Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Who we are is greatly influenced by those who raised us. Their experiences, nuances, character traits, and how they treat us. In addition, you see the world in a unique way because of your personal experiences and the beliefs you hold.
In the same way, our stories and characters will be greatly influenced by our own experiences and values.
It's called our worldview, and it's important to telling a compelling story.
I'll share a little of mine with you.
Since a very young age, I have struggled with social anxiety. Hyperaware of all my awkward movements, emotionally sensitive to negative or uncomfortable interactions, uncomfortable with attention and even excellence, fearing what the people around me are thinking in regards to my every move...these are just a few of the difficulties I've learned to live with over the years.
It gets easier as you grow, but the most tumultuous years for me were high school.
As if those years aren't hard enough, sometimes the fear and panic was debilitating. I close my eyes and can draw up dozens of memories of sitting in the bathroom stall not wanting to go back out, trying to look busy so no one would talk to me, dropping speech class after acing my first dramatic monologue-because even though it was an adrenaline rush to do it well, the idea of doing it again was terrifying.
This is where I draw from when I write.
In my thirties, I've found peace with who I am. I don't see my social awkwardness as the curse I thought it was for so long. I know I am wonderfully made by a Creator who understands what I need more than I do.
But when I'm writing characters now, I can empathize with many of their feelings.
When my character is panicking, I remember that physically. When they're feeling strong after overcoming a fear, I get that too. I feel it deep in my gut, because in some way-at some point in my life-I've been there.
This is a piece of my worldview.
It is a place I can confidently write from, because I feel strongly about it and have lived it. Does that mean all my protagonists will be teen girls struggling with social anxiety? No. But it does mean that for me, my written works are heavily influenced by my passion for overcoming fear. Sometimes it will be subtle, other times the main theme. But it is always there, because it is part of my worldview...my manifesto.
I encourage you to take the time to examine what your worldview is. I'm always reminded of that scene in Everafter when Prince Henry says,
"I used to think that if I cared about anything, I'd have to care about everything. And I'd go stark raving mad! But now I've found my purpose..."
Decide what you care about. What do you feel strongly about? Allow yourself time to develop a solid worldview, and then let the words flow from a more meaningful place.
I believe in you!
(PS My books can be found HERE!)