A recent NYT report talked about a scientific survey conducted among University graduates that came to the conclusion that writing about oneself and self editing it leads to a change in behavior. It makes one happier, improves one’s communication skills and may even result in longevity.
Hmmm…… Interesting.. not because I lack in self confidence or I am low in self esteem. It caught my eye because I also write about myself and edit it myself. I do not know whether it has made me a happier and healthier person. But I can see that it has certainly resulted in change of behavior in my readers.
The writing bug hit me quite late in my life_ in my sixties to be precise. It is said that the first work of an author is mostly autobiographical. This is no surprise as that is the ambience he is most familiar with_ his family, his friends and his circle of relatives and acquaintances. He will be at utmost ease while writing about him which might involve all those people. While some are happy to see themselves in print (in fact some even solicit it) some are furious to see their family members living or dead involved in it. Some may feel that the poetic license has been abused while some appreciate the modern outlook. When I discussed a real life-like situation using unabashedly stark language in my debut novella my readers were ’shocked’ and embarrassed to share the book with their family members and friends.
Well, coming to the behavior of my close family (Yes, I love to write about me and my family), by the time I started writing my children had all flown the coop. So, my husband who read all my writings thought nothing of indulging me and so would finance all my self- publishing ventures. But my economy minded daughter who thought nothing much of my writing ( “I always speed-read your blogs”) would insist that my ventures were a great drain on their parental inheritance and that I was exploiting their poor father. I do agree that spending on publishing my books is a one way affair as nobody buys them. Moreover, I don’t blame my daughter for her low opinion of my skills. While editing my first book, she was being driven up the wall so many times that she found it hard to come down for quite some time.
As for my first son, the fact that his mom is an author is something he is proud of among his peers though as a matter of policy he does not read a single line of what I write!
My second son who is abroad takes interest in my writing, reads all my blogs and has helped me in publishing e versions of my books. Probably distance lends charm even to his mom’s writings.
As for my siblings I have lost all my brothers who I am sure would have been proud of my late emergence. My sisters (two out of three) have always actively encouraged me.
A relative of mine even exploited the fact that my writings appear in newspapers to his advantage. He threatened a shopkeeper,”Don’t try any hanky–panky with me. I know a lady who writes in papers. I shall see you dragged all over the media” not withstanding the fact that I write only ‘middles’ and not ‘news reports”!
Thank God for the social media and Internet. I have been able to build up a network of likeminded friends, nieces, nephews, nieces-in law, nephews-in law who follow my writings faithfully. I feel doubly blessed when they recommend my writing to their friends and relatives (after they have read).
Thus my hobby has kept me happy, cheerful, confident and sane and I may live long too. I cannot guarantee the same about my readers.
(Do I see any clumps of hair in your fists?)