#IWSG Judge Not and You Shall Not Be Judged

Hello, friends!  Welcome the first posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for 2020!  If you’re a writer, and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here.  I.W.S.G. is an awesome organization for insecure writers like us!

For years now, I’ve used these I.W.S.G. posts to tell you about the relationship I have with my muse.  She’s a clever muse.  She can also be really annoying sometimes.  But my muse is also a little bit more than just my muse.  She’s also my conscience.

If you’ll allow me to get religious for a moment, I’d say my muse has a favorite Bible verse.  It’s from the Gospel of Luke.  It’s the “judge not and you shall not be judged” part.

I have to admit I have a tough time with this.  Other people can be so stupid, so crass, so self-centered and inconsiderate.  I can’t help but feel a teeny bit judgmental.  I think it may be part of human nature.  We can’t help but judge each other.

But the muse does not accept my “human nature” excuse.  Every time I start to get judgy, my muse reminds me that I am a writer.

As a writer, I have a responsibility to see how everyone is the hero of their own story (or at least I have a responsibility to try).  No matter what horrible things my gut instinct may tell me about other people, other people have their own reasons for doing what they do or being the way they are.  Other people have backstories.  Other people have motivations.  They have needs and wants, and maybe their needs are in conflict with their wants.  And they have inner monologues that, regardless of what I might think, must make logical sense to them.

This is not meant to be a Bible-themed blog post.  This isn’t about being a better Christian.  It’s not even about being a better human being.  This is simply a matter of becoming a better writer, because if you can learn to sympathize with other people in real life, then, miraculously, your readers will find it easy to sympathize with the characters you put into your stories.

At least that’s what my muse keeps telling me.

Next time on Planet Pailly, the Earth orbits the Sun… right?  Right?

21 thoughts on “#IWSG Judge Not and You Shall Not Be Judged

  1. Thank you for this reflection on watching the world with open eyes. I wrote a short story a year ago that was hard for some young people to relate to because of the strange character background. When I told these young people the story was a true story, they couldn’t believe it. Happy IWSG day 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And as you say, everyone has a reason for being who they are, whether you like it or not. Whether we understand it or not.
    Happy 2020! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, most people don’t. But as writers, I think we have a responsibility to try to understand. It can help us write better characters. It might not make any other difference, but it can at least help us write better characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a good way of looking at things. If only others were as thoughtful.

    When I’m not writing, I teach international students from all over the world, and I’ve been really impressed with how they seek to learn about and from each other, without judgement or prejudice.

    One time I came back from lunch to find two students engrossed in deep conversation. They saw me and smiled.

    “We’ve been talking about Judaism and Islam,” said the Jewish student from Israel. “It’s amazing how much we have in common.”

    Oh, what the rest of the world could learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s wonderful! I generally think that that’s the way of the future: that the more we talk with each other and the more we learn from each other, the more we’ll find that the human experience is the same for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Most of the people in my stories really exist. My character RJ is in reality, Toby Madrid, Jr, my old patrol partner from way back when. He and I dodged a few bullets together, and put away our share of bad guys. Jewell is a thinly disguised Julie (my wife).

    But some of the characters are conglomerates of people I’ve known. A guy who figures throughout the whole series is Will’s friend Max. He’s drawn from at least four or five people I’ve known. Jonesy is a real person, though he was tall and lean, not broad like a linebacker.

    Incidentally, you’ve a good site going here.

    Liked by 1 person

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