size of the models in the magazines which were carefully tucked in the corner of the kitchen counter. She looked salient, Sarah always thought. Her makeup intact after dawn, and her hair usually in a sophisticated up do. Her father always said that those models had nothing on his wife. Sarah agreed with certainty. Her mother’s thick long lashes and high cheek bones, her full lips and flat narrow nose would heave the attention of strangers; but her mother didn’t just conform to these duties because she wanted to. As a teenager her mother was different, rebellious and independent minded. She loved food more than she did exercise and she cared very little for others opinions.

These conducts of her mothers life was passed down from her grandmother and continued down to Sarah heedless to her own cognizant. She would find herself cleaning excessively when she was stressed, and believed that a messy house corresponded to a woman who wasn’t raised better. She hated eating out, and preferred a home cooked meal three times a day. She would find herself picking up the same types of magazines; But refused to starve herself until she felt that her body conveyed a resemblance to those marked rib cages that rose above the little flesh on their bodies.

Sarah’s father was nothing like her mother. He was carefree and relaxed, opinionated and humorous. He was a passionate writer by night and a working senior editor by day. He took life with a sprinkle of thirst for his passions. He would stay up all night writing out the bed time stories to read to Sarah for the next night. After he finished reading out the stories he would put down the large handwritten notebook and glance towards her. His chair comfortable sited near the right side of her bed.

“What did you think of the story Sarah?” They would discuss the characters and she sometimes would even forget that her father knew the characters better.

“Was he really bad daddy? She once asked about an abandoned character who became a mean kid. The character’s name was Bob. Bob grew up as an orphan in the mean streets of London, only having animals as his accomplices. He was never treated fairly nor pleasantly by most people so sarah couldn’t help but understand his dislike towards other people when he became an unpleasant individual to others. Sarah couldn’t help but like Bobs character when he was alone with the animals. He was caring and kind but this behavior was didn’t extend to human beings.

“People are not simple Sarah. He uttered to her. Neither are perceptions.

She learned then that stories have different interpretations depending on different experiences of people, different morals, and views. Each individual experienced life differently therefore they saw through a constructed lens, shaped by the world as they saw it. For what they knew it for. She learned that it wasn’t the writer’s responsibility for justifying the way people understood their work, nor to make excuses for their own views on how they saw this world.

As she grew older the bed time stories changed to quotes of successful people.

“Let’s discuss these.” He would say. And then give her another quote to revel inside, until the next night.

Sarah would spend all her available periods the next day googling and researching and then finally giving her own interpretations. She loved this quality time with him. She enjoyed having a voice. This is what sparked her love for writing. The ability to not be right and completely wrong varying on how she felt.

She would analyse and discuss their points of view. She never ceased to notice how her father would sit by the study table near her bedside and ask, while sipping on his over sized mug containing coffee.

“Well done, but what is your point of view on this matter, what is your opinions in this.”

They would debate back and forth, and she would often discover that she didn’t always agree with her father. Although he was where most of her beliefs were rooted, and with whom she shared many of her beliefs with; she discovered that she was extending into her own branch. She never really understood his reasons and curiosity for her opinions on somebody else’s view on life. When she offered him an answer, he would continue to ask why.

“Why do you agree with him, or her?”

“Why is it that you do not?”

This became a daughter and father tradition, and the quotes hadn’t stopped coming for years to come.

Being a writer is not easy. That was what her father was attempting to implement into her since she was a child. The freedom of once imaginations when reading the stories varied between the reader and the writer. He attempted to teach her that without telling her just how the different perspectives sometimes pointed to the same truth contrarily. She learned that similar opinions varied in content and was rooted deeper than our ability to conform to them.

Writers have a responsibility fare greater than most. They have an obligation to be honest at all cost. They cannot afford to be emotional apathetic about their own voice. Sarah’s father was much too aware of this. He encouraged his daughter not only to be unapologetically honest about her own views but also that nothing was just one truth when it came to the world of print and words. words where not one dimensional.

For every story, article and poem could never be approved by all. It would never limit itself to minds and hearts of strangers when it was never birthed by them. It would entertain them, it was created to be indulged by people. How they then understood it was not the writers responsibility. Some chewed on these letters with vigour, others in delight. Some would spit them out in disgust, and then you had those that would not even dwell in the taste. Swallowing words without meaning; only to feel cheated because they ceased to find the flavor.

Writers cannot lie to themselves without consequences, even if the possibilities behind the truth is endangering their values and moral obligations. When we write it is deeper than just a black ink on a piece of paper. It is not as simple as sound of your fingers on the keyboard after the moon awakens and silence fusions with the cold breeze of the night. It is more complex than the movement of the pencil as it scrapes those pages with voices.

One must be fearless and audacious. Sarah learned that our voices are both truth and false. She watched her mother’s beliefs embedded into her as a child, and even though some of these were passed down to Sarah, her father fought heedlessly against this without schooling her mother on how wrong she was for her beliefs. This would only contradict his teachings. Instead her father gave her the ability to learn without teaching her. Not once does Sarah remember her father teaching her how she should think, or what she should believe. By just this single method she came to know that learning is far different from being taught.

She knew that one required the mental independence for the pursuit of truth regardless of the emotional and moral obligations.

Truth because it is somebody else’s thoughts and feelings, their truth. False because it isn’t yours. A conclusion based on how you felt and what you thought at a singular moment, one particular moment of time. Even if you come to feel different or have a change of thought it was who you was in that instant. And every word writers share bears a weight of who they were, released in print. You cannot change or alter facts, just like you cannot entertain the opinions of others when it comes to your craft. If that was the case then we would be left with nothing. Nothing but letters, articles, novels and poems that replicate the voices of anything but our own truth.

However the truth is, not all of us can be honest in that way; the kind of truth that will force one to look beyond their own comfort for the sake of those who cannot do that. It is our responsibility as writers to tackle everything we feel by bleeding our emotions unto a page, narrating our voices and speaking our minds. Everything we decide to write will remain. It stains, and therefore remains forever to be interpreted, understood and seen by others.

If all writers obsessed and tried to mould their writings they would find themselves trying to please each soul on this planet, they would find that this was impossible and therefore be left with nothing but blank pages. Even if they did attempt at this it would have no value, for they have lost the value of self. Only empty words, of opinions, and halves of the truth pieced together by fractions of honesty. Your words carry somebody’s world, read somebody’s thoughts, and are compatible with somebody else’s emotions. They heal, and they only understand without trying from your honest truth. Your words are far too heavy and carry fare too much value to become anybody else’s reflection of this world, without it first being yours. They should be a mirror and express what you could never say without a pen.


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