Freelance Writing Tip #17: Don’t Get Too Personal

Many writers “write what they know,” that is they use personal experiences to fuel their stories, articles, and essays. Believe it or not, this happens quite a bit because some authors intentionally get personal to use “writing as therapy.” Generally speaking, this isn’t a good idea, unless you’re an established writer, because it’s infinitely harder to look at your work objectively if your words are infused with emotional, personal memories. Passages about powerful childhood experiences that are very clear to you could be unreadable; it’s also easier to take criticism more personally and your work will suffer as a result.

Above all, if you’re writing with the intention of getting paid, remember that most folk don’t care about your personal issues—but they do want to be entertained and/or informed. If you are using a personal experience as a backbone for an assignment, keep in mind that you are writing your piece “for sale.” That alone should help you tailor your assignment toward an audience.

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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