Sunday, May 16, 2010

How do you define yourself?

If you exclude the fact that most of us are mothers, wives, daugthers, or friends. How would define yourself?

Is it your by your actions, your deeds, how you react in times of adversity, how humble you are in times of triumph.

Last week a lady from my church called and asked for three things about myself that people didn't know. After some prodding and pondering, my answers were: I play on a Classic Premier soccer team, I've written a book, and I've climbed fifteen mountains (not sure if that number is totally accurate, but it's somewhere around there).

I thought about it over the weekend and found it funny that I would define myself that way. I could have mentioned that I'm actually incredibly shy around people I don't know (which sometimes gets mistaken for being a snob), I could have said that I'm very accommodating (in order to avoid confrontation). I could have said that I feel like I fall short of most things (which is probably how we all feel, at times). I could have said that I'm an incredibly emotional person and can cry at the drop of a hat.

Instead of defining myself by how I feel or react, I defined myself by what I've accomplished. I guess it's just not wanting to open myself up emotionally to people I don't know very well or at all. Did I mention that I'm also very guarded. I can do it here, because I'm not going to meet any of you in the grocery store tomorrow.

Analogy to writing: How do you define your characters? Finding my characters emotional state of being is the thing I struggle with most, probably because I'm not really in touch with my own. I just read a few chapters for a friend and even though not much action was going on, she nailed her characters emotions so well that it kept me riveted.

I hope that one day I can learn to do that.

Sorry, I kind of wondered around a bit in this post.

Hope everyone has a good week.


Tabitha Bird said...

It is funny how we define ourselves hey. I guess mine would be similar. I'd define me by what I do, or have done, or would like to do. I probably wouldn't say that I am a fighter who does not know what it means to quit. I probably wouldn't say that I am passionate and very very loyal. But they are better definitions of things that matter to me about who I am. Love that you climb mountains :)

Jessica Nelson said...

That is very interesting! also funny because I think what you've accomplished does show who you are. In a way, soccer is confrontational so it's interesting that you're not. :-) I understand this post well! I'm different in the blogosphere too.
Hope you find a way to tap into the emotions of your characters!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I like this post. It makes me think about what I do with my characters and I might do the opposite. I'm very aware of where they are at emotionally, but sometimes need to dig more to find out more about their actions and what they've accomplished.

Fifteen mountains! Rock on.
~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

I like that you were open and honest and shared the hard stuff about yourself. Made me immediately like you more!

Carolyn V. said...

Patti, this is a great post. I find that I am shy and misunderstood at times too.

My characters on the other hand, usually aren't. I define them by the way they act and their emotional responses. I think that's how a reader connects with them, by really getting to know them. =)

Heidi Willis said...

I'm a big character-development writer, but I don't define myself by emotions either.

My neighbor's husband just had a brain aneurysm and she was telling me how all the blood in his brain now has completely changed his character. It made me wonder how we know who we really are... is it simply a matter of how our brain works at any given time, or is there something deeper?

I think what we accomplish, though tells more about us than we think. It tells something about our passions and what's important to us and where our talents lie. All of those things are important things.

Robyn Campbell said...

Great post here. I love learning how shy you are. Me too. I too hate confrontations.

I think we define ourselves by the way we think people want to see us. I know I sure do.

I love this post, Patti. I have missed you and your posts. *hugs*

Kasie West said...

I think it would've been hard for me to answer the question. I hate questions that ask me to tell everybody something they don't know about me. I'm always like, 'if I wanted you to know, I would've told you.' lol I guess I'm pretty private too.

Southpaw said...

It's tough, but I went with my first thought when you posed the question I define myself by my deed and personality rather than by accomplishments. I do the same with my characters.

Jessie Oliveros said...

What about defining yourself by your emotional strengths? It's easy to look at ourselves, I mean REALLY look ... and see where we think we fall short. I do it every day. All your accomplishments show that you see things to the end.

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't open myself up emotionally much either but that's one of the freeing things about writing. It helps me open up.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Deep post!

I've noticed that I define myself a lot by what I do. It's something I'm trying to work on ever since that day of deep thoughts. :0)

Dara said...

Thanks for sharing this post. It made me think how I'd define myself and it's super difficult...

I think in writing I might delve a little too deeply into my characters' emotional state--sometimes going on and on about it :P

Melissa said...

I'm a lot like you - I'm very quiet around people when I don't know them (therefore it's hard for me to make new friends), I HATE confrontations and I'll do whatever it takes to avoid them, and I cry very easily.

I'm glad you posted this because I need to go back and think about my characters more on an emotional level. I've done that some, but there's so much more that I know I can add.