Beliefs In and Out of Writing

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

83. How your faith or beliefs have impacted your writing.

A few days ago I read a piece of advice online: “If you want people to like you, don’t talk about your religious or political beliefs.” I admit, I let out a little chuckle. “Too true,” I thought. “Nothing will make people dislike you faster than hearing about how you don’t believe the same things as them.”

This is a constant consideration in writing, and I find that to be rather unfortunate. I have made no attempts on this blog to hide the fact that I am atheist, and it saddens me to think that I may have lost readers because of that fact, because I personally pride myself on being tolerant. I may not believe what you believe, but I accept that it’s your own business what you believe and it would be nice to think that others extend me the same courtesy and don’t judge my writing based on this one small detail of my personal life. And while I know that there are definitely people out there who do extend me this courtesy, I’m not naive enough to think that everyone does.

Faith and beliefs are loaded topics because of the emotion involved in discussing them. People simply don’t like it when other people believe different things. It’s one of the reasons that American-made movies have American heroes and the bad guys are always from other countries, specifically ones that America has been at war with. People naturally like to think of those with different beliefs as being “bad guys”. That can make infusing your own beliefs into your writing quite difficult because you don’t want to destroy your reader base just because your hero happens to have a faith or certain beliefs that clashes with the majority of your potential readers.

Personally, I try to keep my own beliefs out of my fiction. I don’t hide it on this blog because I don’t believe in hiding my beliefs (if you dislike me because of that, that’s your problem, not mine) but I see no reason to carry that over into my fiction. I’m not trying to make any statements, I’m just trying to write an enjoyable story. In order to do that my characters may occasionally share my beliefs or they might believe the exact opposite of what I believe. What matters is that those choices impact the story in a positive way.

So I suppose, in general, my “faith and beliefs” haven’t affected my writing much at all because I actively try not to let them do so.

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