"Aren't you worried someone is going to think you are writing about him?" my friend asked.
Not really, I replied, shaking my head.
Because when I write, I don't really write about anyone in particular.
Perceptions and feelings. That is what interests me most. I write about how I feel, from my heart and my mind. I don't write about anyone else. How can I? I don't know what other people think and feel -- I don't live in anyone else's head. I also don't write about singular experiences. Things that are fleeting may capture my attention briefly, but rarely do they give me enough to consider as fodder for a post. Plus, I have lived long enough on this earth to know that I don't have an original thought! Nor do I have original experiences! (Not only do I like to write, but I really, really, like to read. There's quite a lot to read out there on the intertubes!)
When I am finally motivated to write about something, it's usually because I have experienced something more than once. I pick up on patterns. I mull over them. I do a lot of introspection. I wonder, is it just me? Is this something unique? Is it a shared condition? In my search for meaning, I read what others write. Often I am surprised at how similar our experiences are. In many cases, I put down my (metaphoric) pen and close my pad. Enough said. Other times, I don't see what I am thinking out there...and so I choose to add my two cents to the mix, hoping to add additional insight to someone else's thinking.
Writing honestly is not about being clever. It's not about serving your ego either. For me, it's about having a conversation. It's about expressing thoughts that need to be said so that a connection is made with another person. That's it. Pretty simple. If you spend all your time crafting the exact prose -- you may miss the whole point of writing -- that is -- to communicate.
Honesty doesn't mean that you are right all the time. It doesn't mean that you expose people or all your inner thoughts for the world to see. What it does mean is that you write clearly and cleanly without pretense. It is about taking look at yourself, looking at others, drawing conclusions, and having the courage to express your opinion. Opinions aren't write or wrong. They just *are*. As someone, somewhere said, like (fill in body parts) -- everyone has one.
If you think you see yourself in someone's post, I believe that means you are open, and perceptive, and can grow. I see myself in honest writing all the time when authors describe something that I am insecure of in my own life. As you might imagine, I find myself touched, often when I read about challenges people have being good mothers, good wives, good employees, good bosses, good daughters. I read about better ways of managing my relationships all the time and wonder at what point -- what is good enough?
But I think we're all in various states of imperfection. That's what makes us so interesting. That's what makes reading honest writing so interesting. When people don't pretend to have all the answers. When people are willing to lean on each other, it can "honestly" -- be magical.