I am not my writing. My writing is quite simply an expression of my creativity—not a reflection of my worth as a person or an artist – (a certain someone said)

“After reading you blog, I had this image of you. You know, as badass as a person who can dry blood with a simple stare and make cigarettes out of the powder. How come you are this effeminate in person?” I have asked these questions, and I know you have. I have been the reader who looks at a person’s writing and imagines her to be this goddess in the sun, dressed in a veil of wisdom. If her writing is without fault, I see her as immaculate, spotless, the epitome of beauty in and out. If his words, style of writing, and the experiences narrated are so strong that they shake the ground on which I stand, I will imagine him to have massive muscles even on the soles of his feet, brains that can read even the thickest of minds and an added ability to swat mosquitoes with his electrostatic strands of hair. I have however been warned time and again to learn how to separate the writing and the person behind it.

I look at myself in the mirror of my writing and realise that I am never my writing. What a writer writes, whether a true account of an event or even a fictional composition of literature is never to be looked at as the representation of whom they are as people. Their identity will be unfairly judged if words that come from their minds under the influence and drunkenness of creativity is used as a medium.

As Claudette Oduor once said, “readers are out to read, and not to ask too many a question, or make too much a judgement.” Unfortunately, as I have said before, we write for a lot that is very opinionated on what it reads, which by the way, is a good thing. However, sometimes this lot mashes the person in the writer together with their words like potatoes and out of it, a mashed meal of personality is spewed. Spilling judgement from the words on a page or screen into the personality of the writer would be going too far. Sometimes even a writer himself does not believe in the message that their stories pass across, if there be any. Writers are just players on a field, or preachers on a pulpit…a medium of channelling words through creativity.

I will draw an example from one of my experiences as a writer. The first two short stories I ever wrote were about prostitutes and abortion. They were read in a forum of young women, and after the reading, one of the participants came up to me, wanting to enquire whether I had experienced any of the two. I do not refute the fact that as writers, we draw a lot from what happens around us, and what happens to us. Unfortunately for me though, these two short stories were the only pieces I wrote in 2009, because I soon was labelled the ‘girl who writes stuff about prostitutes and abortion, probably because…..’ . You know! Because of this, I ran away from something I passionately loved. My fear has however died. I have since then reloaded my guns, and these days I write about whatever I please. If I find cockroaches befitting my theme of the day, so be it. I will play around with my words without care.

Readers are also not the only ones who label writers according to the words that come out of them. Writers too are their own worst enemies. Writers own their writing …making it another part of themselves. The passion for the art is understandable. However, if there is no distinction between the two, then one has to die. There is no existence of a writer and their writing as one person. It becomes so much of a problem that some writers accept criticism with so much pain, and sometimes, they respond as they would if someone had stabbed them. They will consider it as an assault on them and not on their writing. Why? Because they fail to draw a line between being the person they are and the fictional world created by their words.

If you love your writing, let it be without you. Look at yourself as the creator, then step aside. Let your writing be a creative expression of your experiences, your thoughts; give it a percentage of yourself–but never let it be you.