When I first started writing, I was naive enough to think that all I had to do was write. I could live in my own self-obsessed world and write about me, me, me and the world would come running to read all the brilliance I put on the page.
Boy, was I wrong.
Thing is, the art of good writing has less to do with the writer and more to do with the reader. Sure, we may be placing our personal experiences down on the page, masking it with a “fiction” label when it’s really just an account of our lives with different names and locations. But if what we write doesn’t touch the person who’s reading it, the story doesn’t matter anymore.
The best way to let go of yourself in your writing is to let go of perfection. Allow your characters to fail. Admit their (your) shortcomings. Let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Take away the protective bubble and watch them flounder before regaining their footing. The person reading your novel is an imperfect person, and they want to read about someone like themselves, and the journey towards overcoming.
Reading about imperfection makes us realize we’re not alone.
Even a memoir isn’t about the writer – it’s about the journey. A good memoir tells about the transcendence of moving from one realm to another. It helps the reader see something in themselves.
So when you write, keep your audience in mind. What can someone learn from what you have written? How can you change someone’s world? Choose someone you love and write for them. Let go of yourself.
And just write.