Clients want original, unique content.
To achieve this, many ask writers to interject a bit of themselves into the story. This first-person writing can be a breath of fresh air for writers who spend a lot of time doing research or interviewing others.
But, just how much of yourself should you pour into your writing?
That’s a question only you can answer.
To get a better idea of how many personal details should be published, ask yourself these four questions.
Is the information I’m sharing…
something that would make my family members upset with me?
Writing in first person is a personal experience. But, when you make it public, you have to think about others around you. If you mention your family or friends, directly or indirectly, how will they feel? They didn’t sign a contact agreeing to sharing personal family details. You did. Think carefully before divulging too much about interpersonal relationships and family struggles.
going to put my privacy at risk?
If you’re well-known in your industry, you have fans. And foes. Sure, obscene emails and unsolicited social media messages are easy to delete, but what if a crazy superfan shows up at your door? Or, your child’s school? How would you react?
too negative and casting a bad light on me as a person?
We all love a good rant, but save it for a night out with your friends. It’s almost never a good idea to dig deep into something you despise via your writing. You never know when you’ll offend the next publisher to hire you or the brand client you were hoping to land at your marketing agency. Share you opinions, but keep them rated PG.
going to limit my future writing options?
When you take on a new project, look beyond the writing criteria. Do you like being associated with the company you’re writing for? Are they a positive pillar in the community? Sometimes it’s easy to sign a contract because you need the work, but think about the long-term effects that relationship may have on your future career, especially if you’re a freelancer.
How do you feel when you’re asked to write in the first-person? Tell me in the comments below.
Note: This post was updated on October 10, 2018.