This week has been a busy one for me because I’ve been down in Melbourne with work (for my paid job). A lot of people think it must be great to be flown inter-state for work, but I don’t really enjoy it. It always means getting up around 4.30am to get to the airport, hours of travelling and then it is all go, go, go with a sardine packed agenda trying to fit in as much as possible to get value for money. This time was no exception, however it was a learning experience and surprisingly, more fun than usual. I also learnt some lessons that I can apply to my writing.
The travel was to attend a three day course and one element of the training, was around the concept that to be a successful manager, you need to relate to the people in your team on an individual level. This concept holds true to me as an Author. I believe that in order to be a successful writer, you need to relate to your readers on an individual level too. How do we do this? Well, I am no expert on the subject, but I do have an opinion. I believe that you need to create an emotional link between the character(s) and your readers. Through your characters, you will create a link to yourself as a writer. As many writers will know, your own beliefs and personality will seep into your writing.
We also need to understand that people are different and you need to recognise this and write to it. Some people like details, others are not interested in the detail and want to see the big picture. Many have dominant personalities, while others do not. Some have patience, and then there are those who cannot hold their attention for long and are easily distracted. I doubt I could write in a style to suit all of these people, however while pondering how I could capture the differences in all these people, it occurred to me that I can create characters with the same traits. Traits that they may recognise and relate to.
The key element to the course I attended was to get people to open their minds and look at things differently, to realize that their truth is not always somebody else’s truth. For instance, one person may love to be told what a great job they have done in front of hundreds of people, so everyone knows how great they are. Someone else may find this extremely embarrassing and cringe at the idea, they may even be highly upset with anyone who should draw attention to them in such a way. I have not looked at things from this perspective before when writing, I have always known people are different, but I never had such clarity around the differences. I guess the facilitators have done a good job. I will now consciously experiment with this new learning and hopefully it will not only help me at work, but it will help to make me a better writer.
What do you think, is there some sense to my thoughts or am I crazy to think such things?
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