Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Writing Where It Hurts

From Writerslife.org:

Writing Where It Hurts - writerslife.org

Writing can be an incredibly healing and cathartic process, and some of the very best writing comes from authors being brave enough to explore their most profound, darkest, most agonising thoughts and memories and translating them to the page.
Many writers can feel scared or intimidated by exploring their own intense emotions. Dwelling on when they have felt most alone, most scared, most sad can feel incredibly daunting, but doing so, and using writing as a tool to express those feelings can bring about great relief, as well as create some incredibly raw, touching work while they are at it.
So how does one write where it hurts? How does an author find a way to get in touch with their most intimidating emotions, their secret feelings, their innermost fears? Here are some things to try:

Sit in a dark, quiet room
To tap into those buried emotions, you might find you need peace and quiet. Sit somewhere you know you won’t be disturbed and just open your mind and let your thoughts flow. Make sure there are no distractions and really focus on your thoughts.

Drink some wine (!)
OK so this may not work for everyone but having a glass of wine can sometimes help you to be less critical of yourself and allow your thoughts to become freer and float more readily to the surface. Focus on memories, issues you are struggling with or thoughts you usually try to block out. When they come to you, write them down.

Listen to emotive music.
Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions, so why not create a playlist of songs that evoke memories for you, or make you feel a certain way to get you in the right frame of mind and mood to write more emotionally?

Keep a diary
Keeping a diary will help jog your memory when it comes to recalling certain events and help you understand why you feel the way that you feel. An old diary can bring back so many memories so try to write a daily journal - you never know when it might come in handy.

Write while it’s fresh
If you are feeling particularly angry or upset, don’t wait until you have calmed down to write about it. Try to capture how you feel while it’s still raw; this will result in a much more emotionally powerful piece of writing.

Keep it private
Remember, you don’t have to share this writing with anyone, and you can pick and choose bits of it you want to use in your creative work. Reminding yourself of this will hopefully relax you enough to really go deep and get to the root cause and most raw, brutal memories, thoughts and feelings that you have.

Write freely
When you are trying to write with emotion, never censor yourself. Always allow yourself to write freely and without judgement. It doesn’t matter if it’s not eloquent or even that it doesn’t make sense at times; you can refine and shape it later.

Focus on how you feel afterwards
Writing in this way can be incredibly relieving and cathartic - is this how you feel after you’ve finished a session? If so, focus on these feelings of relief and weightlessness so you’ll be more motivated to try again. Remember, this kind of writing requires a certain amount of bravery, but doing so can make a powerful difference to your work, draw readers in, and if they have had shared experiences, can make them feel connected to you and understood.

Know when to stop
If it get’s too painful, overwhelming or exhausting then just stop and try again another day. You don’t have to explore every intense emotion you have ever had, every bad memory, every frightening incident all at once. So know when to stop for the sake of your sanity!

If you want to learn how to write more emotionally, or simply have some things brewing underneath the surface and you know you might benefit from writing about them, try these tips to see if they can draw out your emotions and help you craft powerfully moving and dramatic pieces of writing while you're at it.

Now this sounds like great advice, except the part about drinking some wine, since I can't do that. But I must admit I have not followed some of these, like keeping diary, though the journaling class at work started this week on Monday so I just may get more into this idea now. I've not been listening to a lot of music lately, let alone emotive music! 

I also have to come out now and say I've not been working on either of my stories lately and have yet to hear from the instructor of the memoir class to offer me a free critique. It's been more than a week since I last e-mailed her. I will decide when to e-mail her again.  I've gotten ahead of the game by posting my challenges for next year a little earlier than most people tend to post theirs (many bloggers start posting their challenges in November or December). I've gotten two sign ups for one of my challenges and one another, but so far none for the other challenges. But as I said, I'm ahead of the game and it's almost Halloween. And I'm getting into to Halloween spirit by trying to decide how to make a prescription label to put on an orange shirt to look like a prescription vial for my tropical depression costume (more on this to come). Once I figure this part out, I will have the costume ready for the party at work on the 27th.  And I want to make these cookies for the party as well. I will be doing these the day before the party.

But I plan to get back to writing soon. It's so easy to get preoccupied with many things at this time of the year.


Ann Bennett said...

The cookies look tasty! To heck with wine, I'll take a sugar high.

I never developed a taste for wine or beer. I did not like how it made my stomach pooch out when I was young. Later, I did not want the calories. I was lucky when I first started working that a pair of women close to my age drank beer like crazy. Their figures were flabby and I did not want that.

Now, I'm flabby too. But I can live without a bad habit. I've got enough as it is.

These are some good tips. I have a difficult time writing about myself.

Sandra Cox said...

Those cookies do look tasty.
I've gotten sidetracked with my writing too.
For me, writing poetry was always a great emotional outlet.