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Long answer: Writing a character based on yourself with perhaps a different name, different occupation, or some other changed aspect can lend a wonderful hand to both your writing and your personal growth as a writer.
Short answer: It’s incredibly cathartic.
But in all honesty, I started a book with a main character modeled after the way I perceived myself. I gave her flaws similar to mine, and I gave her some of my aspirations. I let her loose in her own world to live the dreams I have for mine, and the results were amazing.
The character I had created turned into one of my absolute favorites to write, and by falling in love with her, I started to fall back in love with myself.
Granted, she can do a lot of things I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t, but that’s part of the beauty of her: she can have experiences that I can then live vicariously through her, without any real-world consequences.
In a way, she also allowed me to explore what is really important in my life. By making our priorities and lifestyles similar, I started to realize aspects of my life that were getting too much attention (and too much of my worry, like then-troubles at work) while other, more meaningful aspects (like taking time to travel and have dedicated “me time”) were not.
The same can be true for you as a writer. The character you create does not need to be an exact description of yourself and they do not need to do/love/desire the exact same things as you, but you can still create someone close enough to yourself that enables you to explore a kind of alternate reality. Try to make them as real as possible, just like any other character you write, but give them a little something extra, because in way, that character can become an extension of you. They can be the safety net, the trial run, the one into whom you channel your deepest desires and fears, and they will never chastise you for it.
And who knows? Over time, maybe that character will develop into something so strong that they can be shared with the rest of the world, or perhaps they will remain a personal escape in a private world you can use as a sandbox.
It’s all in your hands.
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