One thing I’ve noticed since I started writing, is that writing can be one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. And the problem is, you have to sit tight and let it take you.
For instance, when I started out, I thought writing horror was only about scaring people. Nothing made me happier than scaring myself late at night with a few tactical scenes. That’s why I loved flash fiction so much. Then I realized I wasn’t opening myself up enough on an emotional level. I wasn’t letting the reader into my world. To be honest, I think I was too scared to do that. But that’s what being a writer is about, no matter what genre you write in.
So I tossed aside the cardboard characters and started writing short stories with a lot more characterization. Now, no matter what your characters goes through, a reader won’t really care what happens to the characters unless they can either relate, or see them the characters as real people. Real people have real problems. All us have experienced pretty much every emotion at different levels, and it’s a writers duty to tap into those emotions. And trust me, that’s a damn slippery edge to walk on sometimes.
I’ve gone down some dark detours when delving into aspects of fear, love, loss, hate, damnation etc.
Everyone reading this must’ve finished at least a couple of novels in their lifetime, right? Now imagine how you lost yourself in the character’s world for the couple of days you spent there. Imagine spending months or even years there, trapped and scared, not knowing how to get out or if you ever will. Spending so much time on something that has a 90% chance of never being read.
It’s very easy to fall into that emotion and struggle to get back out. No wonder so many writers are depressed alcoholic’s who die way too young. I believe that every writer has got to have a very strong support team at home, who know what he or she is going through. Writing is damn fulfilling, but don’t ever think it’s easy.
I’m lucky enough to have a great support team of writers as well. Most of them I’ve met through Facebook, Mywriterscircle, IFWG Publishing, Library of the living Dead and the Horror Writers Net. It’s nice to chat to someone who doesn’t only understand what you’re going through, but who has experienced it first hand.
I don’t want to scare anyone away from becoming a writer (the more the merrier), but good writing is hard to pull off consistently. And without any support, don’t even attempt it as a career.
My advice, if you feel yourself slipping too deep into a certain character’s world, is to step back for a while and write something else. Perhaps a short story with characters not as in-depth as your novel’s characters. Spend time with other writers. Hang out. Joke and laugh. Read an uplifting story if you have to. Just don’t be scared to get back to your story. You’ll be surprised how well you know that character when you meet him or her again.
All the best.
In : On Writing
Tags: "emotional writing" "joe mynhardt" "writing tips" "on writing" "characterization" "depressed writers"
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