Happy Writer Wednesday, Movember and NaNoWriMo!
I was going to talk about my feelings on Grey, 50 Shades of Grey as told by Christian. I’d gotten it from the library a few days ago and had recently finished it. I wanted to talk about my take on it, but instead this post will be about writing and emotions. Grey will be the next topic of discussion.
I found myself doing something last night that I’ve been trying to break when writing—surfing the internet. About 2 months ago, I’d gotten into the habit of turning off my wifi signal on my laptop while I’m writing. It cuts down on the temptation to “take a break” and check out Pinterest, Twitter or some random article on Wikipedia.
(And we all know how deep those holes go!)
But the story I’m currently writing is a murder mystery and I’d wanted to check something before writing it (I was trying, but failing, to not edit before/while writing). My initial search led me down the hole and I found myself looking up cold cases in my state. It was heartbreaking. In their final moments, I’m sure these people were terrified—especially if they knew their attacker; their bodies discarded like trash. Some couldn’t be identified, and their families don’t even know. My heart broke for these strangers I’d never met.
It also led me to search for information on my family. Over a decade ago, a member of my family was murdered, and it was disheartening that a simple Google search couldn’t provide any information. It was covered in the newspaper—I remember reading the article at the time. Without going into great detail, I’m not sure if my family member’s case was solved or not because the witness recanted.
I felt sad, and then angry. I wanted to do something—find a clue, pour through the case file, see that thing that the other cops had missed, solving the case once and for all. (Maybe I should have been a detective.) What I did was channel all of that into my main character, who is a cop working on a cold case. The clarity, the connection that gave way to that “Ah ha!” moment, was the kick I’d needed.
It continues to amaze me how writing will stir up emotions and thoughts you either locked away, or didn’t even realize you had. This person’s death was so long ago, and though I no longer cry on their anniversary, it’s still with me. It moves with me along the path of this story and it just lets me know one thing—this was the story I was meant to write.
Vulnerability is something people tend to avoid. It makes them open for pain, criticism, and humiliation. But for artists—especially writers—it’s what our craft demands. It offers genuineness, something that can send a story all over the place when it’s faked, thus losing your audience. So here’s my call to action (CTA) for my readers—whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org), or simply writing on your own, use whatever emotion that comes up while you’re writing. It might be joy, pain, rage, or numbness. Don’t fight it; whatever it is, it will help you along your path.
All the best in your writing endeavors!