[pika!] Writing About People I Know

I like to write personal essays, and for that reason, most of the essays that I write include people that I know, from quick references to detailed characterizations. I am just now realizing that this could be a problem once some of these essays become accessible to these people via my e-portfolio. My newest fear is that they will someday stumble upon my essays and not like what they find when they start reading.  I don’t explicitly say negative things about my friends and family in my essays, but I worry that they won’t agree with my perspective on our shared experiences. I worry that they will feel as if I have exploited my friends and family by picking apart our/their lives for a good story.

I always write better when I’m open and honest, and I’m best able to do that when analyzing what I know best, my own life. Asking the hard questions about my experiences and writing my way to a resolution has proved to be very rewarding. Not only have I been able to write successful essays, but I have been able to learn a lot about myself and see how much I didn’t know before. In the past, writing personal essays hasn’t been a problem at all.

I never cared about strangers being privy to my insecurities and the secret details of my life. I knew that they read my essays as an outsider with only my perspective to guide them. But the idea of an insider, one of my closest friends or family members, reading one of my essays is terrifying. I shudder as I picture someone reading one of my essays and saying, “That’s not how it happened,” or “I never knew you felt that way about that.”  I don’t know if I’m ready to have my deepest thoughts and feelings revealed to those who think they know me best. Anyone else experiencing similar feelings while putting together their e-portfolio?

2 thoughts to “[pika!] Writing About People I Know”

  1. Yes, I definitely am encountering the same issue. It’s really difficult to be open and honest when you know that people will look at your work and possibly judge you for it. In doing so, I’ve decided to avoid certain topics. Ultimately though, I’ll write about sensitive issues when I’m sure that I’ve done a substantial amount of research about it. Then I can make sure that my essay is well supported and then there normally are not any problems. Best of luck!

  2. I’m kind of banking on no one ever reading my portfolio. It’s under “Elle” not “Elizabeth” so I don’t think future employers will find it. But if I do ever try to show it to employers I will probably just remove the more personal essays entirely because those aren’t the types of things I would be writing for a job anyway (probably).

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