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I write for myself and have no intention of publishing anything.

However, I still become uncomfortable writing about events in my life because I think about how people who are involved or who know me would react if they ever got the chance to read it. I also feel bad for recording the flaws of myself and others on paper.

My eventual goal is to move into more creative writing, and I hope I can obscure (not remove) the autobiographical elements of my writing to have some more anonymity and creativity. I try to think of a story with invented characters and settings that I can use as a vehicle to talk about some personal event, for example, but I struggle to do this right now.

In the mean time, I find it easiest to write directly about my own experiences, and I believe that it is productive and perhaps therapeutic to do so, but I can't get around the mental block I describe above.

Any tips for getting over this hurdle and either skipping over autobiographical writing or making it mentally/emotionally easier? Or I need to change my approach to all of this?

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Any tips for getting over this hurdle and either skipping over autobiographical writing or making it mentally/emotionally easier?

If writing about your life is therapeutic, do it. Buy a small notebook, write with a pencil and keep an eraser nearby in case you need to walk back your words. Keep it locked away in a safe or drawer when you're not writing so nobody will find your book by accident.

Overcoming what others might think is, ultimately, your own psychological mountain to climb. The knowledge your notebook is nothing more than a collection of pages bound between two covers and cannot talk or draw attention to itself might help.

Or I need to change my approach to all of this?

To write is to bleed emotion. But bleeding emotion is not the same as writing. What you put on the page has to ring true; a reader must intuit why a character feels the way he or she does and why these feelings and resulting actions are believable and appropriate to the character's personality.

People have probably hurt you before. You may have hurt others, intentionally or by accident. Yes, you can write about those experiences. Change names, locations and dates. Or, you could change the events which transpired entirely but keep the emotions intact.

I've never been a wizard's apprentice. I've never accidentally blown a hole in the wall of my mentor's study while practicing magic. But as a kid I once scratched the door of a lady's car when I lost control of the shopping cart I was pushing too fast. My father was disappointed in me and I was ashamed. The actual events differ, but if I were a wizard's apprentice, that's how I'd probably feel after the magic mishap. Different events, same emotions.

Life experiences and emotions are like clay; the stories you craft are vases. From one batch of clay you can make two completely different vases, or even a vase and a statue.

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I think about how people who are involved or who know me would react if they ever got the chance to read it.

There is one easy way past this block - write so you would be happy with the writing if they read it. If someone made a terrible decision, e.g. robbing a bank, and you want to portray this nicely, then do so. Explain the hunger they feel, the need for recognition, the suicidal depression - so that that person would read it and say "That's me" and someone else reading it would say "I feel bad for him."

I also feel bad for recording the flaws of myself and others on paper.

Recording flaws is pretty much the basis for many stories. Understand that everyone has flaws, and as long as you can portray them accurately and sympathetically, there is no reason to feel bad about it.

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Ah, the dilemma: How to get in touch with your private thoughts and feelings without hurting others or exposing yourself to hurt?

It's likely that, if you keep private writings around, someone will eventually read them. Your knowledge of this limits you from being honest and expressive while you're writing.

The simple solution, and one practiced by many writers, is to immediately tear up, shred, flush, burn, or delete their writings.

Try it, it's liberating.

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Everyone has regrets. Try writing how your life would have changed if you had taken a different choice, such as telling someone you had a crush on them. Would your life be happier, or you could even try what if I did this and my life got messed up. So while you are still writing about yourself, you are not writing what really happened.

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I have a similar / the same problem, and won’t pretend I got over it, but it got better.

What helped me was to keep telling myself, that no one would ever read what I wrote, unless I gave it to them. Even though I knew this from the start, the act of repeating it helped. If I got stuck on a part I was hesitant to write, I would tell myself again ‘This will only be read by me. Even I don’t have to read it if I don’t want to.’ To get into the habit of writing these things down, you could even get rid of your text, after it is done. I imagine the difficult part is writing it. So you might make that easier on you, by knowing no one CAN read it. Than you work up to keeping the text. (This is something I have not done myself, but I think it could have helped.)

Something else that was/is important for me, is to keep writing. If I don’t write and reinforce the idea that it is not a problem, it gets harder and harder to start again. If you have something to write, but don’t want to, try to write it anyways. It won’t get easier than it is right now.

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Don't feel bad about recording the flaws of anyone, whether yourself or someone else. Remember that the center of every story is a person who needs to change.

Don't let your desire for anonymity bother you, either. You can still publish your work, as long as you change the names of the characters, and publish under a pseudonym if you don't want to answer awkward questions.

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