Man with futuristic device on hand touching woman's forehead

The title of this post is not meant to invoke images of my broadening rear end, though until I took measures, that was becoming a regrettable side effect of the writing path. Rather, it’s meant to convey the idea that we can re-author our very selves through the process of crafting fiction.

I can best explain by providing a personal example: Until little over a year ago, if you were to meet me, you’d believe “Jan” should be spelled “Zzzzzz…” Hypnotic manufacturers viewed my presence as threat to their financial health. When I posted on message boards, they handed out complimentary pillows.

I exaggerate, but in truth, no one beyond my family would describe me as “fun,” least of all myself. 

Then I hit a place where I needed a metaphoric kick in my writing pants. I signed up for an online course, and in the safe atmosphere created by the instructor, took a deep breath and let the silly out. The result? An audience kind enough to laugh and birth of a dark desire.

See, I’d been after a keyboard spatter, dammit. Perhaps even a coffeed monitor. I hadn’t been precisely aware of those goals until that moment, but that hadn’t stopped my subconscious from craving them. 

Since then, while at times I’ve become a bit like the class clown of kindergarten, I’m thrilled by the changes that stuck.

Yesterday alone I was described as one who “cavorts with fellow writers.” In a separate venue, I was called by my alter-ego’s name, The Tart. Most exciting of all — necessitating a fist pump and a wee but shameful moment of air guitaring — I caused another woman to snort pecan pie. 

Have you any idea how pleasing that moment felt? To irritate mucous membranes without having the responsibility to irrigate them afterward? Hee. 

I realize your goals may be considerably loftier than mine, but the principle remains the same: We pitch the philosophy that our characters can evolve, claim portions of themselves they’ve disowned, or temper too-dominant personality traits. If we allow that for our fictional beings, why not for ourselves?

And what sweet symmetry to precipitate change through the medium of words. 

How about you? Has writing allowed you to excavate any qualities you hadn’t previously acknowledged? Shred labels that chafe? In any demonstrable way, have you become a better or more-rounded individual because of your writing?

Please address all replies to the trembling palm in the corner, where I’m presently engaged in a battle that can only be deemed “epic.” On one side: a lifetime of introversion and looming RWA Nationals. On the other: a desire to act with courage and several thousand words to compose. It’s a fight I can win, right?

Right?

About Jan O'Hara

Jan O'Hara left her writing dreams behind for years to practice family medicine, but has found her way back to the world of fiction. Currently the voice of the Unpublished Writer here at Writer Unboxed, she hopes one day soon to become unqualified for the position.