{October 12, 2011}   Who ARE You? – Creative Writing And Identity

As a young student, one of the topics that worries me most is my sense of identity. It’s not like I’m not sure who I am and what I like or anything like that – I have a very strong character. It’s that despite having a very strong character and strong views and beliefs and apparently being very secure in who I am, when I think about the people I admire… I don’t really know why I admire them. Isn’t that something you should be really sure of? If you feel strongly enough about someone to say to others that you admire them, to hold them in high regard and think of them when you need inspiration, it’s really important that you know why you do that. Obviously I have vague ideas along the lines of “He’s got such amazing joie de vivre” or “She doesn’t care what people think”, but if your role-models have such a strong influence on your life and way of thinking, surely you should be able to be more specific about it?

Here’s my new writing technique, which should sort these things out if I just stick with it. It combines fun fantasy with proper identity exploration, so if you don’t want things to get too heavy, you can easily redirect the exercise to make it lighter;

1. Choose a role model (RM)

2. Think of a comfortable scene – one in which you could easily imagine you and your role model relaxing in. My personal scene would be a cosy, quiet café, smelling of tea and cakes. You might prefer to relax with people in a local park, or in your own home, or on a sunny beachside abroad.

3. Imagine that for some reason or another (you don’t have to come up with a reason), you’ve found yourself there with your RM. The time you have together is unlimited, in so far as you can always keep writing about this scene and your interactions and time won’t interfere to take either of you away. No one else has to be there, but if you decide to have anyone around, you should keep them in the background for now – you want the focus of your writing to be between you and your RM. And no matter what your RM’s typical demeanour is, in this scenario they are infinitely patient and interested in you and what you have to say.

4. Now that you have that image, start writing it. Do a small intro to the scene to get yourself in the mood for this kind of writing. My shortened example would be describing my cosy little café with the warm coloured walls and homely smells, walking in through the door (a bell above the door chimes on entrance), and having a look around, noting what I see, seeing my RM sitting at one table, looking over the top of a newspaper to see me, then smiling, closing the paper and gesturing to sit at the table with them. I do so, and…

5. Now that you’re in the zone, you have free rein to explore your relationship with your RM. Ask them questions and see what your mind comes up with in their voice. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, note the question down and come back to it later. You could chat with them about the things that they’re good at, the things that you’re good at, what their opinion is on a certain topic, or about something of absolutely no importance. The point is that you can now choose what you want to do in this scene either to best explore your relationship (and therefore your identity) or simply to best enjoy yourself. Don’t worry too much about the details, such as recreating their speech patterns and mannerisms – just let it all come instinctively, from the heart. Don’t think, don’t plan, just write.

If you’re not so interested in solidifying your idea of who you are, then why not do this anyway and turn it into a wish-fufilment writing exercise? Go on – go to the cinéma with your celebrity crush and go adventuring with your most admired hero.

I might post some of my exercise up here when I’m finally done, or I might just post about how the exercise has helped. All I know is that right now I’m tired, so goodnight. x



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: