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Private Writing

March 10, 2009

How much of your writing is meant for only yourself?

It may seem an odd concept for someone who want’s to call themselves a writer, but it’s important to make time to write just for yourself.

Private Writing is what I call writing that is intended for one one other than the writer. Not rough drafts, or morning pages, but polished writing. There are many different kins of private writing, and at least as many reasons for keeping the work to oneself.

The writing can be experimental, a way to test the concept of a story, or to see how a character will respond to a situation.

It may be therapeutic. While not all writers are introverts, to write well we must have a strong introvert streak in us. Often composing and polishing a work with a theme that is troubling us, can help work through a problem or tricky situation in our lives.

But what may be less well known is that private writing is a great way to get rid of an idea. Sometimes our subconscious gets hung up on a certain idea, theme character, line of dialogue, whatever. And even if we don’t want to nail down the idea, it may be nearly impossible to get your mind to move on. In these cases the only refuge may be to buckle down and write the story. Tracking the idea down and writing and editing it into submission may be the only way to exorcise the idea.

Do you ever write just for yourself?

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6 Comments
  1. March 10, 2009 8:58 am

    happily (or for some not so happily) the advent of blogs have replaced the family slide nights and now your relatives can be subjected to blow by blow accounts of toilet training, trips away and family illnesses – all in the comfort of their own homes. Much of what is written in the blogoshere is private writing – some meant just for the person having the vent or reflecting on something – other sites to share family news. In amongst all of this are gleaming gems and further down are the sites of writers – struggling to be heard in the cacophony of information blared out of all channels.

    I personally love different blogs for different outcomes and themes.. perhaps thats why I now have 11 ( and honestly I am stopping….) its a bit of a full time job – but as you have said – it allows an idea to be aired and gives you time to see if, think about it and perhaps expand upon it for other projects.
    great post Dale – thanks for sharing

  2. March 10, 2009 5:31 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever really done this. The closest I came was writing this story post-breakup as a teenager, very emo but kind of good even if I think about it now, but it was meant only for me but I ended up showing it someone anyway.

  3. March 10, 2009 9:35 pm

    Most of my writing now is the kind of private writing you have described, because I stopped blogging under a pseudonym and then realized I couldn’t post some of my fiction online due to my job. So now I don’t post anything I write. I think a lot of people who “write what they know” must have private writing, because it can’t be published while they are working. For example, my profession is in education. If I post my fiction, I have to worry about students, parents, colleagues wondering whether a character/story-line is based on a real individual. And even if it isn’t, it’s going to interfere with my ability to do my job. So for now, everything I write is private writing.

  4. Rockin' Blogger permalink
    March 11, 2009 2:11 pm

    “I’m gong to sit right down and write myself a letter.” I’m humming that tune now.

    Seriously . . . I happened upon a blog where the owner had published a post entitled “Private: To Myself” or something like that. And password-protected the post. It was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Hello! It’s a blog! If you want to write to yourself and keep other people from reading what you write, follow the words to the song . . .

  5. March 11, 2009 4:07 pm

    Yep. I usually write a private post entitled: “Private: To Myself” because it’s dumb and hello! It’s my blog! AND the only place where I compile, and store, all of my writing because I abhor the actual act of picking up a pen and physically writing anything. And when I do, I can never find it again and writing my private thoughts on my blog means it’s stuck in cyber space, therefore it’s in one place, and I do it JUST to annoy people who pass by because HELLO!? My blog is all about entertaining the masses. *snort*

    Now I have that song stuck in my head …

  6. March 11, 2009 11:33 pm

    Thanks for thoughtful post. Your question gave me pause. Before going online kept journals for a few decades and decided prior to blogging not to have personal diary online to respect confidentiality of self and others. Some do public private diaries really well and I admire their courage. There are times am tempted but journal is always within arm’s reach so private write private stuff. Much of my private writing would probably bore the socks off people but it’s my therapy writing.

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