As a writer, I have an odd relationship with my emotions. Too much emotion, and I can’t focus to write; too little, and my words are dead as old leaves. Over the years, I’ve developed strategies for harnessing the power of emotions in my writing–and strategies to keep emotions from stifling my creativity.
- Noticed. When I feel sad, happy, surprised, afraid, and so on, I tend to keep a little piece of myself as a detached observer. My writer self needs to take notes on the physicality of emotions. All those collected details will show up in my writing.
- Remembered. If I’m writing an emotion, I can make it more real by re-living, in memory, an event that provoked that emotion in me.
- Managed. If a little emotion can bring writing to life, too much can flatten me and make me incapable of writing. A little exercise, deep breathing, and yoga do wonders for focusing my mind on the present even when life offers me a myriad of distractions. (Doesn’t it always?)
- Freed. Often I need to clear out an emotional overload by talking, journaling, or drawing my way through a particular issue. I think emotions need to be acknowledged and accepted before they’ll continue on their merry way…freeing my mind for other pursuits!
- Rested. Writing an emotional passage can be as exhausting as living through that emotion in the real world. I come up to breathe afterward, exhausted! Don’t forget to take breathers and recharge.