As I get closer and closer to finishing my book, I've been thinking about this more and more. The goal is to get your work published, right? That means out there for everybody to see. And that everybody includes your friends and family.
Mostly, that's just fine. There's just a couple things that worry me about that. One that worries me a little, and one that worries me sort of a lot.
When you read something, you can't help but make judgments about or connections to the author and the authors life. So when people read our work, they make assumptions about us and our lives. Whether they are correct (which they probably aren't) is beside the point. And you know, that's all ok, that sort of comes with the territory of being an artist. Of course people are going to judge you and your work, but only we know where it all came from, and even that's a little iffy. It's a little more complicated when the readers know you personally. When they know your life a little more intimately, and they make connections or judgments or think that you're making certain points or using certain details based on your life and who they know you to be. Does that make sense? Basically what I'm trying to say is that by letting people in your life read your work, its a bit like letting them in to your head, and whether what they see is accurate or to the point, it can't help but shift/change/alter, even if its only slightly, the way they see you as a person, or the way they've seen you up to that point. And I kind of don't want it to change anything. I'm still me, I'm still the person I've presented to them, but now they know a little more. Or they think they do.
But all that is okay. I can deal with that. It's expected. The bigger deal for me, related, but not an aspect of this issue I've fully thought about until recently, is this: People in my life who read my work will not only make assumptions and judgments about me, but perhaps also about the other people in my life. Say I write about a father, a mother, a sister. Can that be kept separate from real life to people who read it and know my actual father and mother and sisters? Even on a more general scale. Say I address certain issues or topics: Does that mean people are going to make judgments about my family as a whole and the way I was raised or something like that?
It seems like those kinds of connections and judgments are inevitable. What bothers me most is that if this type of judgment is passed, which it will be, then I've dragged the people in my life into something they did not ask to be dragged in to. That seems a little bit presumptuous to me.
This is where I come to those of you with more experience then myself. Obviously this is something every writer and every artist has to address, somehow. How did you deal with this? Is it best to just be true to your own inner-artist, move forward, and trust the support of the people that matter most? I'm thinking that's the only thing you can do, if you're going to be honest and truthful with yourself and not compromise your inner artist. And you know, even if the people who matter most don't quite understand, which they might not, they still love you and support you. Sometimes it's scary to rely on that, but that's why they are the people that matter most.
What are your thoughts on this? How do you write without shaking up too badly your own real life world?