What Part of You Is the Writer?

You’re one person, but you have many sides. Maybe you have some sense for these different sides of yourself.

It’s likely that they are largely determined by what kind of action is required from you or based on a certain setting that you find yourself in. Maybe you have a corporate side that emerges at work, then a personal side that comes to the forefront when you’re shopping for groceries. Then there’s the part of you that loves to toot around at home. Maybe you have a creative side that loves to be a builder/maker.

It’s also likely that each of these sides of you has other sub-sides, or maybe even competing interests.

For example, your builder/maker probably also has a destructive side.

Towards integration

The more you invite these other parts of yourself to the writing process, the more you bring your full spectrum of personal power to your creative efforts.

Maybe you have a good student in you that you could easily coerce into writing an essay, provided that you have clear guidelines about the assignment and a sense of respect for the teacher. So it’s natural for this part of you to be active when you are writing an essay. But if you don’t have each of those things, maybe your good student can’t really be motivated to show up and work.

What if you write the essay from your inner rebel?

You might say But if I do that, the essay will be sloppy and full of expletives. Or whatever your inner rebel would feel like doing.

Well, the point is not to have the rebel submit the finished paper but to ask them to write the first draft.

Rebels might do things for free that a student will only do if motivated by extra credit.

Maybe your rebel can bring a side of you — a force of directness in your language — onto the page that another part of you can’t access.

The exercise

  1. Get familiar with a few of your main roles in life that bring out different aspects of yourself. As you look at all the different roles and responsibilities and ways you have of engaging work, the world, yourself, and other people, give these parts of you descriptive names or titles. Nothing official, just for the purpose of this exercise in self-exploration.
  2. Explore the ways that these different sides of you show up to different activities. What kind of style or motivational makeup do these different sides of you have? Do you write from only one part of yourself? Do you write notes to yourself in one mode, memos to coworkers in another mode, and creatively in a different mode? What does this part of you like? What does it not like? How does its voice differ from the other parts of you?
  3. What would happen if you switched things up a bit so that you drafted in different configurations? If you have an inner rebel and a perfectionist student, can you let your inner rebel draft an essay? If you have a successful corporate persona, can you draft a memo from your inner beach bum?
  4. Read through these explorations just to notice what comes up. If it helps, consider sticking with this as a modality. Otherwise, see where you can continue to take things so that you are moving towards a greater ease and flow in your writing process.
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