Empathy is the capacity to understand what another being feels. This understanding is what connects us to one another and allows us to fully experience situations and events. Empathy comes naturally to me; it always has. I have used this ability “to feel for other” in acting and writing. I use it in a way that allows the audience member/reader to connect to the characters I create.
“Writers don’t write from experience…”
Nikki Giovanni an American poet and writer says this, “Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. …If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.”
I agree. Though we do develop our empathy for various situations through our experiences. Perhaps even, at times, we lose empathy for certain things because we have negative experiences and have grown cold. So, in short, experiences color our empathy. That’s why you and I could have the exact same writing prompt and come up with two completely different stories.
What do you think? Do you write from empathy?