The Importance of Empathy as Craft

Photo by Rahul Pandit:

The solution to problematic stories, both at the level of craft and at the level of human experience, is empathy.

– Brandon Taylor – from article he wrote in LitHub I just finished reading.

I think to be a good writer, you have to have a certain level of empathy. Every character, good and bad, in your story, needs empathy from you as a writer. And when you write characters that are unlike your real-life identity — whether race, class, gender, age, religion, region of the world — this empathy becomes even more important, especially not to rehash and reinforce old harmful tropes or stereotypes.

Empathy is needed to be a human being. It’s not always easy to muster up when you’re stressed out. But this is why it’s essential to be kind to yourself, to forgive yourself, to start with yourself when it comes to compassion. Then you have the space to empathize with others. Give yourself space and love to be a better human being.

And when it’s hard to do, go pet a cat, hug a kid. Hell, hug yourself!

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