Thursday, August 13, 2009

Inspirational Anger and Useful Hurt

By Nichole Giles

Have you ever noticed that some days your writing is stronger, more passionate and emotion filled than other times? There are days when your writing is playful and joking, and others when—without your intent—the characters are feeling somber and sad. There are even times when everything you write is covered over by a red haze—full of anger and hurt that you don’t remember ever having felt yourself.

Or have you?

I’m one of those authors who is convinced that our writing is so connected to our innermost selves, that we literally pour out emotions based on things we’ve experienced. Okay, you say, but really, truly, I’ve never experienced being in love with a magical creature before, or visiting a far-off magical land…

Nope. But surely you’ve experienced the emotions your characters are feeling. Even if you don’t remember the experience, or if it was in your past existence, you have experienced it. How else could you effectively write about it?

I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling especially emotional—regardless of the directions my emotions are taking or the reason behind them—my writing often mirrors those feelings. And during these times, I also tend to wake up at night to search for a pen and paper to write down brilliant plot ideas, or lines of dialogue.

Maybe it’s because our outside emotions have a tendency to connect us to our creative selves, or maybe it’s because writing truly is better when it’s filled with the fire and passion only strong emotion can incite in a person. Whatever the cause, for me, emotional writing is the best kind.

Writing by emotion—for me—tends to be inspiring, passion-filled, and healing. There is no better therapy for what ails you than to pour your feelings into something you love. And there is no better way to preserve your beautiful happiness than to do the exact same thing.

Basically, writing is the ultimate doctor for emotional expression. Or, at least, that’s the case for me.

What about you? What is your passion and how do you write it?


Cheri Chesley said...

Some of my deepest, most stirring poetry was written in my late teens during a bout of depression. I don't believe you can convey an emotion on the page if you haven't experienced it.

The challenges and pain we experience in our lives can be used for good because we can tap into that emotion in our writing. The best writing is what speaks to the reader's heart and soul, not necessarily writing that is always technically correct.

Nichole Giles said...

Yes! Exactly my point. Thanks, Cheri.


L.T. Elliot said...

I have to be wary of this very thing. When I am feeling things too strongly, I have to guard it to make sure I'm not imposing my current mood on my characters. The situation also works in reverse. Sometimes I need to be careful that their moods aren't influencing me. I do notice that when I write with emotion, it's better writing--it's more true.
Great post, Nichole.

Evelyn Curtis said...

I also notice that when I am having a bad day when I write, I am able to put those emotions and feelings into my writing. Like you said Nichole, it is very therapeutic. I walk away from my computer feeling a little lighter, like a weight was lifted off my shoulder! Thanks again for your post

I love this post! Thank you!.

L.T. I chuckled when you said that you have to be careful to not let your character's mood affect you. I remember writing a particularly tense scene, and my young child came in and interrupted my thought process. I became a little bit too intense with her.

Molly in the Jello Belt said...

I agree writing is therapeutic. Maybe that's why so much great writing is depressing - the authors all needed therapy. :)

I am definitely pouring my real emotions into my fictional characters in their fictional lives. The highest compliment someone can pay me is to tell me they know exactly how my character is feeling, or my character reminds them of someone they know. That's how I know that my writing managed to connect with someone. Because while writing is therapeutic for me, maybe reading is therapeutic for someone else. Making a connection is therapeutic.

Nichole Giles said...

You know, L.T., you're right. I have to be careful about writing certain scenes when my family is nearby. Especially if it's a sad or heartbreaking one--they might walk in on me bawling.

Imagine trying to explain to them that my imaginary character died.

Evylyn, you're right too. I think all writers need therapy! (And we don't want to pay for it!)

And Molly, I'm with you. If just one person feels a connection, I've done my job well. That's all I really want out of my writing.

Thanks for commenting everyone!